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Swimming in the Steno Pool: A Retro Guide to Making It in the Office Paperback – April 25, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 291 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (April 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393338541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393338546
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,380,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A secretary herself, Peril (Pink Think) presents an informative if sporadically lively history of the secretary and her woman's arts as well as a humorous guide for those currently catering to their bosses' whims. Chapters detail the various pitfalls secretaries face on the job—and the uphill battle women fought to get a foot in the door—interspersed with sidebars containing historical trivia, excerpts from old advice books such as 1954's Secrets of Charm, and anecdotes from her own life. Peril's potted history includes the first female secretaries, who in 1862 filled slots of male clerks fighting the Civil War, and the early 20th-century arrival of secretarial training schools, most notably the Katherine Gibbs School, which taught decorum and math along with typing and shorthand. Peril also elaborates on secretarial stereotypes (one pulp paperback cover, Very Private Secretary, shows a buxom woman in apparent ecstasy), and also men's reappearance in the "steno pool" in the late 1970s. It all becomes a bit repetitive. But Peril's smooth tongue-in-cheek survey accented by entertaining period photos and ads will especially appeal to fans of Mad Men. 42 illus. (Apr.)
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About the Author

Lynn Peril is a secretary and the author of Pink Think, College Girls, and Swimming in the Steno Pool. She lives in Oakland, California.

More About the Author

Lynn Peril has been writing since she could hold a pencil. She is the author of three books, pens the long-running "Museum of Femoribilia" column at Bust Magazine, and contributes regularly to the HiLo Heroes series at HiloBrow.com. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, London's Guardian newspaper, Ms. Blog, as well as on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. She lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and two black-and-white cats.

Come and visit me at www.pinkthink.com.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karen N. Finlay on April 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
I can't even begin to tell you how thrilled I was when I discovered that Lynn Peril had a new book coming out, and this one did NOT disappoint. Peril, my favorite BUST contributor and 'zine editrix ("Mystery Date"), has outdone herself with the history of the secretary, with laugh-out-loud anecdotes and thought provoking history (many of which made me gasp and shake my head), accompanied by perfect and well-chosen illustrations. "Mad Men" only goes so far with the "retro secretary" storyline -- Peril dives much deeper into the steno pool and comes up with this treasure. A great read for everyone... No matter if you know shorthand or not.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By rozabell on January 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a former secretary and someone who knew Gregg shorthand I found the book a trip down memory lane. I don't think women realized (and that includes me) how lucky we were to have guaranteed employment if we had secretarial skills. Sadly, the profession was denigrated. Today, no one answers their mail, things are disorganized, we need to bring back secretaries!
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