Customer Reviews


108 Reviews
5 star:
 (70)
4 star:
 (28)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good advice for the young (and for the nearly curmudgeonly)
I have been a fan of Charles Murray since I read his classic Losing Ground while I was in college. Many are familiar with Murray's always thought-provoking and insightful work in his books and his work with the American Enterprise Institute. During his tenure at AEI, he as seen countless college interns and young scholars come through their doors. His new book, The...
Published 4 months ago by Paul A. Mastin

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Short and outdated. I have some other suggestions.
This book feels a bit short and outdated. A 20-year-old (target audience) following Charles Murray’s advice would stand out, but not necessarily in a good way. They’d appear disconnected and unimaginative. They may be polite, well-dressed, and properly spoken, but those are the people that often fly under the radar. For a better book about getting ahead, read...
Published 5 days ago by Ryan J. Dejonghe


‹ Previous | 1 211 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good advice for the young (and for the nearly curmudgeonly), April 8, 2014
By 
This review is from: The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life (Hardcover)
I have been a fan of Charles Murray since I read his classic Losing Ground while I was in college. Many are familiar with Murray's always thought-provoking and insightful work in his books and his work with the American Enterprise Institute. During his tenure at AEI, he as seen countless college interns and young scholars come through their doors. His new book, The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead, is a wonderful distillation of practical advice for these young people and others.

As a writer, Murray is of course concerned with language usage, in both written and spoken communication. Most of it is standard style manual material, but this passage stands out: "Do you use the word like as a verbal tic? I mean, like, do you insert it in, like, random points in your, like, spoken conversation? If the answer is yes, this is the single most important tip in the entire book: STOP IT!" Well said! His tips on writing (and re-writing) are worth a read for any aspiring writer.

Some of his advice will seem old-fashioned and out of date, but it's still hard to argue with it. Speaking of tattoos, he agrees that they have a place in history, "first among savage tribes and then, more recently, among the lowest classes of Western societies." He reluctantly makes exceptions for insignias from the armed forces, but clearly advises against any visible tattoos.

Some of his best advice is for that class of students and young people who end up in places like AEI for internships, which he calls "affirmative action for the advantaged." He argues that while internships can be beneficial, much more beneficial would be summer jobs in the service sector, in order to be around people of all classes and learning how to wait on people rather than being waited on. Any sort of cultural exposure is beneficial, since "we aren't required to love all of our fellow Americans. But we should know from personal experience we're talking about."

Murray covers a lot in a relatively short space. The Curmudgeon's Guide would make a great gift for the college graduates in your life, but even for someone getting closer and closer to a curmudgeonly age, there is plenty to learn and think about here.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


47 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When it's Revolutionary to be Traditional, April 8, 2014
This review is from: The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life (Hardcover)
When it's revolutionary to be traditional and controversial to be safe, you know that society has gone off the deep end. And it takes innovative thinkers to wake that society up from its bizarre state of affairs. Like the iconic How to Take Advantage and Freakonomics before, Curmudgeon takes a unique look at the world and provides a refreshing take-home concept for the reader: get married young and try to marry someone who's religious.

This may fly in the face of all the modern advice and sure to make feminists pop a couple blood vessels but his argument makes sense. People have been pushing this self-centered hedonistic lifestyle on teens and twenty-somethings for decades and they're the least happy they've ever been, despite having the most opportunity and wealth in history. Weird. Maybe, as Murray writes, "The clichés are true."

And I think the kids these days are ready to hear it. They've tried the common ideal being sold now and found it empty. That's why more young people are going to traditional churches and getting involved in traditional organizations.

Marry young, become deeply involved with religion, and prioritize virtuous conduct over fame and fortune. Grandpa Murray's right. It may just lead to a happier you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I am sorry that this kind of book I have not encounter when I started my career, April 21, 2014
This review is from: The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life (Hardcover)
‘The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead’ written by Charles Murray is a good book for older teenagers and people in twenties that provides many interesting lessons about life and helps getting around in this world where there are not many great opportunities and it is important to quickly grab the ones that show in our life.

Charles Murray made an effort to gather in one place many small, at first glance, not so much important tips and consolidated them in his book that you will read in 2-3 hours because of its brevity without any problems.

‘The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead’ is divided into four major chapters – ‘On the presentation of self in the workplace’, ‘On thinking and writing well’, ‘On the formation of who you are’ and ‘On the pursuit of happiness’ - each of them consisting of several lessons that are shared on a few pages.

Although I'm not the target audience for this book, nor with my age, and even less with my business experience, I am sorry that this kind of book I have not encounter many years ago when I started with my career because with almost all found inside I completely agree. Therefore in my opinion Murray’s will be of help to young people in search for their first job, but also on the other aspects of their business and personal development.

