Book review: Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht

Aliza Licht’s Leave Your Mark promises to help give you tips to land your dream job, kill it in your career, and rock social media. 

Those are some big claims, and while I don’t think reading this book is going to suddenly set you on the path to awesomeness, I think it’ll fire you up so that you want to try.

Licht started in fashion journalism before joining DKNY in a publicity role. There, when Twitter appeared, she set up DKNY PR Girl, pretty much the first Twitter account to give the inside track on PR in the world of fashion. Taking her experience in journalism and PR, Licht has written a how-to guide to making the most of every career opportunity that comes your way, and creating some of your own.

I don’t read business books or self-help guides or anything similar – the closest I’ve come before this is Sheryl Sandberg’s wonderful Lean In. So I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I picked up Leave Your Mark.

The first thing is that it’s very upbeat, very matter of fact, and Licht’s voice is very confident. Confidence is a big point in the book, but it took me a while to get past my British reserve and start really enjoying what Licht was saying and the way she was saying it. I never really got used to the ‘take a selfie’ sections, where Licht almost gives the reader a task in which you have to assess yourself. The use of the word selfie felt a little trying too hard to be trendy to me, and I didn’t love it.

But it was easy to ignore my initial discomforts and get caught up in the book. Licht’s voice, once I was used to it, is engaging, a bit like that of a friend you’ve sought out for coffee and a bit of advice. Her anecdotes are great, if not always relatable because of the world they’re based in (fashion is not my thing, you only need to look at me!). But I think we’ve all, if we’ve been working for a while, encountered situations that are either a bit like those Licht describes, or that made us feel like Licht felt at certain times. Seeing how she dealt with them, or hearing how she should have dealt with them, is useful, and knowing someone else has faced some big and small problems and got through them is encouraging.

Licht’s book is a very practical tome. For someone like me, some of the tips are a bit basic, but if you’re just starting out in your career, whatever the industry, I think all her advice should be read very carefully and adhered to. The stuff later in the book was much more useful to me, both in my career and in life in general. The ‘personal brand’ takes some getting used to, but it’s just because we’re perhaps, especially as women, told that we’re not supposed to push ourselves to the forefront and make sure everyone knows who we are and all about our successes.

Leave Your Mark is full of good advice, but what I took away from it most was inspiration – it inspired me to think bigger, create more of my own opportunities, and to put myself out there and show my skills and talents. I might not be rocking it and killing it after reading this book, but I’m definitely doing better.

How I got this book: From the publisher, Piatkus. This did not affect my review.

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