Backing U!

Your online guide to backing your passion and achieving career success!

Reviews: The Backing U! Range

What Experts Say About Backing U!

“Inspirational…”, “Terrific…”, “Original…”, “Fresh…”, “Lively…”, “Innovative…”,  ”Motivational…”, “Novel…”, “Engaging…”, “Great…”, “Fantastic…”, “Excellent…”, “Clever…”, “Intelligent…”, “Impressive…”


Backing U! will start your career search with passion, then guide you step by step with rigorous screening tools Vaughan Evans developed during his extensive business experience. You’ll end up with a career option that not only inspires you but gives you every chance of success. This is a terrific, original addition to career guidance books.” – Barbara Sher, career counselor and author of Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want and I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was (

“Uncertain that you’re in the right job or career? Backing U! is a fresh, lively, in-depth guide on how to assess your work situation and shift to work you’ll feel passionate about. What makes it stand out from so many other career books is its business perspective. It guides the reader through original tools and realistic case studies on the route to achieving career happiness and success.” – Julie Jansen, career coach and author of I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This (

“If you are wondering whether you are in the right job or business, Vaughan Evans’ Backing U! will re-ignite your passion. Rich, detailed examples bring his innovative ideas to life. As you apply his time-tested business tools to your career, you’ll gain insight, clarity, and the motivation to succeed!” – Carol L. McClelland, PhD, green career expert and author of Your Dream Career For Dummies (

“This is a thorough work on achieving career success, full of innovative tools and charts, which I love! Readers will appreciate how they clarify the issues that are key to career development.” – Daniel Porot, career design guru, author of The PIE Method for Career Success and summer workshop co-leader with Richard N. Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? (

“A novel, engaging and high-energy way of getting the most out of your working life!” – John Lees, career transition and development specialist and author of How To Get A Job You’ll Love (

Backing U! is great, especially for someone like me that loves logical processes. It has some fantastic exercises for helping people to find and land a job with passion, fervor and spirit, what Vaughan Evans calls your hwyl. If you want guidance in shifting to a job you love, this excellent book is for you.” – Catherine Roan, managing director,

Backing U! uses tools developed by the author over many years to assess the viability of small businesses and cleverly adapts these for individuals to assess themselves as if they were a business. Applied to both the employed and self-employed the reader is taken on a detailed and challenging journey to discover whether they should indeed be backing themselves. Vaughan Evans introduces many techniques to help to achieve this, including the wonderful Welsh concept of hwyl – your driving passion – without which the journey could founder. It is clear what his hwyl is and he does an excellent job of conveying that to the rest of us.” – Dr. Barrie Hopson, career counsellor, founder of Lifeskills International and author of Build Your Own Rainbow (

“An innovative approach to getting your career on the right track.” – Nick Williams, personal development coach and author of The Work We Were Born To Do (

“As with business, career change is not a one stop destination, more a continuing evolution. And underpinning success in both is usually fundamental engagement or passion. Backing U!’s very novel approach and tools use exactly this principle, helping you re-inject vision into an existing direction or to find a satisfying new one. Backing U! brings business-like rigour into the career transition process. Some may be put off by the charts, the lists, and the ratings. But for those who relish thorough, disciplined analysis of career options, Vaughan Evans’s intelligent, lucid and lively bookwill be most welcome.” – Sonia Lakshman, career coach and owner of One Smart Step (

“An in-depth read if you want to take a look at your own career possibilities from all angles. The book helps you do the thoughtful work needed to achieve what career success looks like to you. Filled with helpful questions, answers and examples, Vaughan Evans offers sound self-development advice and business perspective. Chapter by chapter, he guides you through a business-focused approach to challenge your thinking so you can develop useful strategies on career growth or change. Backing U! is for anyone committed to finding the highest satisfaction in their work.” - Gayle Lantz, author, Take the Bull by the Horns: The Busy Leader’s Action Guide to Growing Your Business…and Yourself , Founder & President, WorkMatters, Inc. (

“Want a unique business approach to careers and jobs? Then Vaughan Evans’s book, BACKING U!, is for you! Evans’s novel method is ‘top down instead of bottom up.’ He uses ‘out-of-the-box’ and ‘what if’ scenarios, to enhance the contents of this book. The ‘suns and clouds’ concept charts for evaluating opportunities and uncertainties are also very special!”  – Don Sutariaauthor, Career and Life Counselling from the Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!), Founder, President & Life-Work Coach, CareerQuest (

“Impressive… great concepts.” – Daisy Swan, strategic career planner and coach, California (

“Comprehensive… I will recommend it to clients.” – Lynn Berger, career coach and counselor, New York (