The author begins his book in a funny way saying to reader that first thing they need to understand is that most organizations in the private sector are led by curmudgeons just like author is, except of the entertainment or IT industries, which are led by people who are either young or trying to be. The curmudgeon by definition is grumpy man (or woman) who doesn’t like too much contemporary culture and make quick judgments about someone behavior in the workplace, not hesitating to act on those judgments in deciding who gets promoted and fired.

So if you want to satisfy this kind of people, or at least as much is possible to fulfill their expectations, but however still remain yourselves, I recommend you to read Charles Murray’s book - some of the things you will find inside you already know for sure, but some are small wisdoms about which a young (wo)man is not paying enough attention but still they are important.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murray again, April 20, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Murray is back again with another book for lay people. This time he takes the role of the elderly statesman advising the younger generation. Being roughly the same generation as Murray, I tend to agree with much of what he says, although my rational side says the audience he is addressing will largely ignore much of what he advises. His advice on marriage seems particularly pertinent in this day and age when many young people are postponing marriage and children. The start up marriage of two young people who then go on to build a life together and have shared memories seems to be the most satisfying in the long run, when it works. Murray notes this and does not blame couple who split up, but does note that those that survive work through problems that would cause many others to break and run. He calls marriages when two people are older and established, as "mergers" and notes that they may also work well but often lack the shared successes and hardships overcome that all young marriages have to undergo. The old adage that "whatever doesn't kill me, makes me stronger" certainly applies to those marriages that succeed. I was less taken with his rather long passage on writing skills. Reminds me of William Safire and other scolds. It is a good read and well written but not a book I will reread.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


28 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And now for something completely different..., April 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life (Hardcover)
I hate to use a cliche and say that Charles Murray has done it again, but Charles Murray has done it again. I figured something was up when he wrote a delightful article for the New York Times describing his nascent career as a poker player. There was an existential shift going on, and the good humor and delightful wisdom in this book really delivers. Disclaimer: I had the privilege of seeing the manuscript prior to publication, and since I know Dr. Murray I would be hard pressed to go negative. That being said, what I most enjoy about this book is (1) the writing style, which is brilliant, friendly, and down to earth; and (2) the creativity and originality with which the author shares some of the eternal truths we all wish we could put into words. I will leave it to others to summarize and deconstruct. I'll simply say that this book is an example of what happens when genius lets it all hang out, the writer loves the game, and the object is to swing for the centerfield fence. If you don't enjoy this book, put it up for sale on eBay and I'll buy your copy for friends and family.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great graduation advice, May 29, 2014
By 
Quig (Minnesota, USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
When entering the workforce, you'll be faced with many first-time situations and little experience. This book is a common sense guide to comporting yourself, communicating, interpersonal relations and a balanced lifestyle. A sound path through bizarre fads, outrageous behavior, and a frequent breakdown in civility. A perfect primer for aspiring youth.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great gift for the young, June 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life (Hardcover)
May is fast approaching, and with May comes the season of graduations.
Daughters and sons, nephews and nieces, young people we’ve cherished for one reason or another: they’re about to embark on the next journey in their life, and we want to speed them along their way with a meaningful gift. Cash is always handy, of course, to the young—and I might add, to some of us who are old—but cash is a cold gift, the sort of boon and gratuity given by most of us out of desperation, ignorant of what those just graduating from high school or college might need or want.
While these graduates may well appreciate hard cash, there is a gift available this season to accompany your check. Charles Murray’s The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don’ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life (ISBN 978-0-8041-4144-4, $17.95) is written for young people in their late teens and through their twenties, and offers some great advice to grads and to anyone that age struggling with all that life can throw at them these days.
As Murray writes in the Introduction to The Curmudgeon’s Guide: “I wish I could tell you that his little book will fix all that. (Your problems). It won’t, but it might help.”
And he’s right. While the future offers no guarantees, The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead does give the young some excellent advice. Here are just a headings from Murray’s bits of wisdom, culled, I might add, from a lifetime of experience:
“Don’t use first names with people considerably older than you until asked, and sometimes not even then.
“Excise the word ‘like’ from your spoken English.
“On piercings, tattoos, and hair of a color not known to nature. (Here Murray strongly advises jobseekers not to display any of these. Of tattoos visible during a job interview, he writes that with the exception of a former member of the armed forces with a tattoo of his unit’s insignia, ‘show up with a visible tattoo and you are toast before you open your mouth’).
“On the proper use of strong language. (Murray is for strong language, but only in certain situations).
“Leave home. (He strongly advises twenty-somethings to ‘jump out of the nest’).
“Get real jobs. (He strongly opposes working internships that pay no money. He also advises young people who have grown up in upper-middle class homes and neighborhoods to find work first in such places as restaurants and construction. Here, he contends, the privileged will find their best chance at expanding their horizons and their understanding of people).
“Come to grips with the difference between being nice and being good. (Here he discusses both the four cardinal virtues originated by the ancient Greeks—courage, justice, temperance, and prudence (also called ‘wisdom’)—and brings Aristotle into the argument as well. He has some excellent comments in this section, mostly pointing out that being nice is easy and being good difficult).”
His concise tips on writing, that valuable tool which so many young people ignore or neglect, would benefit even skilled writers. Especially striking is his solution to the use of third person singular pronouns: he and she. As anyone knows who spends time writing, we’ve spent the last forty years trying to figure out how to use gender-neutral pronouns. Traditionalists want to maintain the use of ‘he,’ while others recommend either ‘he or she,’ or, in what sane writers should regard as an abomination before the muse, ‘s/he.’ Murray’s recommendation: “Unless there is an obvious reason not to, use the gender of the author or, in a co-written text, the gender of the principal author.” This solution will strike many readers as eminently practical.
The last chapter in The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead, “On the Pursuit of Happiness,” is only twenty-two pages long, but Murray crams it full of advice on subjects ranging from marriage to the practice of religion. Section 29—“Show Up”—strikes me as particularly wise. Murray stresses here the importance of “showing up,” not only for work, but for family, community, and faith. He points out how easy it is not to show up these days, when so many spend so much time sitting in front of a screen, and advocates engaging with people and events in person. “You are not going to reach old age satisfied with who you have been and what you have done because you interfaced with a screen. Thus the first essential step in the pursuit of happiness: Show up.”
The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead is to the point, witty, packed with excellent advice, and short in length. Any young graduate will find at least several treasures here, sharply-cut diamonds of wisdom certain to help them find their way in the world.
One final note: at the very end of his book, Murray recommends watching the movie Groundhog Day repeatedly. Fans of this movie would heartily second this recommendation. The movie is all about effort, about the transformation of the self such effort produces. So if you’re looking for a second gift to accompany the book, you’ll find it in Groundhog Day. Wrap up the book and the DVD, and you’ll give your graduate a worthy gift.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughts from another curmudgeon, May 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I’m an older guy who literally, as an executive, has had thousands of employees, and the challenges of managing and mentoring specific age groups has been something that has consumed a fair amount of time in the past decade. Additionally, I am married to an HR executive, and she deals with organizations who hire and manage Gen-Xers and Millennials with regularity. We have shared thoughts for years that are very neatly aggregated in this book, and I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to read it.

