Staff Reviews

Curmudgeons in Charge

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Charles Murray, author of Losing Ground and The Bell Curve, has published a saucy, skinny little book, The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead (Random House). The book began as a popular lecture/harangue that Murray traditionally delivered to interns at the American Enterprise Institute, where he is a scholar.

Curmudgeons, he writes, are "highly successful people of both genders who are inwardly grumpy about many aspects of contemporary culture, make quick and pitiless judgements about your behavior in the workplace, and don't hesitate to act on those judgements in deciding who gets promoted and who gets fired."

While the subject matter is light and somewhat predictable – Murray is not a fan of unusual piercings and suggests that you use profanity sparingly-the underlying philosophy is heavier stuff worthy of consideration: "We can refuse to voice our judgements," he writes, "but we cannot keep from having them unless we refuse to think about what is before our eyes." –Katherine Mangu-Ward