March 12, 2014

Charles Murray's upcoming Airport Book

For a long time, I've been pointing out that Malcolm Gladwell makes far more money lecturing at corporate events than does Charles Murray, even though Murray is enormously informed and insightful, while Gladwell is a wee bit obtuse. 

But now, via Marginal Revolution, we see that Murray has an Airport Book coming out in April:
The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life  
For those starting out in their careers—and those who wish to advance more quickly—this is a delightfully fussy guide to the hidden rules of the road in the workplace and in life.

As bestselling author and social historian Charles Murray explains, at senior levels of an organization there are curmudgeons everywhere, judging your every move. Yet it is their good opinion you need to win if you hope to get ahead.

Among the curmudgeon’s day-to-day tips for the workplace:

• Excise the word “like” from your spoken English
• Don’t suck up
• Stop “reaching out” and “sharing”
• Rid yourself of piercings, tattoos, and weird hair colors
• Make strong language count

His larger career advice includes:

• What to do if you have a bad boss
• Coming to grips with the difference between being nice and being good
• How to write when you don’t know what to say
• Being judgmental (it’s good, and you don’t have a choice anyway)
And on the great topics of life, the curmudgeon urges us to leave home no matter what, get real jobs (not internships), put ourselves in scary situations, and watch Groundhog Day repeatedly (he’ll explain).

Witty, wise, and pulling no punches, The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead is an indispensable sourcebook for living an adult life.

Has the zeitgeist shifted enough for Murray to succeed on Gladwell's turf? Murray's last book Coming Apart was treated with respect by most reviewers, while his extraordinary 2003 book "Human Accomplishment" was largely ignored as punishment for The Bell Curve in 1994, so the mental atmosphere at the top may have improved enough.

It will be interesting to see if the intellectual climate has improved (e.g., Gladwell is going out of fashion -- even President Obama bought David Epstein's book attacking Gladwellism: The Sports Gene) for Murray to cash in on the Airport Book market. 

On the other hand, Gladwell has certainly made more money relative to his talents than Murray has, so if Charles is so smart, why isn't he rich?

Obviously, I'm both interested and not disinterested: the success or failure of Murray's The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead is relevant to the reception publishers will give to my Airport Book proposal tentatively entitled The Devil Incarnate's Guide to Being Poor and Hated. (Chapter One is: "Pick on Poor Stanley Fischer ... a Lot.")
  

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is his advice for Aspies, everyone else, or both?

Anonymous said...

Be curmudgeony against pc targets.

Anonymous said...

"extraordinary 2003 book "Human Accomplishment" was largely ignored"

Boring book.
Also dishonest.

Honest title: we white folks achieved 99% of great stuff.

John Cunningham said...

yo anon 603pm, we white folks DID achieve 98% of the great stuff ever done. buy a clue, comrade.

Anonymous said...

"Stop “reaching out” and “sharing”

If you're a man, yes. If you're a woman, that would just be self-hatred. As well as totally unnecessary.

Asmodeus said...

The Devil Incarnate's Guide to Being Poor and Hated.

Damnation, I'd buy it just for the cover art!

Anonymous said...

In all honesty, the culture is changing so dramatically right now that I don't know whether someone like Charles Murray has his ear sufficiently close to the ground in order to have anything useful to say here.

Seriously - how do you counsel a USA Army physician who just came home from Afghanistan only to discover that his daughter has been making porn videos to pay her college tuition?

In trying to understand what you'll be dealing with in contemporary USA corporate/NGO/gubmint culture, I'd start by reading Cleckley, Cleckley and more Cleckley.

economicsophisms.com said...

White people are, at most, responsible for 70% of great stuff.

If you write that book Steve, we'll buy it...

SFG said...

Weeelll...thing is, Murray hasn't been very successful, due to an ethical but troublesome tendency to speak his mind. So while his tendency to tell the truth is good for us, it doesn't seem good for him, and hence, should he be writing a success book? Success usually means behaving unethically to some extent.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"Boring book."

Sadly, truth is often less diverting than lies.


Anonymous:"Also dishonest.

Honest title: we white folks achieved 99% of great stuff."

You must not have paid much attention to the book, as Murray makes it quite clear that "white folks" have not "achieved 99% of great stuff." Only certain groups of White people have demonstrated high rates of accomplishment, while other groups of White people have just been along for the ride.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Looking forward to both titles.

ATBOTL said...

Sounds like a snoozefest.

"In all honesty, the culture is changing so dramatically right now that I don't know whether someone like Charles Murray has his ear sufficiently close to the ground in order to have anything useful to say here."

If you reading Coming Apart, you know the answer is no.

Anonymous said...

The Devil Incarnate's Guide to Being Poor and Hated.

Being crippled?

San Franciscan non-monk said...

You are much loved among some of us, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Success usually means behaving unethically to some extent.

See Cleckley, as above.

And it's showing up in all of the statistics now.

No offense to Charles Murray, but dudes like him are trapped in a time capsule of the Lawrence Welk Show compared to the freaking gangsta rap culture of the modern corporation.

