Actually, it hasn't been written yet.

And, uh, you have to write it.

But, besides that, it really is the best job hunting book ever written.

"What Do I Do Next?"
That's really the question. Even more than, as Buddy Guy sings, "Where's the next one comin' from."

It's a question that can interrupt sleep and cash flow.

People ask me that question all the time. Especially in this economy, it seems. Two people asked me yesterday. "What do I do next?"

My answer is, disappointingly, always the same: "I dunno." But, really, you don't want me to tell you what to do. I spent 20 years of my career doing what other people thought I should do for a living. That's not the best strategy.

(I've already written on job hunting.)

And anyway, I'm too busy screwing up my own life to take time to tell you how to screw up yours.

But there is a reason to ask around. It's a great strategy.

One Hundred Smart People
The strategy comes from my lifelong friend Jon York. (He's a smarty. Can't help it. He was born to smarties.)

One day, some years ago, Jon found himself bought out of the company he'd started — and wondering, "What do I do next?"

He and I were playing catch-up and he described his strategy:

I'm going to talk to 100 smart people. Not particularly people who might answer the question — and certainly not exclusively those in a position to give me my next gig. That's not the idea. The idea is: if you talk to one hundred smart people, something good will happen.

I think Jon said that he'd learned this from a teacher of his, but that attribution is lost in the wavy, wispy, willowy cobwebs of time.

But — hey! — what about The Fabulous Book On Job Hunting?

The Book Idea: Here's How It Works
So let's start with Jon's idea. Schedule meeting after meeting with smart people. Go talk to them. Share your story. Listen to theirs.

Good things will happen.

But, let's do that one better: Write a book along the way. You can call it 100 Smart People. (Credit Jon.)

When you schedule the meeting, don't say, "I'm a poor sonovabitch trying to find my way back into the ball and chain of capitalism." (If that works, let me know. I have another book idea for you.)

Try this: "I'm writing a book called 100 Smart People. May I come interview you? It will take only 45 minutes and it will be fun. I'll ask you seven questions, which I'll send you in advance. I'll record the conversation, transcribe it, and let you review it. With your approval, I'll include our interview in the book."

"Finally!" the other person will silently think on the other end of the telephone line. "I'm being recognized for what I am (not). This guy thinks I'm a smarty." You'll book that appointment faster than you can pull a ripcord and see what color your parachute is.

Take a little recording device. I just bought one for less than $100, which is small enough to smuggle into prison and has a USB connector. Which reminds me of a joke:

Three men are in a sauna. Hot. Towels. Three men.

A telephone rings. One man extends his left thumb and pinky, places his thumb near his ear, and  talks into the pinky, quietly, politely. Concluding his call, he looks sheepishly at the others and says, "I had my phone installed into my hand."

The second man, says, "That's a great idea. Let me make a note of that." And he proceeds to write with his finger on the palm of his other hand. "Oh," he says, feeling the eyes of the men on him. "I had my Palm actually installed in my palm."

The third man — let's call him Louie, for he is our hero — finds this all somewhat amusing and somewhat disturbing. He excuses himself from the sauna, "I'll be right back."

When Louie returns, he has a piece of toilet paper hanging from his rear end.

"Oh, excuse me," says Louie. "I'm receiving a fax."

None of the smart people will tell you this joke.

Now where were we?

So you record the conversation, and follow through. You can write a book or — hey, do what truly impressive people do — write it into a blog. Each day, another blog post on a smarty.

In any case…

I bet you don't finish the book.
And not because you are a lazy scoundrel.

You won't get to the end of the book, because around Smart Person #50, someone will connect you to your next gig.

(Oh, right, that's what you wanted in the first place. You didn't want to write no stinkin' book. Leave that to the English majors.)

And, if you do finish the book, that wouldn't be so bad anyway. You were looking for a job and a book popped out.

Like a fax.

And I know you will sell at least 10 copies to 100 people