Book Review: 'Stretch' by Willyerd and Mistick

Updated on January 27, 2018
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.

Introduction

“Stretch” by Karie Willyerd and Barbara Mistick, subtitled “How to Future Proof Yourself for Tomorrow’s Workplace” is a 2016 career guide. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this self-help book?

Cover of the book "Stretch"
Cover of the book "Stretch" | Source

The Strengths of “Stretch”

“Stretch” outlines how to identify your options in the workplace, pinpoint fallback options for career paths and methods to develop them without making a blind leap. It also gives lists of what not to do such as how to recognize when you need to update your knowledge.

There are many simple assessments and checklists for various assessments, such as whether or not you should take an opportunity, when you need to update your skills, how to improve your curiosity, how to hedge your bets, methods for soliciting feedback that is useful.

The book provides key takeaways for every chapter known to reinforce learning and ensure that you understand the intended lessons.

The characteristics of grit and resilience, terms too often just tossed around or vaguely described, are explained in detail here.

The book contains a number of vignettes representing the principles the book discussed; one of the strengths of “Stretch” is that it mixes everyday people living out these principles with the short stories of famous people doing the same.

The book delivers a number of great quotes like, “Don’t mistake overconfidence for competence.”

“Stretch” does address the emotions that can hold us back, but instead of dwelling on platitudes, it talks about ways you can actually change an attitude or develop resiliency or shift perspective. Don’t dwell on the failures or rejections but learn from them and use them to do better next time or do something else.

You get a small section, less than a chapter, that encapsulates the essence of “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”.

The Weaknesses of the Book “Stretch”

The book issues a variety of other projections that border on liberal platitudes. The assumption, for example, that diversity is only demographic in nature, is mirrored by the mistaken belief that whites are all monolithic. This leads to the book encouraging travel internationally or working with people from other nations, when for many graduates, just working with someone from the working class and touring the manufacturing facility shop floor would be major revelations.

The book suggests large companies require their suppliers provide an array of benefits to their employees as a condition of receiving contracts, though the book admitted a long list of economic and technological reasons destroying permanent employment in the first place. This will only limit supply chains to big firms while shutting out the smaller and up and coming competition as excessive credentialing tends to do – or it drives many businesses out of business altogether because they can’t afford the welfare demands of their biggest customers.

Observations

“Stretch” refers to a number of other business books and contains encapsulations of their advice. Many chapters have sections specifically on how organizations and managers can implement their advice. For the sections on how to improve workplace communications, development and culture, I would suggest “Entreleadership” instead of this book.

This book has good advice on how to find side entrepreneurial options or outlets at otherwise unpleasant jobs like volunteering. It offers more actionable advice than “Quitter” by Jon Acuff. “Quitter” is a better choice for when you must leave the job and already have the dream of what you want to do but don’t know how to get there.

On the book’s reference to Justine Sacco, I suggest watching the TED talk “When online shaming spirals out of control” instead of taking the book’s interpretation to heart.

Summary

“Stretch” is a good reference book for not focusing on the failures and vague dissatisfaction and instead asking the right questions to find the new jobs or changes in the current position to perform better there while positioning yourself for the future. It also addresses how to keep yourself up to date without burning out. Its general social prescriptions, though, fall flat beyond a call for everyone to become their own advocates and salespeople.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

    Submit a Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)