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How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying Paperback – April 12, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Fireside (April 12, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684800209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684800202
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #764,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Shepherd Mead, author of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying that inspired the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical of the same name, was one of those men dogged by success. Born in St. Louis in April 1914, Mead attended Washington University. Upon graduation he went to New York to practice being an intellectual and ended up as a junior executive and then a vice president of Benton & Bowles. His biting attacks against society only gained him greater fame and success, and he finally resigned and fled to Europe with his wife and three children in 1957. He spent a year in Geneva and then went to England in 1958. Mead died in London, England at his flat overlooking the beautiful Hurlingham Club by the Thames on August 15, 1994 at the age of 80.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas S. Miceli on January 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
I ordered this book on a whim, after having heard some selections from the 1961 original cast recording. I had seen the movie version, and enjoyed it thoroughly.

The book is well written, and funny. It is worth reading just for the historical perspective it brings to dealing with the business community. But, this is one of those times when I thought that I was better off watching the DVD, because there just isn't that much substance to the book.

The book was written for a different time, but I think the original movie version better makes the transition to the present day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Crazy Christopher on August 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Let us assume you are young, healthy, clear-eyed and eager, anxious to rise quickly and easily to the top of the business world. You can!
If you have education, intelligence, and ability, so much the better. But remember that thousands have reached the top without them."
The opening line of Shepherd Mead's unassuming and disarming satire says it all.

Mead speaks to you, the reader, and launches into his version of the "how to" of business with chapters like "How to Rise from the Mailroom", "How to Make Money" and of course, "How to Keep Money"...without lifting a single finger. You will chuckle as the main character (dubbed "Pierrepont Finch") cleverly climbs his way from average Joe Shmoe to president of the company with Mead as his tip-filled guide. Simply put, it "teaches" the reader to succeed with the most minimal effort exerted and with no business background whatsoever. Chapters are laid out plainly with section headings like "Stab the Right Backs", "The Look of Suffering", and "Be a Meeting-Leaver."

This book, though dated by today's business world standards, still packs a painful wallop of humor through satirical examples, dialogue, situations, and just plain terrific tomfoolery, all thanks to Mead's wit (and Finch's actions). When you get past the old fashioned references, this book is a quick and fun read, and you'll catch yourself rooting for Finch's sometimes dastardly antics as he climbs the corporate ladder, back-stabbing and shoving his way to the top rung. Business types will laugh and nod knowingly, while the rest of us will grin gleefully.

Fans of the musical on which this book is based will recognize the example names, such as "Bud Frump" and "J.B. Biggley." And those fans will certainly recognize the line: "A Secretary is NOT a Toy."

Highly recommended. And after reading: woe to those who stand in your way of success!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scott A. Moore on January 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
The path that got me to this review is interesting, I was looking for the
blu-ray of Office Space, a great movie. To me there is no doubt that
Shepard Mead's book keeps rolling through movies like Office Space, and
cartoons like Dilbert. Shepard mead did it first, and it is timeless,
regardless of the ways work has changed since he wrote it. I grew up with
my dad's copy of the book (he actually did work on a desk in rows in the
1950's). Later I "rediscovered" the book in a modern printing, but found
I missed the original illustrations, and so found a copy of the original
hardbound.
The book is very funny, and cuts so close to the truth that to this day,
I don't dare bring it into work. After 30+ years in the office world,
I would say that the book still is 90% true of the office environment
today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Allen Smalling TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 23, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is the paperback book of HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, the subersive, faux-genteel little tome that fueled the stealthy and sneaky way to take over a corporation without specialized knowledge in what it makes. Part business satire, part WINNING THROUGH INTIMIDATION and all humor, it was first written in the early Fifties and went on to fuel the highly successful Broaday musical by Frank Loesser (1961, with revivals to follow) and the hit movie (1967). It remains a touchstone today despite the early-Fifties wage levels ($27.50 a week for a file clerk?). One thing I missed, though, are the puckish illustrations that accompanied original editions of this book. This book is illustrated, but the drawings are of a more recent vintage. Still, fun to peruse and quite cheap used.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By kithorntvedt@rocketmail.com on September 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
Highly pertinent business satire! As good as the NY musical - perhaps better!
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