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

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  110 ratings  ·  15 reviews
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.
Paperback, 156 pages
Published November 9th 1994 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1952)
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May 31, 2011 Kat rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the musical
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
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
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 ...more
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.
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.
Grant Turck
The book that inspired the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, which just began previews on Broadway in a fantastic new production starring Daniel Radcliffe, is a hilarious read! Guised as a self-help book with practical advice for anyone looking to quickly climb the corporate ladder, Shepherd Mead's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is a must read for company men, company women, and fans of the hit Broadway musical alike.
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 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.
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?
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.
Kim A
I got lured in by the cover which had that harry potter kid grinning ridiculously in a suit.
Interesting read.
Alex Nagler
Before you jump for joy / Remember this my boy / A secretary is not / A tinker toy
Still pretty fresh in spite of its era...readable.
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Shepherd Mead was one of those men dogged by success. After graduating from Washington University he went to New York to practice being an intellectual and ended up as a junior executive and then a vice-president of Benton & Bowles. His biting attacks against society only gained him greater fame and success, and he finally resigned and fled to Europe with his wife and three children in 1957. H ...more
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