The Casual Mentor

Hank Hoppin

Publisher: iUniverse Pages: 124 Price: (paperback) $14.95 ISBN: 9781491784600 Reviewed: May, 2016 Author Website: Visit »

In his 60s, author Hank Hoppin credits scores of people in his past for offering the type of “casual mentoring” that made him a successful professional in the pharmaceutical, real estate, insurance and education industries. Here, he aims to show that a wide range of people within a broad range of experiences can exert a “mentoring-like” influence in a person’s life.

Casual mentoring is a self-selected, informal and ongoing approach with no defined expectations. Hoppin notes that the opportunities are far greater for creating such relationships than formal ones; it’s the very nature of such relationships—their lack of structure and “no strings attached” approach—that provide a wider range of role models, from parents, aunts and uncles to admired job associates or golf buddies. Reviewing his own life, the author relates how continually expanding his personal and professional networks contributed to his collection of casual mentors.

Hoppin shares anecdotes from his rise at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer—where he assumed increasing levels of responsibility—to illustrate how his peers influenced his business philosophy, some of whom may have had no inkling they were the subject of his attention. The author doesn’t unilaterally advocate casual mentoring for all situations, noting that the amount and type of knowledge to be transferred should dictate how formal a mentoring relationship should be.

Readers who like to ingest their information in bulleted and numerated form will appreciate The Casual Mentor’s abundance of charts that list such things as ‘”the most desirable traits of mentees,” and compare the roles of coach, manager and mentor. Some will be skeptical, however, at scant mention about drawbacks to the casual approach; even the most “no strings” arrangement usually presents some challenges. The book also suffers from repetitious content that borders on padding.

Nonetheless, Hoppin offers a compelling argument for the enriching qualities of casual mentoring— one that will be appreciated by those who value the positive influence others can have in their lives.

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