I'm about as cynical as they come, but even I am absolutely shocked at how quickly [what had been] our culture is collapsing like a house of cards in the wind.

Reg C├Žsar said...

I'm already impressed by the correct placement of apostrophes in the title.

When Groundhog Day came out, a professional (i.e., employed) screenwriter told me it was the best script he'd seen in many years. I want to know how Murray ties it in.

It's appropriate here for another reason: it co-starred a model and "Method" actress, Andie MacDowell, and thus hijacked the career of a younger but more accomplished actress with the same face but several times the skill, Trini Alvarado. Kind of a Gladwell-and-Murray situation.

Speaking of lookalikes, I got to see Murray speak one year on Benjamin Franklin's birthday and damn! if he didn't look the part.

Jerry said...

Please write the airport book, Mr. Sailer. My heart... skipped a beat. Until I realized you were not serious yet.

How about open a thread for readers to comment about what you should include in the airport book? Let's start with an anthology of your best things from here. California nostalgia classics... golf course architecture... invite the world. Cut the Jew stuff, though. Not that I disagree, but at least make it conspiracy-neutral. Place the blame more on us goyim for letting this happen.





Anonymous said...

Write a book. A real one. People will buy it.

Mercer said...

"his tendency to tell the truth "

In Coming Apart he puts all the blame for working class economic problems on "the sixties" and says nothing about immigration or trade.

I think Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot are more truthful.

Anonymous said...

What is exactly wrong with "Sharing" and " reaching out." I have a tendency to do both I suspect. I'm not disputing Murray at all- He's far more successful than me. Being aspy- ish I need clarification though. Guess ill have to get this book.

Also, I don't understand the difference between being " nice" and "good. "

Mr. Anon said...

".....is relevant to the reception publishers will give to my Airport Book proposal tentatively entitled The Devil Incarnate's Guide to Being Poor and Hated. (Chapter One is: "Pick on Poor Stanley Fischer ... a Lot.")"

Steve Sailer? Isn't he one of those Boys-from-Brazil Hitler clones? Obviously, his is a name that not be named.

Mr. Anon said...

"• Excise the word “like” from your spoken English"

The same should go for "basically", "utilize", "folks" (when used imperatively), and "moving forward", and (if you are Newt Gingrich) "frankly".

Anonymous said...

Let us know when TDIGBPH is available for pre-order.

Murray's book strikes me as coming out of left field. It would make sense from an old CEO or something. But career tips from Charles Murray? Why?

Bert said...

Murray has never, ever said anything bad about immigration or trade.

His books tend to be meandering garbage written by an old man with only a trivial understanding about how things work in the modern world.

Anonymous said...

Bert said...

His books tend to be meandering garbage written by an old man with only a trivial understanding about how things work in the modern world.

3/12/14, 10:52 PM

I dunno. Much as "Coming Apart" missed the goddamn point, "The Bell Curve" and "Real Education" made some great arguments. Yes, he's pretty bad on things like immigration, but topics like IQ (not to mention race and race/IQ) are so incendiary that I think he did all he could with his material. If nothing else, his perfectly reasonable (and well written) work on IQ was what made me (a left-libertarian-in-one-country type) into a race realist immigration restrictionist.

He's so good on things like IQ that people seem almost offended that he's less than brilliant on other topics. Personally, I cut him some slack. I'm also fascinated to see what he thinks about the workplace, all the more because he's not a member of the corporatist soi-disant elites. All the advice from really successful people in business seems to boild down to "be like me" and/or "do what will, completely coincidentally, benefit me and my business." A level of disinterest is needed here.

Anonymous said...

"do what will, completely coincidentally, benefit me and my business."

Again, see Cleckley, as above.

Bert said...

"He's so good on things like IQ that people seem almost offended that he's less than brilliant on other topics."

Because it's all related. You can't be "brilliant" in one area but completely foul another. You can't talk about job losses and dysfunction without mentioning immigration and outsourcing. Murray's books are misdirection of the highest caliber.

Anonymous said...

Off the top of my head this book sounds like it could be full of horrible advice.

crumudgeons and people like murray aren't in charge. the people who are in charge wouldn't know a "good vs nice" person if one smacked them in the face

the company i work for is gigantic, and very pc/woman/nonwhite influenced

here in real life, if you don't "reach out" or use duckspeak, people who matter (in the context of the org) will just think you are weird and different ie bad

Harry Baldwin said...

The same should go for "basically", "utilize", "folks" (when used imperatively), and "moving forward", and (if you are Newt Gingrich) "frankly".

I think the word Gingrich needs to eschew is
"fundamentally." Everything needs to be "fundamentally changed," etc. (Well, granted that's true.)

panjoomby said...

hope murray didn't think i was sucking up - i gave him my cv after dinner years ago. i never gave one to gladwell - so at least i have that going for me.

Anonymous said...

