Book Review: “Say This, Not That to Your Professor” by Ellen Bremen

So many books we’re asked to review at YouTern follow the same pattern: “I’ve been around longer than you, I’m going to tell you what to do by talking at you, and you will learn from my wisdom!”

Say This, Not That to Your Professor” by Ellen Bremen is NOT one of those books.

Instead, this is a confidence-building manifesto; a collection of real-world scenarios witnessed by a professor at the top of her game. This book helps students find the right words to excel in college – and well after graduation as they join the workforce with a clear understanding of how best to communicate with team members, managers and mentors.

While reading this book, it became clear Professor Bremen cares a great deal about her students – and that she is an amazing mentor. The book has a casual tone that never borders on a lecture. In fact, while reading the book I often felt like I was listening to “Aunt Ellen”. You know, that special relative many of us have that gave us good advice in a non-parental way; the person we knew we could trust to give us the straight answer… whether it was what we wanted to hear or not.

And that is the real value of the book: “Aunt Ellen” – in short chapters spanning categories such as classroom behavior, grades and use of technology – enables the student to rise above yet another parent-child relationship. Instead, by following her advice, the student learns to form adult-to-adult relationships of much higher value to both the student – and the educator.

While the contemporary advice may not be welcome by those educators stuck in the past, when the professor ruled in dictatorial style, this book should be on every college student’s desk… a constant reference guide to help them develop and navigate positive relationships with educators.

One word of warning: students may want to hide their copy somewhere safe. Undoubtedly, other students will want to make consistent use of the advice from Aunt Ellen – and we wouldn’t want your well-worn copy to disappear.


About the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial entrepreneur and mentor. Mark has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post Live,, The Daily Muse, Alltop, PRDaily,, and Intern Advocate.

Mark has been honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors” and was recently featured on HR Examiner’s “Top 25 Trendspotters in HR” and several top blogger lists, including JobMob’s “Top Career Bloggers of 2011”. Contact Mark via email or on Twitter!




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