Guiding you to the right career

Abhinaya Rao

Title: Solving the Ice-cream Dilemma
Author: Steven Rudolph
Publisher: Times Group Books
Price: Rs. 299

“Disputes over studies and marks surely spoiled what was a delicious dinner on more than one occasion. Tense talks about which stream to opt for turned into streams of tears.”

Does this story seem familiar? These lines are from Steven Rudolph’s latest book, Solving the Ice-cream Dilemma, which addresses the catch 22 situation most parents and children find themselves in while answering the big career question. With a plethora of choices to pick from, family’s suggestions going all over the place, the education system not really helping, and the inevitable clash between academic interest and financial security, choosing a career is certainly a hard task.

This book puts forth a practical approach towards ensuring that a child has a successful career in the current context, where the child is faced with multitude options. The plot of the book begins with listing these various options available, popular notions about a ‘good job’ and pointing out Gen X’s demand for more independence in the decision-making process.

Ice cream Now that the problems are out in the open, here’s a look at the solution. Steven talks about the ‘Multiple Intelligence (MI)’ theory proposed by researcher Howard Gardener as the key to begin with. According to this theory, people’s abilities can be categorized into eight different types— bodily, interpersonal, logical, linguistic, visual, musical, intrapersonal and naturalistic. Steven calls them the ‘smarts’. Once the readers determine which of the ‘smarts’ the child falls under, they get introduced to the term, ‘Multiple Natures (MN)’, a concept Steven’s long years of research has yielded. It’s not enough to have the aptitude for a career, but it is also necessary to possess the traits it demands says Steven. The traits being the nine MNs— protective, educative, administrative, creative, healing, entertaining, providing, entrepreneurial, and adventurous. For example, if one wants to become a yoga instructor, he or she needs to have the combination of bodily intelligence (MN) plus the educative and healing natures (MIs).

This part of the book hooks readers the most and as one combines the MIs and the MNs, you have a list of jobs in hand that will suit your personality. Once the goal (the suitable job) has been figured out, a ‘career chakra (career wheel)’ is presented to the reader. The various spokes of the ‘chakra’ are activities like choosing the stream, enrolling in an institution, learning etc., that one has to do to get to the focus point of the ‘chakra’- the chosen career.

While most career guidance books would have stopped at this, making you believe all’s well with the world now, Steven recognizes that even this well-planned hunky dory picture has its share of obstacles. He suggests various means to tackle situations that could arise as the wheel turns and insists on looking at a child’s weaknesses, which could bog him/her down. A periodic assessment to check if the child’s headed in the right direction seals the process.

This well-researched book is targeting children from the eight to twelfth standard, their parents and the teachers. But, even if you aren’t at the crossroads of your life, the book still makes an interesting read and leaves you wishing you had such guidance when you were struggling. ‘Solving the Ice-cream Dilemma’ definitely helps in deciding which ice cream flavour is the one you’ll enjoy slurping the most. Happy solving!

The reviewer is a student of MA Communication at the University of Hyderabad. She can be reached at

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