I think after writing over 500 blog posts a la a 1000+ words a piece you cannot be too surprised to learn that I finally have written a book. What you may be surprised to learn however, is that that book is not about behavioural science. At all.
This year I will have had the blog for 5 years (birthday in early August if I’m not mistaken). Initially, it started off as me wanting to write about behavioural science. I was frustrated with the little to no writing in the first year of my PhD. The only thing I wrote (and then kept re-writing) was my literature review. And no one is benefiting of that. Well not until I published abridged or more targeted versions (e.g. the effects of contactless payments, mobile payments, how to budget) on the blog itself. That gets read. The academic stuff? Not so much…
For those of you wondering what this has to do with ‘the Ultimate Guide to Doing a PhD’ I’m getting there. Give me time for my backstory. You need to understand what I’ve been through, man. So in addition to trying to help people make sense of their own mind, and money in general, I also started describing what was going on in the PhD. Why? Because I felt like it. And I felt like it because the entire experience had me bamboozled to say the least. I didn’t have the right expectation set going into the PhD, and I’m not too sure I had the right motivation either. And when I set those articles got read from the get go, I meant it. When I started to write about money and mind, I needed to build credibility still. And I still do. And I will continue to do so. For the PhD experience, not so much. So yes, the articles where popular. And they were fun to write. They had me confront a lot of my own stupidity and ignorance, and made me do better. And most importantly, they lead me to meet a lot of my readers. Because people wanted to talk, and they wanted help.
I’ve made it clear across all my social platforms that I will not, and cannot, hand out financial advice. But I can explain what’s going on in the research. The PhD experience is a bit different in that regard. I can tell you how mine was, how it would have been better and what to look out for explicitly. Hell, all my four annual PhD reviews were very well received. And that should tell you something. People want to read about this. Because they want to know about it. People are desperate to figure out what’s going on here.
Calling several people a week to talk about whether a PhD fits their lifestyle, whether it will really get them to their career goals or how to go about their applications, has terrible economies of scale. As much as I love to do it, there’s only so many hours in a week, and more than enough people who’d like an hour. So I have written the book (see, there we go, origin story complete). I have written 50 chapters on all possible things PhD related. And don’t worry, they’re not just my blogposts copied and pasted into the book. Not at all. I genuinely talk you through ever aspect of the PhD – thinking you want to do one, to making it happen, to nailing your first years and excelling throughout and getting that dr. title – with much sauce and detail than I ever have on the blog. It's not just all academic either. We’re talking time management, social life, mental health (multiple chapters on this one), burn out, bullying, abusive hierarchical structures, having a life, networking and career development throughout. It’s not a guide on ‘how to publish’, it’s a guide on how to excel at the entire experience. Every step is mentioned. Nothing is skipped out on. And all paths are discussed. Including pausing the PhD, switching to another supervisor, topic or even university, and stopping the PhD altogether. There’s no topic too ‘stigmatized’ for me to not discuss it. And yes, throughout, the career path of doing a PhD and then *gasps* leaving academia is also discussed throughout. Because that’s exactly what I did and what a lot of current and prospective PhD students are worried about. Fret not my friend, it’s all in the guide. It’s the Ultimate Guide.
So there you have it. I have written a book. About doing a PhD and absolutely making the most of the process. It’s on every Amazon platform, as well as available via the publisher (World Scientific – there’s a promotional discount code on the marketing materials). Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your students. Tell anyone with a PhD, doing a PhD or thinking about doing one, because getting this experience right from the get-go makes such a difference. To come out of a PhD thinking it was a great experience is incredibly rare. But I want that for you. And I think I can help!