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How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: The Dastard's Guide to Fame and Fortune

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From applying for a job to playing company politics, this delightful, satirical guide for the ambitious and the lazy is just as relevant--and funny--today as when it was first published in the 1950s, spelling out with rich irony how anyone without skills but with a lot of nerve can rise to the top. Illustrations.


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From applying for a job to playing company politics, this delightful, satirical guide for the ambitious and the lazy is just as relevant--and funny--today as when it was first published in the 1950s, spelling out with rich irony how anyone without skills but with a lot of nerve can rise to the top. Illustrations.

30 review for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: The Dastard's Guide to Fame and Fortune

  1. 4 out of 5

    ALLEN

    This is the late-1950s parody of a self-help manual that became the hit B'way musical and movie starring Robert Morse, later revived with Matthew Broderick. It reminds me of a similar British parody-turned-movie, "Gamesmanship," better known in movie form as SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS. HOW TO SUCCEED was very New York, very Fifties, with all the casual misogyny and blinkered Gothamite point-of-view that went with it. Good fun to read, but I'm of the opinion that adding tunes and dancing did the book This is the late-1950s parody of a self-help manual that became the hit B'way musical and movie starring Robert Morse, later revived with Matthew Broderick. It reminds me of a similar British parody-turned-movie, "Gamesmanship," better known in movie form as SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS. HOW TO SUCCEED was very New York, very Fifties, with all the casual misogyny and blinkered Gothamite point-of-view that went with it. Good fun to read, but I'm of the opinion that adding tunes and dancing did the book a big favor.

  2. 4 out of 5

    shanghao

    Brit Mad Men style humour. Blatant misogyny abound, most probably a by-product of its time. The names are amusing enough and because of that Dan Radcliffe cover somehow he just kept showing up during Ponty's scenes. The Brit humour quotient increases exponentially the more one reads into this, and despite some repetitive yodelling, it's breezy and theatrical enough to entertain. According to the blurb, Stanley Bing, who gave an updated foreword, is adept at delivering good strategic advice behin Brit Mad Men style humour. Blatant misogyny abound, most probably a by-product of its time. The names are amusing enough and because of that Dan Radcliffe cover somehow he just kept showing up during Ponty's scenes. The Brit humour quotient increases exponentially the more one reads into this, and despite some repetitive yodelling, it's breezy and theatrical enough to entertain. According to the blurb, Stanley Bing, who gave an updated foreword, is adept at delivering good strategic advice behind a mask of humour; this book delivers good humour behind the mask of strategic advice.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    The book that inspired the more-popular musical, How to Succeed … is straight out of 1950s America, reminiscent of those short instructional videos with the soothing voice instructing citizens how to be civic-minded and survive nuclear holocaust. It’s amusing, if long after a while. I’m both confused and impressed that someone read this book and went: “AHA! I’ll make this into a musical!” I absolutely would have bet against this idea ever succeeding (let alone being a success almost half a centur The book that inspired the more-popular musical, How to Succeed … is straight out of 1950s America, reminiscent of those short instructional videos with the soothing voice instructing citizens how to be civic-minded and survive nuclear holocaust. It’s amusing, if long after a while. I’m both confused and impressed that someone read this book and went: “AHA! I’ll make this into a musical!” I absolutely would have bet against this idea ever succeeding (let alone being a success almost half a century later). So maybe I need to read the book again and absorb its lessons. Quasi-recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sheela Word

    "The Prince" for middle-class America and not much like the musical it inspired. I first read "How to Succeed" as a teenager and found it absolutely hilarious. It still is, but now feels a little dated, because its purported target audience is ambitious young corporate men (the women are either wives or secretaries). This is excusable -- in the 1950's, when the book was published, that's the way things were. The satire is so sweeping and on-target that it doesn't really matter anyway. "The Prince" for middle-class America and not much like the musical it inspired. I first read "How to Succeed" as a teenager and found it absolutely hilarious. It still is, but now feels a little dated, because its purported target audience is ambitious young corporate men (the women are either wives or secretaries). This is excusable -- in the 1950's, when the book was published, that's the way things were. The satire is so sweeping and on-target that it doesn't really matter anyway.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alex Nagler

    Before you jump for joy / Remember this my boy / A secretary is not / A tinker toy

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    There is a secondary story of an office romance with true love in this story, so this story makes the cut for my February reading of media that has a love theme. I found How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: The Dastard's Guide to Fame and Fortune to be hysterically funny, with a lot of reality with the office politics, personalities, and overall atmosphere, even though this has more of a mid-twentieth century setting. Some things really do not change much. I say that another couple of There is a secondary story of an office romance with true love in this story, so this story makes the cut for my February reading of media that has a love theme. I found How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: The Dastard's Guide to Fame and Fortune to be hysterically funny, with a lot of reality with the office politics, personalities, and overall atmosphere, even though this has more of a mid-twentieth century setting. Some things really do not change much. I say that another couple of titles for this story could be “How to Brown Nose” or "How to Fake Your Way to the Top.” Either way, you get the idea. The dénouement was funny, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: The Dastard's Guide to Fame and Fortune made me smile. Shepherd Mead hit the nail on the head. It was an evening well spent for me. 🎥 Movie version.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Meta Data

    Gehört in jedes Büchergestell, ein Nachschlagewerk für einsame Schreibstunden. Die Einführung durch Stanley Bing ist Co-genial, eine Erleuchtung!

