Tone – Although it’s impossible to be unbiased, I try to maintain a balanced tone throughout The Ph.D. Grind. In contrast, many people who write Ph.D.-related articles, books, or comics are either:
successful professors or research scientists who pontificate stately advice, adopting the tone of “grad school is tough, but it’s a delectable intellectual journey that you should enjoy and make the most of … because I sure did!”
or bitter Ph.D. graduates/dropouts who have been traumatized by their experiences, adopting a melodramatic, disillusioned, self-loathing tone of “ahhh my world was a living hell, what did I do with my life?!?”
Stately advice can motivate some students, and bitter whining might help distressed students to commiserate, but a general audience will probably not be receptive to either extreme.
Philip J. Guo recently completed a Ph.D. program in Computer Science at Stanford, and now works for Google. He also wrote a 115-page ebook about his experience that you can read for free (or you can skip to the end and read the epilogue, which lists the most memorable things he learned, like I did.) Maybe he’ll talk you out of doing a Ph.D. and save you six years—or perhaps he’ll convince you to do it!