Resources for New PIs: Help Finding the Way

Updated: Aug 27, 2021


In anticipation of our August Brown Bag event - The Roles You Play as a PI - we asked our followers for their favorite and most useful resources for new PIs. Here are six of their top picks, in no particular order.


Podcast: Your Unapologetic Career with Kemi Doll

Each episode of this podcast by Kemi Doll - physician, surgeon, researcher, coach, and career strategist - focuses on one core career growth strategy. Her focus is "being a woman of color in academic medicine who wants to make a real difference with her career." Episode 2 was recommended - listen to find out why.


Academaze: Finding Your Way Through the American Research University by Sydney Phlox

Written under a pen name, this collection of essays and cartoons about academic life is sure to amuse you.

Here’s an excerpt of a review from the Newsletter of the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics and the Committee on Minorities of the American Physical Society:


“Sydney Phlox is a professor in a physical science field, and writes candidly about all aspects of academia, from the joys of teaching, to the frustration of working with difficult colleagues. Her writing style is conversational and pleasant to read. Each essay is a bite-sized nugget of information; perfect for reading one-at-a-time during 5 minute breaks from debugging code, or reading a few over a coffee while procrastinating on that journal article I have to review. Although I didn’t agree with all her opinions, it was still interesting to hear a different point of view (Sydney Phlox is partial to traditional lecture courses, while I prefer interactive instructional styles). On the other hand, I found myself nodding along in agreement with many of her ideas on writing and communication. We even share a writing role model, Stephen King.”

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The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You by Julie Zhuo

With candor and humor, Julie Zhao leads us on a journey from awkwardness to success in managing teams. From an endorsement by Daniel H. Pink, author of WHEN and DRIVE:

“By focusing on three big leadership themes – Purpose, People, and Process – she puts the emphasis right where it should be for the greatest success and satisfaction.”

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The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance by Steven G. Rogelburg

The book’s description makes this claim: “A recent estimate suggests that employees endure a staggering 55 million meetings a day in the United States. This tremendous time investment yields only modest returns.


This book shares techniques and practices to enliven your meeting culture, based in extensive research, data, and interviews.

Here’s one of the many positive reviews for this book: "Steven Rogelberg has done the nearly impossible: translated solid organization science into a well-organized, readable, and often humorous book filled with evidence-based actionable steps that individuals, managers and leaders alike can apply to improve their own lives, their meetings, and ultimately the effectiveness of their organizations." -- Alexis Fink, Senior Director of Talent Management, Intel

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Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty produced by the Burroughs Wellcome fund

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s book is no longer in print, but is now available as a free downloadable PDF. From their description: “Based on workshops co-sponsored by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and HHMI, this book is a collection of practical advice and experiences from seasoned biomedical investigators and includes chapters on laboratory leadership, getting funded, project management, and teaching and course design.

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The Art of Funding and Implementing Ideas: A Guide to Proposal Development and Project Management by Arnold R. Shore and John M. Carfora

Focused on the grant proposal process, this Guide provides a detailed roadmap towards success in obtaining funding, including insights into how funding decisions are made.

Watch this blog for a forthcoming review of this title!

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Do you recognize any of these favorite resources? We invite you to share your thoughts on these resources or share others that you have found helpful, amusing, or insightful. Also, if you are a new or not so new PI, consider joining us for our next online Brown Bag event The Roles You Play as a New PI this Friday, August 27 from 1 to 2 p.m. EST. We hope to see you at this or another ATG Brown Bag!


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