I chose five stars, despite the fact that so many offer that rating for all kinds of insipid things, because it so directly reflects my experience and the advice that I frequently offer young turks and new entrants into the job market. Page after page elicited laughs, reflections, and nods.

Regardless of whether you are an employer or the stated target (20-somethings breaking into business), this book will be of value. As a curmudgeonly sort who for years couldn’t figure out why young folks didn’t know these basics, it is a delight to hear someone state them so clearly and straightforwardly. I tip my hat to Mr. Murray.

One section I cannot underscore enough regards simple communication. Buy Send, regarding corporate email, read it, and inculcate its practical advice into your daily routine. Please. Also, buy Strunk & White and learn basic English; we have lost command, even at executive levels, of basic pronoun usage (for heaven’s sake, learn how to use ‘myself’ correctly and quit substituting it for your ignorance of when to use ‘me’ and ‘I’; it just makes you look like you didn’t pay attention in high school), correct use of then and than, etc. You may think to say so makes me a grammar elitist, but it honestly matters in business, regardless of whether you like it or not. Kudos to Mr. Murray for pointing this out.

It is a quick read and to the point, and I hope you will give it the time I feel it deserves. Well done.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical, Accessible, and Realistic, May 10, 2014
By 
Alan Pollard (Colorado Springs, CO United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Lots of practical advice in an entertaining and fun-to-read little book. Shared the spoken version with my 18 year-old on a long car trip and he thoroughly enjoyed it. He's even been quoting it to his Mom.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a boomer snapshot, May 4, 2014
This review is from: The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life (Hardcover)
I found this book a highly entertaining snapshot of the boomers. This advice passed on to the younger generation is really the advice we would give to ourselves if we had it all to do over again. I am sure that most of today's 20 to 30 year olds would scoff at this book and I wonder if Charles Murray doesn't know that but puts it out there as any good curmudgeon would; it is no accident that he uses a mostly 19th century word in the title of this very enjoyable read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 211 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.