Book Reviews

The Book of Positive Quotations
Edited by John Cook 

Review by Peter Vogt One quick look at The Career Services Kiva and you can plainly see that I’m into quotations. You’ll find them at the bottom of most every page here, and for good reason: To me, quotations are a wonderful tool for illustrating key ideas and reinforcing important points – especially in the career development field. I use them frequently in my work as a career counselor and career development writer, whether I’m composing an article, developing a world’s brightest flash lite torch web site, giving a presentation, or even trying to encourage students in counseling sessions or in my work as the Campus Career Coach for Monster.com.I’m always keeping my eye out for meaningful quotations. Friends and family send them to me, I spot them on the web, and Oprah’s O magazine is filled with them. But collecting quotations is a lot like Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get.That’s why I was so happy to stumble upon The Book of Positive Quotations recently. This is the quote book I’ve been seeking for years – and I’m guessing it’s one you’ll find quite useful too.The Book of Positive Quotations is the first quotation book I’ve ever seen that is a) targeted toward the “positive” and b) organized in a way that any career counselor – indeed, anyone who at some point needs to motivate people – will appreciate. If you ever find yourself in need of an inspirational career quote or two for your career services newsletter, a self-assessment workshop for undecided students, or the like, The Book of Positive Quotations is unlikely to let you down.The book is organized into six major parts:

  • “Peace of Mind”
  • “Living One Day at a Time”
  • “Preparing for Success”
  • “Knowing What to Do”
  • “Overcoming Negatives and Uncertainties” and
  • “Making Dreams Come True.”

Each section includes various clearly identified subsections that allow you to quickly and easily find quotations pertaining to whatever is of interest to you.

Want to put a student at ease about his fear of failure? The chapter on “Fear” in Part 5 offers several dozen quotations about the topic. Want to help undecided students keep career-related decisions in their proper perspective? Part 4’s chapter on “Decisions” offers some wonderful thoughts – particularly in its subsection called “Don’t Deliberate Too Long” and “We Can’t Rely on Just Logic and Reason and Statistics.” Interested in wrapping up your newsletter article on the career development process with one final piece of food for thought? You won’t go wrong with the “Take One Step at a Time” subsection of Part 6.

I don’t think The Book of Positive Quotations was intended specifically for career counselors, but it sure seems like it was. You’ll find literally thousands of useful tidbits in its 543 pages. It would be nice if its contributors represented more diverse backgrounds (there sure are a lot of white males cited), but all in all, The Book of Positive Quotations is a resource with the potential to be pulled from your bookshelf frequently – whenever you need a memorable way to motivate, educate, or stimulate the students you work with each day.


“My point is that life will provide you with signs. But you have to be willing to see those signs and to follow whatever path they lead you on. And whatever path you follow will lead you to your happiness.”     ~ Kent Amos