I haven’t done a book report since high school. That was back in the old days before fancy things like the internet and click-to-plagiarize websites. Back then you checked out the book from the school library and turned pages made from dead trees not pixels. You had to actually read the whole thing. I’m can’t recall what the last book I wrote about was, but I’m sure the report was spectacular.
So in a fit of nostalgia I decided to use today’s 500 words to do a book report on The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead by Charles Murray *
Here’s my summation of the book: Charles Murray is saying “Whenever I hear a twenty-something say “You’re not the boss of me!” Actually I am and until me and the other old farts who are in charge die or retire, you’ll do it our way. Now here’s how to do it my way.”
Mr. Murray wants those in their 20’s and early 30’s to realize their future depends on the opinion of old farts. And it should. We’ve been around longer and have made more mistakes. Think of it like this, in football they say there’s no substitute for speed. Speed can help a cornerback make up for taking a step forward when he should have taken a step back. But the gold standard corner’s are the ones like Deion Sanders with both proper technique and speed. The same principle holds for experience vs education. Experience will beat education everytime but when you combine experience and education you get successful men like Warren Buffett.
Murray has a wry wit that comes through in his writing (the chapters on thinking and writing well are worth buying the book all on their own). He tackles:
- office behavior
- dress codes both spoken and unspoken
- how to write something longer than a text
- what to do if you have a bad boss
- the value of watching Groundhog Day on a regular basis etc.
When you look at the table of contents you see the book is all about how to get your s*(# together while you’re young. Before you have the chance to screw up your life.
Here’s how he starts the book:
“The first thing you need to understand is that most large organizations in the private sector are run by curmudgeons like me.”
“Technically, a curmudgeon is an ill-tempered old man. I use the term more broadly to describe highly successful people of both genders who are inwardly grumpy about many aspects of contemporary culture, make quick and pitiless judgments about your behavior in the workplace, and don’t hesitate to act on those judgments in deciding who gets promoted and who gets fired.”
Then he lets you in on THE secret to success in the corporate world:
“Voicing curmudgeonly opinions would instantly label them as such (old and out of touch). So they never admit they judge you on the basis of their inner curmudgeon-but they do. If you want to get ahead, you should avoid doing things that will make them write you off.”
This book is so good and such a good reference I have both the Kindle and hardback editions. It needs to be on your ipad, iphone or bookshelf. Whether you’re a curmudgeon like me or a twenty-something trying to figure out why your boss doesn’t appear to like you.
*Full Disclosure-If you buy the book using this link I get a small commission from Amazon.