In the best-selling tradition of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, a gently curmudgeonly but invaluable guide to the dos and don'ts of the workplace
Best-selling social historian Charles Murray has written a delightfully fussy - and entertaining - book on the hidden rules of the road in the workplace - and in life - from the standpoint of an admonishing, but encouraging, workplace grouch and taskmaster. Why the curmudgeon? The fact is that most older, more senior people in the workplace are closet curmudgeons. In today's politically correct world, they may hide their displeasure over your misuse of grammar or your overly familiar use of their first name without an express invitation. But don't be fooled by their pleasant demeanor. Underneath, they are judging and evaluating your every move and utterance. And in most cases, if you want to advance in your career, it is their approval you need to win.
In the course of this pithy and powerful book, Murray tells us the proper etiquette for email, how to stop using such overused and fuzzy phrases as "reaching out" and "sharing", his thoughts on piercings and tattoos and proper dress, the importance of rigor in language and good writing, why being judgmental is good, and other curmudgeonly pieces of wisdom and advice. He suggests how to stand out at work (work long hours when you are young and unencumbered by family and other obligations), when to use strong language and when to avoid it, and offers a bare-bones usage primer on how to avoid confusing words like "advice" and "advise", which look or sound similar but have distinct meanings.
Written with both verve and reserve and drawing on the core values that have historically made good manners the best lubricant to social and professional advancement, The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead is an invaluable resource for anyone hoping to land the job of their dreams - or get ahead in their career of choice.
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Good Book: From one curmudgeon to another
I have always respected the research of Charles Murray. He has a history of conducting socially important research, citing solid peer reviewed evidence to support his hypothesis, and fearlessly stating his points regardless of controversy. His books (The Bell Curve, Coming Apart, Real Education...) challenge conventional wisdom and social assumptions about our culture and behaviors.
Murray's "The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead" (2014) is meant to be a "how to" book for young adults relative to blending into an established corporate culture and engaging in behaviors associated with successful adult independence.
The big problem? The audience "Curmudgeon" is intended to help would probably never be interested reading this book. Murray hammers these young adults for their tattoos, casual use of profanity/obscenity, and faulty applications of English grammar. "Curmudgeon" is broken down into sequential chapters that permit Murray's to dispense his personal advice to young adults.
Personally, I enjoyed "Curmudgeon". However, I am 49 years old and may be defined by my employees as a curmudgeon. Overall, Murray has a interesting and engaging book that other curmudgeons will use to validate their perceptions of the younger generations. Reading "Curmudgeon" feels a little like preaching to the choir. On my rank order book rating system, I place "Curmudgeon" 40th of the 68 books I have read over the last two years.
Great Advice for Young People