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Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School
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Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  514 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
This is a book for dedicated academics who consider spending years masochistically overworked and underappreciated as a laudable goal. They lead the lives of the impoverished, grade the exams of whiny undergrads, and spend lonely nights in the library or laboratory pursuing a transcendent truth that only six or seven people will ever care about. These suffering, unshaven s ...more
ebook, 176 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Three Rivers Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Alan Chen
Mar 06, 2012 Alan Chen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technical, fun, owned
I was laughing almost literally from cover to cover. Considering that I rarely laugh or even smile, that is a monumental achievement. The author, a former PhD student, knows his stuff, knows what you're going through, and knows how to use that knowledge to make gallows humor instead of inducing (more) depression. The chuckles start from the beginning, with a 140 page book being led off by a Foreword, a Preface, a Prologue, AND an introduction.

First of all, I want to make it clear that this book,
Atila Iamarino
Nov 04, 2012 Atila Iamarino rated it really liked it
Shelves: pos-graduacao
Ri bastante sozinho, como não ria lendo um livro há tempos. Rápido de ler, e muito bem humorado. Tem ótimas sacadas sobre a pós-graduação, que descrevem muito bem o que se encontra, na linha PhD Comics. Poucas e valiosas dicas realmente relevantes para quem está na pós, mas perfeito para saber o que o aguarda.
May 09, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Some of it was not really my type of humor, maybe. A few things made me chuckle (rants about seminars and undergrads), but otherwise it seemed a little over the top. Or maybe I'm in a good program. Or maybe I just don't hate everything quite that much yet. I have no idea.
Jan 04, 2015 Ayeshah marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
يستاهل خمسة نجوم بس عشان العنوان ههههههه

The Title alone is worth the five starts lol
Jan 04, 2013 Nutkin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any university student
Recommended to Nutkin by: Holly Labadie
Shelves: own, humour, self-help
I received this book from another friend who escaped her own grad school hell and knew I could use a pick-me-up; was she ever right!

The author takes you through different points, from thinking about going to grad school, dealing with undergrads and finally trying to get out of grad school. I think he could've put more into the writing one's thesis or dissertation section since most of us have to spend so much time on it, but overall, this book was hilarious and allowed me to really laugh at all
Apr 28, 2010 Melanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-2010
Full disclosure: I know Adam. Fuller disclosure: he is the funniest person I know.

That said, this book was as funny as I expected, AND MORE. As someone who got a Master's and quickly got the eff out of grad school, I related to a lot of the commentary in the book. It made me appreciate more fully my decision to leave. ;)

If you have, at any time, been in or considered going to grad school, I highly recommend this entertaining read. It may be the most entertaining thing you read for a while!
Sarah Gutierrez
Read to be sure I was sure.
Mar 14, 2017 Sylvia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2017
I read this while I should have been doing my (never-ending) work for grad school. I'm so far behind now.


In the wise words of Gob Bluth,

"I've made a huge mistake".
Liz Gillingham
Two stars seems lame, but really, it was sort of funny, not super funny. One insight I believe I gleaned: it's possible that teaching undergrads could be worse than teaching high school. I will keep this in mind.
howl of minerva
You'll laugh, you'll cry, it won't change anything because it's much, much too late.
Nataly Dybens
Mar 11, 2017 Nataly Dybens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Luckily funny for me though there were still a few pop culture/internet references that went over my head (and many intellectual ones as well). Simple to ready; it employs some of its own advice by including pictures and adding extra bits of "advice" along the way. It keeps you in good spirits while reading ironically about the suffering of grad students (majoritively). I will say after all it's somewhat sarcastic negativity, the books ends with a seemingly authentic and helpful epilogue that ma ...more
Gargi Sharma
Jun 20, 2017 Gargi Sharma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
Absolutely hilarious! I laughed out loud so many times while reading, its pathetic.
Mar 02, 2017 Meg rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Replace "Surviving" with "Tastelessly Poking Fun At" in the title to get a better feel of this book. There were lots of jokes that made me snort involuntarily, I'll give it that. But reading this while still in graduate school just made me feel like I was being kicked while I was down. I'm annoyed that someone bought me a copy, because the publication of this book just capitalizes on the depressing situations that people find themselves in while struggling to complete advanced degrees. I'm sure ...more
Tony Perez
What this book is: Moderately funny humor relatable only to those who are in or have been to grad school. Although, to be fair, one chapter is dedicated to people in law school, med school, and MBA programs.

