Review: 'Cash Your Investment' offers advice for pennies on the dollar

Every college student has sat through at least one lecture on the importance of resume building and networking, but rarely do we see such advice compiled into one book. That seems to be the goal of Scott A. Eberwein’s “Cash Your Investment,” and the book succeeds for the most part.

"Cash Your Investment," by Scott A. Eberwein. (Brown Books Publishing Group)

Eberwein opens the first chapter of his book, which is composed primarily of in-depth advice on things like job searches and unconventional networking, with a story about a friend that acted supremely confident but reverted to a social caterpillar whenever he was around women.

This compelling story is used to introduce familiar advice, namely that confidence is one of the most important things that a person can have, whether in the bar scene or at an interview.

The advice goes a little off the rails, however, when Eberwein introduces the idea of the “A-1” mindset, a catch-all term that Eberwein uses interchangeably to mean various things in relation to confidence and displaying a positive attitude.

He speaks of those without an “A-1 mindset” as though they are doomed to fail if they do not heed his advice, but never makes it perfectly clear what an “A-1 mindset” is. He goes on to use the term to describe potential employers as well, using the phrase so much that it almost loses its meaning. 

Also, I don’t know if Eberwein ever watched “Breaking Bad,” but the connection, intentional or otherwise, between the “A-1 mindset” and Walter White’s hated job at the carwash that he eventually converts into a money-laundering scheme is hard to ignore. You can practically hear Bryan Cranston murmur, “Have an A-1 day” as you read certain passages of “Cash Your Investment.” 

Fortunately, the rest of the book is well organized. Eberwein knew the audience he was writing for, because he not only includes in-depth explanations and stories about each part of the job search, but also a handy outline of the key themes at the end of each chapter.

“Cash Your Investment” doesn’t pull any punches either, as the book is very blunt about what is and is not worthy of your time in terms of organizations to join and how to conduct a job search. One chapter near the end of the novel titled “Working for Free” will likely intimidate many readers and cause them to question Eberwein’s advice on the subject.

However, Eiberwein includes the disclaimer that it is a last resort, and shows that he is willing to dispense advice regardless of how it is taken.

One part near the end of the book grabbed my attention in particular with a series of examples of resumes. They are simply a good resource, and I know I will probably be turning back to these pages when I revise my own resume. 

The only caveat is that I wish there were more concrete examples of Eiberwein’s advice in practice. The theory of a job search can be easy to describe, but in practice it can be much more difficult. Eiberwein includes just enough of both theory and practice that I can’t knock him for it, but more examples would have improved the book.

As we approach the end of the semester and, for some, the end of the college experience, it’s worth bearing in mind that every resource can be valuable. “Cash Your Investment” generously puts all of those resources and strategies that seniors have been taught for years and puts them into one place.

Although not perfect, “Cash Your Investment” is likely to be a valuable asset to thousands of graduating students in the near future.


Edward Pankowski is the life editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at edward.pankowski@uconn.edu.