Book Review

Business Model You

A One-Page Method for Reinventing Your Career. By Tim Clark, Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur | 2012

“Most job-hunters who fail to find their dream job fail not because they lack information about the job market, but because they lack information about themselves.” — Dick Bolles

I read a lot of books. Normally, business books don’t illicit long silent moments when reflection, realization and panic all collide together at once inside one’s brain. In this way, Business Model You stands apart.

The book is about how to use the ‘business model canvas’ (a methodology and artifact from Osterwalder’s previous book, Business Model Generation) as a framework for rethinking and strategizing your personal business model — aka, your career path.

The Personal Business Model Canvas

The Personal Business Model Canvas model

The main premise to the book is that — with minor tweaking — the 9-building blocks from the Business Model Canvas (BMC) can be repurposed for the benefit of the individual, not just the organization. Leveraging building blocks such as “Who you help”, “How you interact” and “What you give” helps establish a solid current-state that informs later ideas in the book such as satisfaction, stress, time demands and social contribution.

Structure & Flow

The book itself is a masterpiece of design mash-ups with interactive exercises, example user personas, sketches, diagrams, anecdotes, lessons learned, etc. The book is structured in four sections, covering ten chapters.

  1. Draw — Learn to use the key tool for describing and analyzing organizational and personal business models.
  2. Reflect — Revisit your life direction and consider how you want to align your personal and career aspirations.
  3. Revise — Adjust-or reinvent- your work life using the Canvas and discoveries from previous sections.
  4. Act — Learn to make it all happen.

The focus of each chapter varies. There are some traditional lessons such as ‘Calculating Your Business Value’, and ‘Business Model Thinking: Adapting to a Changing World’; as well as some new exercises such as ‘Who are you?’ and ‘Identifying Your Career Purpose’.

Regardless of the chapter, very little of this book is a ‘set it and forget it’ style effort. This is a workbook. Prepare to have pen in hand and a bunch of Post-it Notes if you intend on taking full advantage of the experience.

Putting Purpose into Play, Business Model You

Key Take-Away

This book was ahead of its time. Think about the following passage in context of our current issues with Covid and The Great Resignation,

“Dream jobs are more often created than found, so they’re rarely attainable through conventional searches. Creating one requires strong self-knowledge…it often takes a crisis…for us to reflect carefully on our careers and ourselves. Without one (a crisis), extensive self-reflection may strike us as selfish. But thinking about yourself is not selfish, because it is concerned with what the world most needs from you”.

This excerpt speaks to so many of the issues that our workforce is currently experiencing. There is nothing conventional about job searches these days because we aren’t trying to find jobs, we’re trying to define them.

Corporations aren’t ready for this level of change yet.

The gap between ‘what employees want’ and ‘what employers need’ can be greatly reduced if we speak the same language. Since the Personal Business Model Canvas and the Corporate BMC share so much in common — terminology, logical structure, measurement, governance — leveraging the framework can help bring the two sides together more successfully with its common purpose and clarity of communication.

Additional Resources

Pub Date: 2012

Page Count: 257

ISBN: 978–1–118–15631–5

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

My goal as a solution designer and team member focuses on helping people and enterprises adopt new technologies, anticipate their maximum good use, and safeguard against unintended negative consequences. Find me on LinkedIn.

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I’m a digital-native based in Colorado striving to live in the natural world.

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Chris Brooks

Chris Brooks

I’m a digital-native based in Colorado striving to live in the natural world.

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