It's always instructive to read how others made it--particularly when, as here, they are quite frank about the various contacts and preliminary failures that turned the tide. The author separates his stories into seven categories--ranging from ""playing off"" college experience to following in the footsteps of a mentor--and in so doing has made the book most useful for those inclined to skim for analogous situations. The most space, proportionately, is devoted to professionals in the arts and media; some would undoubtedly wish for a stronger showing in business (even the corporate executives quoted here tend to ""throw it all over on a whim"" to become gourmet tea and spice merchants or the like). But the accounts included--wisely told in the subjects' own words--illustrate their points nicely: a writer/producer of TV news feels his success resulted from always choosing the most romantic or fun thing to do whenever possible (not to mention using a 15-year-old contact with Mike Wallace); a down-on-her-luck actress kept her eyes open for opportunity, wherever it might knock, and became the founder of a car-parking service. Some of the subjects were destined for a particular career since earliest childhood; others switched in midlife. As an anecdotal addendum to all those laborious guides, this is exhilarating.