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100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings: How to Get By Without Even Trying Paperback – October 4, 2016
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"Cleverly written and illustrated, 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings is sly satire that will bring endless joy to anyone who has ever endured the drudgery of corporate life."
―Dan Lyons, writer for HBO's Silicon Valley and New York Times-bestselling author of Disrupted
"A hilarious, enlightening read for anyone who's ever been stuck in a conference room. With delightful snark and sarcasm, Sarah cleverly skewers our coworkers for ridiculous behaviors that we would never, ever do. It's funny because it's true."
―Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times-bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take
"I laughed so hard I had to leave the meeting I was in."
―Jake Knapp, New York Times-bestselling author of Sprint
"Sarah Cooper is uncannily spot on when describing the seemingly innocent behaviors of people attempting to impress others. It'll make you literally LOL."
―Christine Tsai, Founding Partner, 500 Startups
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Is it really satire, or is it a thoughtful analysis of what's wrong with corporate America? Both! Have I done some of these things? I'm afraid so. Have any of these things advanced my career? Emphatically, no. Why do I tolerate it when others use these tricks in meetings I'm in? Because I just don't care anymore.
I suggest you buy a copy for every member of your team, ask them to memorize it, and call out numbers whenever someone uses one of the tricks. Eventually people simply announce the trick number instead of going through the pain of actually executing a trick.
Sort of like this famous parable: (see below as the review system doesn't allow links)
Maybe, just maybe, if we follow Sarah's lead, we can make corporate America great again.
A man is sent to prison for the first time. At night, the lights in the cell block are turned off, and his cellmate goes over to the bars and yells, "Number twelve!" The whole cell block breaks out laughing. A few minutes later, somebody else in the cell block yells, "Number four!" Again, the whole cell bloock breaks out laughing.
The new guy asks his cellmate what's going on. "Well," says the older prisoner, "we've all been in this here prison for so long, we all know the same jokes. So we just yell out the number instead of saying the whole joke."
So the new guy walks up to the bars and yells, "Number six!" There was dead silence in the cell block. He asks the older prisoner, "What's wrong? Why didn't I get any laughs?"
"Well," said the older man, "sometimes it's not the joke, but how you tell it."
Cooper also illustrates really well, with a cartoon on almost every page. My favorite is the What To Do With Your Face section, where she shows the impact and importance of numerous facial expressions employed at meetings (See below). Her economy of line alone is worth the price of admission. Hirschfeld would not disapprove.
Cooper belabors the obvious to great effect (“Like most women, I’m not a man”), and her sarcasm could get anyone fired. It all makes for a delightful, effortless read that should replace the dreary One Minute Manager on every desk.
You don't understand, but I'll try to explain. I have cried, multiple times, reading the same damn page. I literally laugh so hard and long that tears run down my face. This is extremely problematic, because I read it the first time at my desk at work. Cooper's writing cuts me to the quick - she's captured my experience working in software and opened my eyes to the extended f&*#ery of the rest of the corporate world.
Here's the intensely subversive aspect of her book that blows my mind - I now intentionally use some of these tips in meetings, and swear to god I seem smarter. That makes up for the snorting bursts of laughter that I experience now that I see bosses and coworkers unintentionally acting out her finest work.
Even though the implication is you should avoid the behaviors she enumerates, you can make use of some of these techniques yourself if you can't think of anything substantive to contribute to a meeting.
I have to say this is one of my favorite books--and I read a lot of books so that's saying a lot.
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Cringing at what was just said.
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