“I love Backing U! LITE! If I were Queen of the World, I would give every one of the unemployed, under-employed and long-term unemployed a copy of the book! Then I’d know that everyone has an equal opportunity to learn basic job search skills and how to look at themselves through employers’ eyes – a perspective all wannabe successful jobseekers need to know. I found myself wanting to create visual storyboards for the four main characters, adding new elements to their stories with each chapter. The book works for linear thinkers and visual ones too. Quite an accomplishment. While the book may be intended for more experienced job hunters, it provides much needed information for university students too – about business practices, how employers evaluate potential employees and increasing individual backability. Backing U! LITE not only points out common challenges for career changers and entrepreneurs, but shows scenarios for overcoming them. Most definitely a win-win book, the kind I like best.” – Carol Christen, career strategist and author with Richard N. Bolles of What Color Is Your Parachute: For Teens and career strategist, California (



(published in Ambition, the magazine of the Association of MBAs, January 2012)

In my MBA courses on strategic management, I encourage students to apply the tools of strategy analysis to their own careers. Well, here’s a book that explicitly (and engagingly) advocates precisely that approach. 

Viewing one’s career as a business to be nurtured offers a new and insightful perspective on career development. Our careers are by far the biggest investments we make in our lives. Vaughan Evans encourages us to deploy the same tools of rigorous business analysis to evaluate career decisions as a venture capitalist would to evaluate an investment in a start-up business.

Backing You, MBA! assumes that the reader is taking or has taken a degree in business management—whether at BA or MBA level.  It invites the reader to consider their career as if it were a business, potentially worthy of being backed by an outside investor.  If you find you are backable, it shows you how you can make yourself more so.  If you find you are not, the book guides you on how to switch to a job where you are not only backable – defined as being in an attractive market and where you have a favourable competitive position – but also where your passion lies.

There are many books on career change on the market, the perennial bestseller being Dick Bolles’ What Color Is Your Parachute?  Bolles takes a traditional bottom-up approach to job change – identifying your transferable skills, interests, values etc and seeing where best they can be applied.  He illustrates this through his flower diagram – one of the few readily identifiable tools in the career field.  Most other career guides follow variants of this approach.

Evans’s book differs in two main respects.  By treating the reader as a business, Evans is able to deploy a range of established business tools to guide career decisions.  Second, he takes a market-driven, top-down approach to career change—starting from where you would like to end up (what career fires you with passion), eliminating the non-starters, settling on two or three target careers, evaluating which one suits you best and helping you decide what actions to take to enter and flourish there.

To assess whether you are backable in your current job, Evans adapts tools of strategic due diligence – including some pioneered by himself in his day job as a specialist in this field.  His approach to assessing the balance of risk and opportunity of you as a business – the “Suns & Clouds” chart – is particularly illuminating (greatly helped with the example used of backing The Beatles in the early 1960s).  To assess how to become more backable in your current job, Evans tailors tools of business strategy to the individual.  And for career change, Evans uses the tools of strategic fit found in mergers and acquisitions analysis.  One such tool, the “Hwyl Star” chart, adapts well for assessing your ideal job or business.  It plots job market attractiveness against your likely competitive position, comparing the result with the hwyl (the Celtic concept of passion, fervour, spirit) it will engender in you.  This could become a chart with legs in the career advisory world, along the lines of Bolles’ flower diagram.

The book is not all theory and analytics.  Evans introduces a lively cast of four characters to illuminate the process, each of whom has a story to which a business student can relate.  One is a middle manager and will use his MBA to boost his career advancement potential upon returning to his employer post-degree.  Another is a self-employed economic consultant who wants to use her MBA to break into strategy consulting.  A third is a former accountant who has her eyes on a career in private equity.  And the final character is a young manager intent on escaping big business and starting his own venture.  Evans shows how the tools can be used in practice.

Backing You, MBA! is clever and distinctive.  It approaches career development and change from an entirely fresh angle, forcing the reader to think anew about their career direction.  It is also highly readable, but it is 400 pages long and the analysis at times rigorous.  The reader will need to invest a good few hours to benefit from this book.  But the MBA student will already be familiar with many of the tools.  And if he or she is not prepared to spend some time seriously analysing their own career prospects, one might wonder why they are at business school!

This is an important addition to the world of career guidance.  It offers recent and prospective B-school graduates a novel and illuminating way in which to think about—and plan—their future careers. Moreover, it is an approach that is well adapted to the uncertain times in which graduates will be launching their careers. For students of business, it offers the opportunity to put into practice many of the analytic tools that they will have learned during their degree programmes, and to apply them to the most important decisions that they will ever take—their own careers.

Professor Robert M. Grant, Eni Professor of Strategic Management at Bocconi University, Milan, formerly at McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and London Business School, and author of the top selling U.S. business school textbook on strategy, Contemporary Strategy Analysis (

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