Professional Practice books

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    Chris Whitted

    In dealing with the current downturn I’ve been giving some thought to doing a few contract jobs or potentially starting my own firm. While I’ve had some exposure to the business side in my career, it hasn’t been enough that I feel totally ready to do so, and I’ve been looking for some additional resources. While researching liability insurance I came across two books:

    The Professional Practice of Landscape Architecture: A Complete Guide to Starting and Running Your Own Firm by Walter Rogers

    Ready, Set, Practice: Elements of Landscape Architecture Professional Practice by Bruce Sharky (which I saw was also recommended in the Essential Reading thread).

    I checked out the Rogers book through the library and thought it looked like a pretty good reference / text book that might be worth actually getting my own copy, but I haven’t looked at the Sharky book yet. I did note both were from the mid 90’s and about all I could find that were dedicated to the subject.

    Does anyone have any thoughts / reviews on either of these two books from an experienced standpoint, or suggestions for any others?

    Marc Garon-Nielsen

    Ready, Set, Practice was definitely a great book for section A of the LARE. It has been a few years since reading, but I would take it as a guide and not the gospel if you are thinking of starting your own practice since things have changed quite a bit in the past 15+ years.

    Chris Whitted

    Thanks for the reply. I noted the same thing about the Rogers book – a lot of detail and examples, but a decidedly ‘dated’ feel to it. Defnitely a guide or reference resource and not a definitive how-to.

    Cecilia Schafler

    I teach Professional Practice for Landscape Architects at UNLV and use the Sharky book as the main text book. I have found that although it is from the 90’s, the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the book transend time and remain relevant in today’s world. I think it is a good resource, but I would not rely solely on either book. If you are thinking of starting your own firm, you might think about contacting colleagues in LA, architecture, engineering, etc. and ask about their experiences. You’d be surprised how much they might share.
    Good luck!

    Chris Whitted

    My course was taught by a guest lecturer (practicing LA) without the benefit(?) of a text. But I thought he did a relatively good job – what I remembered of the course seemed like a concentrated reduction of the material I found in the Rogers book.

    I definitely wouldn’t rely on a single or even multiple books, and I have spoken to some others in similar situations. I’d also contacted my former, former employer to learn more about when he started up the firm. Experience is the best teacher, even if it isn’t your own (and sometimes preferably). 🙂

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