Nathan Reads: How To Tame Your PhD

The Short Version

How To Tame Your PhD” is the must-own, must-read, ultra-helpful book for PhD students of any and every discipline. Filled with information and insights related to the heart of a postgraduate researcher’s journey, Inger Mewburn has created a how-to guide that I whole-heartedly recommend – in case I wasn’t being clear about how I feel already!

Now, read on for the longer review!

The Long Version

Inger started the Thesis Whisperer up in June 2010, and over the last four years the site has grown and grown. When I deliver workshops and ask people about useful resources for PhDs, the first suggestion that comes from the room is always “The Thesis Whisperer!” While the blog now features articles from many contributors, “How To Tame Your PhD” is solely Inger’s work. It contains over twenty chapters, plus suggestions for further reading, and all are on topics that concern every PhD student.

I had long finished my PhD by the time I read this book, but could instantly see how helpful it would have been. Suggestions for processes that lead to idea formation, advice for the literature review and tons of useful ideas for writing and productivity – this book is a fantastic resource for PhD students. It’s concise, non-waffley, funny and human – it never elevates to treat itself as superior, or to speak to people reading as novices or apprentices who are coming to it for learning. I re-read it recently for the purposes of this review, and was struck several times by the thought “Wait, I need to do that now!”

This book is a bargain on the Kindle (and in print!), you can read it over several lunch breaks but will return to it several times for inspiration and encouragement during a PhD. Whether you’ve started your PhD recently, or have been doing research for several years, this needs to be a part of your library.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

PS – please take a look at my Patreon campaign for the Viva Survivors Podcast!