You Can Do Anything | George Anders

Summary of: You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education
By: George Anders


Embark on a journey to discover the untapped power of a liberal arts education in the 21st century with George Anders’s ‘You Can Do Anything.’ Disregard the naysayers; your humanities major is a valuable asset in today’s rapidly evolving job market. This book summary explores the critical thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability skills fostered by a liberal arts education. Prepare to learn the importance of ‘tech-influenced’ roles such as market researchers, compliance officers, and event planners in the ‘rapport sector’ and the ‘ingenuity economy.’ Get ready to stand out in the job market with your unique abilities and strengths.

The Power of Liberal Arts

A liberal arts degree can provide essential skills in today’s work world. Graduates possess curiosity, creativity, and empathy, which are valuable in the fast-paced, tech-influenced job market. Critical thinking, writing, and problem-solving skills are highly sought-after by employers. The growing demand for rapport-driven and ingenuity-based work has led to increased hiring in fields such as market research, compliance, data analysis, event planning, fundraising, graphic design, and technical writing. Embrace your liberal arts identity and showcase your skills to make a significant difference in the world.

Essential Critical Thinking Skills

Employers seek critical thinking skills that revolve around working on the frontier, finding insights, choosing the right approach, reading the room, and inspiring others. These abilities enable an individual to apply unique methods in solving problems, identifying uncommon answers and connections, and motivating others. Bryce Nobles and Sarah Murray are examples of individuals who use their training and knowledge in unique ways to bring exceptional solutions and problem-solving techniques that make them coveted by employers. In a job interview, an individual must show their potential employer how they can help solve problems by understanding group dynamics, balancing individual motivations, and engaging others. Being curious, adaptable, and confident in new situations allows individuals to bring new approaches, arguments and solutions that make them valuable in today’s constantly-evolving business world. Employers value individuals who can make decisions independently, identify peripheral details, and synthesize insights in unique ways. In essence, having these critical thinking skills can help an individual stand out in the job market and become a valuable asset to an organization.

Evolving Job Market

The constantly changing cultural dynamics and evolving demands of consumers are causing the types of jobs available to shift. What was once inconceivable is now the norm, resulting in new jobs being created and redefined. Employers may not have immediate openings, but they may be willing to hire someone who can demonstrate they are needed. The skills and experiences sought by employers may also vary depending on a candidate’s “passion and potential.” It’s essential to network and seek out opportunities, bearing in mind that the current market lacks clear terminology to describe the multifaceted skills employers need.

Liberal Arts Graduates: In-Demand in Today’s Job Market

Liberal arts graduates may have a bright future in the job market. The book highlights six booming employment sectors in the United States that value adaptability, curiosity, and discernment – qualities often found in liberal arts training. These sectors include market research, social media, recruiting and career coaching, fundraising, digital design, and project management. The book showcases various liberal arts graduates who have found success in these industries. For instance, a sociology major from Furman University secured a job as a consultant at Qualtrics because of her ability to improvise and nonlinear thinking. Similarly, a University of Mississippi English major landed a writing job with a stove company, using her skills as an “in-house cultural interpreter.” Moreover, a creative writing graduate from the University of Arizona improved the recruiting efforts of engineering and technical organizations and ultimately landed a recruiting job with Google. The book also discusses the role of technology in fields such as fundraising and project management, which have boosted growth in these sectors. The demand for project managers, in particular, has grown so rapidly that the Project Management Institute’s membership has grown over 500% since 2002. The book emphasizes that liberal arts graduates can thrive in today’s rapidly changing job market and highlights the various skills and expertise that they can bring to these six in-demand employment sectors.

Beyond STEM: Why the Arts Matter in the Corporate World

Large firms are starting to expand their hiring from STEM to promote STEAM, including the arts. Job applicants who can think beyond the numbers and offer a unique skillset that combines analytical and creative thinking can benefit from this new trend. Start-ups value resourcefulness, while companies working on data visualization could tap into an applicant’s ability to tell stories with numbers. The US State Department’s Foreign Service branch values a “well-read generalist” who can solve problems, while nonprofits such as Teach for America and AmeriCorps offer valuable résumé stepping stones. Applicants should describe their achievements in the “language of commerce” to show their value to employers, and consider “financial elite” firms that appreciate curious, open-minded individuals who can grapple with ambiguity, contextualize needs, evaluate evidence, and set priorities. Liberal arts graduates have a unique set of skills that can grapple with ambiguity and set priorities, valuable in any field.

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