  8. 5 out of 5

    David

    Humorous look at corporate life. Lots of nuggets of truth, which makes it funny. Clever illustrations. More famous as a play and film. Nice original-edition hardback with cover, thanks to serendipity.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    I saw the Broadway musical revival and the Robert Morse film of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, so I figured I might as well read the book that inspired the hit musical that won a Pulitzer Prize. It reads like a typical "how to" guide, with chapters covering topics like how to get a job, how to get a raise, etc. But it does so in a humorous manner — definitely not to be taken seriously. I laughed at a lot of the references to the advertising agency, because of my own experience I saw the Broadway musical revival and the Robert Morse film of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, so I figured I might as well read the book that inspired the hit musical that won a Pulitzer Prize. It reads like a typical "how to" guide, with chapters covering topics like how to get a job, how to get a raise, etc. But it does so in a humorous manner — definitely not to be taken seriously. I laughed at a lot of the references to the advertising agency, because of my own experience in the field. "Agencies employ people who do nothing but sit around and think up ideas." Too true. The section on interoffice memos is particularly hilarious as well because, even though Mead writes about memos in an overtly funny way, a lot of what he says is true — no one ever really reads memos! I know that when I get a memo in my mailbox at the office, I just look at the subject and who it's from, and then toss it in the recycle bin. While not an exact copy of the Broadway musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying does contain a lot of quotes and situations that are in the show/movie. The character names are the same as well (e.g., Pierrepont Finch, J.B. Biggley, Hedy LaRue). Even if you haven't seen the movie or musical inspired by this book, it's a good read if you've ever had an office job at a big corporation...or want an office job at a big corporation. Who knows? Some of the ideas in here could actually work!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michaela

    I picked up this little gem of a book, because I had the pleasure of seeing Daniel Radcliffe live in the Broadway version. Daneil did such a wonderful job, especially with comedy (getting the timing just so) that I figured I would see where the inspiration came from. I was not disappointed, many of the words in this book were recycled in the play, and I had a great time remembering each scene. This book is an easy-read and quite humorous, and yet, you realize how true some of these "how-tos" are I picked up this little gem of a book, because I had the pleasure of seeing Daniel Radcliffe live in the Broadway version. Daneil did such a wonderful job, especially with comedy (getting the timing just so) that I figured I would see where the inspiration came from. I was not disappointed, many of the words in this book were recycled in the play, and I had a great time remembering each scene. This book is an easy-read and quite humorous, and yet, you realize how true some of these "how-tos" are. It is quite satirical and hilarious, and I bet some of these will work... I bet most did anyhow :) _I realize that I'm the president of this company, the man that's responsible for everything that goes on here. So, I want to state, right now, that anything that happened is not my fault. _

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kiran

    I read the version with the introduction by Stanley Bing, who warned about the many changes that have occurred in the workplace since the book's 1958 release. I would have preferred to continue reading the introduction. How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying is short and undoubtedly humorous, but time has diluted Shepherd Mead's tips for success to only a handful that can actually be applied to the modern world. I read the version with the introduction by Stanley Bing, who warned about the many changes that have occurred in the workplace since the book's 1958 release. I would have preferred to continue reading the introduction. How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying is short and undoubtedly humorous, but time has diluted Shepherd Mead's tips for success to only a handful that can actually be applied to the modern world.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    I knew that the musical was based on a book, but I hadn't realized the book was actually the guide itself. Absolutely hilarious, and I loved seeing how they framed the musical around this, with quotes (opening lines, secretary is not a toy, etc) and creating a story from the anecdotes used to illustrate the examples. I knew that the musical was based on a book, but I hadn't realized the book was actually the guide itself. Absolutely hilarious, and I loved seeing how they framed the musical around this, with quotes (opening lines, secretary is not a toy, etc) and creating a story from the anecdotes used to illustrate the examples.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Bought this book when I went to see the musical in New York (Daniel Radcliffe signed my copy...eek!😍) But after reading it I actually found it to be kind of useful in a hilarious sort of way. Think of it like a satirical version of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People combined with the era of Mad Men. A good read for anyone who’s a fan of comedy or theater.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Page

