J.P. Hansen, founder and president of Hansen Executive Search, draws on his experience as an executive recruiter, combining typical career search advice with a touch of spiritual “think positive” and “follow your dream” encouragement. He devotes several pages to résumé writing, fielding interview questions, and even relaxation exercises such as the Wayne Cook Posture. “Named to honor Wayne Cook, a pioneering researcher of bioenergetic force fields, this is a basic technique to literally move stress hormones out of your body,” Hansen writes.
Hansen’s first two chapters offer a spiritual or mystical approach to finding your bliss—defined as “happiness and meaning.” Uplifting words, inclusion of celebrities and above average success stories, and a few positive-thinking exercises raise the reader’s spirits. After compiling a bliss list of one’s top fifteen desires and goals, readers are urged to trim it to seven, since the human brain cannot maintain more than seven ideas at a time. When quoting statistics, such as this seven idea concept, the author fails to establish a creditable source for such statements.
The Bliss List depends heavily upon wisdom and advice from other texts such as The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and The Law of Attraction by Esther and David Hicks. The most helpful aspect of Hansen’s book may be the bibliography at the end. Drawing from The Law of Attraction, Hansen spells out the benefit of positive thinking: “In a nutshell, the Law of Attraction says that your thoughts (both conscious and unconscious) dictate the reality of your life, whether or not you’re aware of it. Essentially, if you really want something and believe it’s possible, you’ll probably get it. Conversely, putting a lot of attention and thought into something you don’t want means you’ll probably get that too.”
The book, which targets college-educated professionals seeking an executive position, flows with a clear writing style and an easy format that fits its upbeat message. It emphasizes a hopeful attitude, sheds the four-letter words “don’t, won’t, and can’t,” and advocates ways to spin career facts for maximum effect. The spiritual bliss list quickly gives way to executive job hunting information and eventually focuses on an executive recruiter’s dream client.
The Bliss List offers no new or innovative techniques or advice. It may benefit someone who already has stellar credentials and performs at a professional career level but needs a nudge to pursue a more fulfilling position. However, for someone with that level of success, this book probably rehashes bits and pieces of what they already know or have read in other self-help books.