April 11, 2014

Charles Murray's advice book is out

At Amazon:
The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does it contain the word "hypergamy"?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Does it contain the word "hypergamy"?


Bought the book and searched from "hypergamy". No results.

I also bought the Audible audio edition for a few bucks more which is this book narrated by Murray.

A few of the interesting bit of advice:
-Learn to love rigor.
-If you are interested in people maybe you should get
into sales rather than a Ph.D. in psychology.
-Learn statistics and probability.
-A good marriage is the best thing that can happen to
you.
-Rereading what you have written is the best way to
unfold your insights.

A big part of the book is advice on English usage and writing.

Thankfully Murray gives book recommendations throughout. Personally I was hoping he'd have a chapter on how to succeed as a non-cognitive elite.


dearieme said...

Here's the best bit of advice I've ever dished out, if only by implication.

"It's easier to find a good job than a good woman."

David said...

I have doubts about how useful his advice is to people who are not AEI interns and the like. (NB: I haven't read the book but have seen quotations from it and paraphrases of apparently choice bits of it.)

The book seems to emphasize business success. In my experience, business success these days relies upon not only rigorously ignoring but also actively contravening some of his reported advice.

Take, for example, "learn to love rigor." Anyone who has been anywhere knows that exercising quiet rigor and conscientiousness is the surest way to get himself mobbed in the modern workplace.

Or take "don't suck up." Murray may find annoying being sucked up to by a lot of silly and relatively ignorant whippersnappers, but I assure him that the surest road to unemployment, far from being incompetence, laziness, malfeasance, or even lack of rigor, is failure to stroke the most recondite sensibilities of one's supervisors, who typically are people of double-digit IQ and invisible ethics.

If Murray worked today alongside common Americans in regular workplaces (hospitals, insurance agencies, retail outlets, and America's number one employer: Walmart), he might offer somewhat different advice on how to get ahead on the job.

He might offer the following, for example.

1. Don't be 40 or older.
2. Don't be 30 or older.
3. Fit in. Get a lobotomy and a Facebook page (the latter is especially mandatory).
4. Following on 3., get a tattoo. Everyone in management has one. Don't be a loser.
5. "Groundhog Day" is an old movie, and if you watch old movies, dude, then you're a loser.
6. Work hard (still good advice), but understand that this means living for work, for example, 60-hour weeks on swing-shift, and that's hitting the jackpot.
7. Far from moving out on one's own, go Italian or Mexican: double- or triple-up. It may depress the real-estate business, but the family - and you - will save a great deal of money. Remember capital accumulation?

Don't shoot the messenger. I only write what I see. I don't like it.

Anonymous said...

"Or take 'Don't suck up'."

Yeah. My dad, a lawyer, told me, "be obsequious." I couldn't do it, and got nowhere.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the book, but if he advises "Don't suck up", then I doubt very much that the rest of it has much value.

europeasant said...

I'll check the local library.

Anonymous said...

This book is worse than useless

This is "how to succeed in a world where people like Charles Murray are in charge"


Which is, um, not our world

pumpkinperson said...

Thankfully Murray gives book recommendations throughout. Personally I was hoping he'd have a chapter on how to succeed as a non-cognitive elite.

Move to a low IQ country.

Anonymous said...

On the second page of the book, Murray targets his reader:

- in twenties
- intelligent
- probably have a college degree
- ambitious (will be professionals)

Biggest surprise: Do one of two things to become resilient. Either join the Armed Forces for 2 years or go to a (really) foreign country to live, work, and learn the language/culture for 3 years. WOW!

Anonymous said...

Boring writing; trite advice.

Anonymous said...

"Don't suck up"=alpha

Don't be beta basically. Yeah right. You have a lot of"Don't suck up" at NAM ghettos. Most criminals are"Don't suck up" types also.

Beta obedient behavior is foundation of civilized society to obey the law, rules. Best army are also full of obedient soldiers who are willing to follow orders to death. If every body is alpha, you get anarchy.

Only you become King or CEO who might have chance to stop sucking up.

Anonymous said...

"Don't suck up" is especially bad advice to 20-something men, most of whom are beginning careers at the lower end of some hierarchy. Yeah, invent Facebook by age 20 or inherit a fortune and you should never suck up. Otherwise you will need to ocasionally suck up just as others will have to suck up to you

Jerry said...


Haven't read the book, but it seems that he is perhaps not out of touch with our sick culture, but offering a prescriptive criticism. "In a good culture, this is what you would do... not suck up. But see, we've got this corrupt culture now, so you have to suck up." In that case, he might be overestimating his audience. It might have been better to write a straight-up advice book the way an honest if cynical leftie would write it. "Don't criticize gays, Jews, blacks... or you will end up like... X, Y, Z." Plenty of examples. "Do advertise your compassion... when you can help either your cousin or the kids in Rwanda, always choose the kids in Rwanda."

mollybrazen said...

Actually I think the Cynical Leftie way would be to get others to help kids in Rwanda while you take the credit for it. Meanwhile you can quietly pass real help to your cousin who will be in a position to return the favor later.

This way is a triple win: you get an enriched familial ally and Compassion Credit for encouraging the blind belief that causes your competition to throw its resources down a black hole.