    Okay, this book is hilarious. I haven't seen the musical or the stage production, but if it's anything like the book I can see why it's such a hit. It's all about how to get the most credit for doing the least amount of work--and wit aside, you can see the glimmer of truth behind it. Office politics, yo! Okay, this book is hilarious. I haven't seen the musical or the stage production, but if it's anything like the book I can see why it's such a hit. It's all about how to get the most credit for doing the least amount of work--and wit aside, you can see the glimmer of truth behind it. Office politics, yo!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Maddison Holland

    So funny! I've been listening to the musical - now I can't wait to watch it! A short satirical book about bypassing the normal process of success and quickly making your way to the top. Hilarious - made me laugh out loud. Especially working in an ad agency (basically) and having exposure to the scene it's making fun of. Thankfully I work in a very different environment! So funny! I've been listening to the musical - now I can't wait to watch it! A short satirical book about bypassing the normal process of success and quickly making your way to the top. Hilarious - made me laugh out loud. Especially working in an ad agency (basically) and having exposure to the scene it's making fun of. Thankfully I work in a very different environment!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ron II

    This is the definative textbook for how to finagle your way to the top of the corporate food chain. You don't need credentials, connections or anything else. Just some wits, charm and lots of strategic acting. Hey, that sounds a lot like how your boss became the boss, doesn't it? This is the definative textbook for how to finagle your way to the top of the corporate food chain. You don't need credentials, connections or anything else. Just some wits, charm and lots of strategic acting. Hey, that sounds a lot like how your boss became the boss, doesn't it?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joe Hill

    A marvelous sendup of corporate culture. In many ways the satire continues to hit home 60+ years later.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    This book is hilarious, though it may sound absurd you still could learn a thing or two.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I'm glad I finally read this, though it didn't make me want to see the play on Broadway, even though that Harry Potter kid is in it. I'm glad I finally read this, though it didn't make me want to see the play on Broadway, even though that Harry Potter kid is in it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Still pretty fresh in spite of its era...readable.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alyssamgrau

    While it is both crude and patronizing at moments, the absurdity of this book makes it absolutely hilarious. The short chapters and conversational tone make this a very quick read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Richardson

    Dry British humor, which I love. After reading I wanted to see the musical, but didn't make it to NYC in time. Dry British humor, which I love. After reading I wanted to see the musical, but didn't make it to NYC in time.

  23. 4 out of 5

    David

    I prefer the musical.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Valérie

    There is truth in laughter and in jokes.The book might be old and somewhat outdated, but the autor's sharp wit more than makes up for it. There is truth in laughter and in jokes.The book might be old and somewhat outdated, but the autor's sharp wit more than makes up for it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kim A

    I got lured in by the cover which had that harry potter kid grinning ridiculously in a suit. Interesting read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vincent Lombardo

    This book inspired the play "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying". Many lines and ideas in the book were incorporated into both the play and the 1967 film adaptation. Sometimes the book is hilarious, but mostly it is tedious. The illustrations by Claude, however, are wonderful. This book inspired the play "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying". Many lines and ideas in the book were incorporated into both the play and the 1967 film adaptation. Sometimes the book is hilarious, but mostly it is tedious. The illustrations by Claude, however, are wonderful.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    This is not the edition I read: that one I read in my teenage years. Several decades after the first edition, in other words, but long before the present day. Most people seem to compare this to dramatic (well, musical) versions, which they saw before they read the book. I think I've seen part of a staged (movie?) version, but I KNOW I read the book first. I approached this book in the period when I was reading the 'gamesmanship' books: and in the same spirit. That spirit was sort of a combination This is not the edition I read: that one I read in my teenage years. Several decades after the first edition, in other words, but long before the present day. Most people seem to compare this to dramatic (well, musical) versions, which they saw before they read the book. I think I've seen part of a staged (movie?) version, but I KNOW I read the book first. I approached this book in the period when I was reading the 'gamesmanship' books: and in the same spirit. That spirit was sort of a combination of bemusement, amusement, and transfixed horror. Indeed, I was reluctant to read the book, because it started with the assumption that I WANTED to 'succeed in business', which I most emphatically did NOT. Reading it, I concluded, as others have, that there's more truth in this book than there should be. I found it too realistic to be really funny, and it more than confirmed my strong reservations about 'business' as a way to run a railroad...or ANY social process. It's sort of a midrange amalgam between Murder Must Advertise and Dilbert. Funny...but with a bitter aftertaste.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Pretty funny. Not so useful.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Megan Brauner

    http://one-hundred-books.blogspot.com... http://one-hundred-books.blogspot.com...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

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