Reg Caesar:"It's appropriate here for another reason: it co-starred a model and "Method" actress, Andie MacDowell, and thus hijacked the career of a younger but more accomplished actress with the same face but several times the skill, Trini Alvarado. Kind of a Gladwell-and-Murray situation."

I wonder if her status as a White Hispanic hurts her? I've heard stories from friends in the business that being White and having a Spanish surname creates cognitive dissonance with casting directors in Hollywood.They see the Spanish name and expect a Mestizo, etc. For example, it's been suggested that Michelle Forbes Guajardo goes by Michelle Forbes because her Spanish last name was out of sync with her White appearance. Early in her career she would get calls for maids, etc, but the casting directors would balk at using a White actress in the part. Using her elegant, WASPy middle name as her last name avoids such confusion.No one is going to call up someone named Forbes for a maid part in Hollywood, unless the Forbes in question is Black.

Cail Corishev said...

I'm about as cynical as they come, but even I am absolutely shocked at how quickly [what had been] our culture is collapsing like a house of cards in the wind.

Yep. A few years ago, I didn't think I'd live to see the crash. Now I wonder if I'll be able to get out of the way fast enough.

Anonymous said...

Did Murray come with these rules for success in life from reading in his detached study or walking up to the Burkittsville post office?

Anonymous said...

I thought Coming Apart was pretty fine, being limited and intensive in scope. He was able to drive home the big points that many brain-dead liberals would never choose to hear if they could avoid it.

So what "point" did Murray not get?

Anonymous said...

Mercer said...

"his tendency to tell the truth "

In Coming Apart he puts all the blame for working class economic problems on "the sixties" and says nothing about immigration or trade.

I think Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot are more truthful."
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\


Murray did NOT put all the blame for white
working class problems
on the sixties. Don't misrepresent the man.

Anonymous said...

Bert said...

His books tend to be meandering garbage written by an old man with only a trivial understanding about how things work in the modern world. "
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

You are misrepresenting Murray. In the Bell Curve, pg 359-361, Murray said immigration was putting downward pressure on the distribution of intelligence.

Joseph Dooley said...

As you've noted, Steve, there's a huge market for low-brow content in high-brow affectation. Gladwell succeeds there.

We are compensated for how we meet demand in the marketplace. Gladwell may not be as wise as Murray, but his relative lack of wisdom makes him accessible to the people's broader tastes.

(By the way, Murray's book on the Apollo space program is a great read.)

no one said...

Yeah, put me on pre-order for that book of careerist pep talks from Steve Sailer

Mercer said...

"Murray did NOT put all the blame for white
working class problems on the sixties. Don't misrepresent the man."

Did you read the article you linked to? It quotes him saying:

"average male employed in a working-class occupation earned as much in 2010 as he did in 1960."

Most statistics show male wages stagnant or falling since 1973 while female wages increased.

David said...

Murray probably did some research for this book, you goofballs.

Though hopefully not of the "interviewed Jack Welch" type. That would make it a history book.

Keep in mind that the book may have a salutary prescriptive purpose as well (i.e. the way things ought to be).

Anonymous said...

Rather disappointing from Murray.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, I'm both interested and not disinterested: the success or failure of Murray's The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead is relevant to the reception publishers will give to my Airport Book proposal tentatively entitled The Devil Incarnate's Guide to Being Poor and Hated. (Chapter One is: "Pick on Poor Stanley Fischer ... a Lot.")

LMFAO! (Chapter Two: "Develop a Man Crush on Ramzan Kadyrov... Grozny Municipal Court Restraining Order Level of Man Crush.")

Anonymous said...

Re: :It will be interesting to see if the intellectual climate has improved (e.g., Gladwell is going out of fashion -- even President Obama bought David Epstein's book attacking Gladwellism: The Sports Gene) for Murray to cash in on the Airport Book market."

Obama may have bought Epstein's book, but he'll still legislate according to Gladwell.

Obama's a Gladwellian through and through...

Mr. Anon said...

"Harry Baldwin said...

I think the word Gingrich needs to eschew is "fundamentally." Everything needs to be "fundamentally changed," etc. (Well, granted that's true.)"

Frankly, I agree. Going forward, Gingrich should, basically, just not utilize the word "fundmentally". C'mon, folks, we should all advocate for that. It's a no-brainer.

(Note: that paragraph encapsulates nearly everthing I despise about modern colloquial american english.)

Cail Corishev said...

Mr. Anon, if that's colloquial English, we're better off than I thought. I thought this was colloquial English:

LOL y u mad bro :P

Anonymous said...

If she makes porn for tuition, then men watch porn for the acting. Ridiculous justification. She'd make more money as "call girl" then as whore on film and keep her privacy. Mmm, perhaps she's looking for the opposite of money or privacy. The world and this girl has whored themselves out for cheap recognition.

Mr. Anon said...

"Cail Corishev said...

Mr. Anon, if that's colloquial English, we're better off than I thought. I thought this was colloquial English:

LOL y u mad bro :P"

Point. In many parts of this country, the average social interaction looks like the first ten minutes of "2001".