What this book is not: Any kind of useful guide, reference, or advice for anyone pursuing any kind of post-bachelor's education.

I didn't find most of the humor all that funny; it did, however, manage to make me feel very depressed about my decision to go to grad school. Awesome. Read only if
Greta Stuhlsatz
May 11, 2015 Greta Stuhlsatz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hands down do not recommend. Stick to PhD comics, they have the same amount of humor with a lot more wit and knowledge.
Adam Ruben came to talk at our university and he was pretty funny, he hit the nail on the head with quite a few things about graduate school. As part of his routine he told us about an Amazon review of his book in which someone called him a pervert. That aspect of his personality didn't come across in his presentation but after reading comment after comment after comment in the
Jan 11, 2012 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most humor books are lost on me, especially those written by stand-up comedians who think that their delivered lines will work just as well in the written medium without any translation. Not so with this book. Although I've already finished grad school, and it was only a part-time program at that, I could totally appreciate the rigors the author describes. His sarcastic, dry, and pessimistic world view was perfectly in line with the trials of higher education. How can you not appreciate a book t ...more
Geoffrey Benn
Aug 31, 2014 Geoffrey Benn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School,” by stand-up comedian and molecular biology Ph.D. Adam Ruben is a delightful send-up of the grad school experience. While some of the material will be familiar territory for readers of PhD Comics (i.e. tips for scoring free food), much of book covers fresh ground, using text, diagrams, and often hilarious fact boxes (did you know you can tell the number of years a person has been in grad school by counting the rings under their eyes?) ...more
Jul 06, 2011 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Graduate school would seem exactly like purgatory if it weren’t so much like hell”. Adam Ruben satirizes the process of earning the highest degree in the land with biting wit and laugh out-loud one liners. Obviously funnier to those of us who have actually gone through graduate school, or at least knows someone who did, this concise book nails every negative element right on the head. In the process of making us laugh at what we do to ourselves, Ruben exposes some of the real problems with the ...more
Sreemoyee Acharya
As an eternally suffering graduate student since God knows when, I could totally relate to this book. As awe inspiring as academia appears from a distance, the reality is far from the truth. I adore humor, and this book manages to make one laugh through the pains that we grad students go through. Highly recommended for anyone who is thinking of entering this world as well as parents who keep asking --" when is your PhD getting over?"
May 12, 2011 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Upon winning this book from Goodreads, I expected a book about college secrets or something to that degree to help me prepare for the daunting time I'll have to attend college myself. Boy, was I wrong! Surviving You Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School is actually really funny. Thanks to this book, I got a few laughs along with a few tricks to pull in case I'm ever stumped on a difficult AP question. Thanks for the book, Goodreads!
Mechele Williams
Oct 11, 2011 Mechele Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help, donated
A very humorous take on what to expect in grad school. While laughing I actually found the book to be helpful because it opened my eyes to things I was completely unaware of like the thesis ordeal. After reading this book I still want to attend grad school, but at least now I kinda know more about what to expect.
Apr 07, 2011 Meaghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do I describe this hilarious book? GENIUS. And very, very true. Thank you, Adam Ruben, for humourizing what is actually a bit pathetic - our lives as grad students. For all of you in grad school, read this book. I promise, you'll laugh. Hell, do what I did and read it out loud with a fellow grad student or cohort. It gets even better with alcohol.
Mar 13, 2014 Essi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dark, dark humour, yet it indeed WAS humour, concerning most of the things you end up experiencing or thinking about in grad school. And I only started last year! :D I loved to read this book and to laugh aloud while reading. Maybe I'll have another perspective on things for a while again. Best 'self-help' I've read in a long while.
Andre O. bueno
Nov 27, 2013 Andre O. bueno rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an amazing book! Super funny and correct at the same time :) He exaggerates in his examples, but he doesn't make them up, they are all true :)

I really enjoyed reading this book.

Ah, and yes, I did this "Stupid, stupid decision to go to Grad School", but I like it very much :) It's not so bad as he tells in the book ^^
Jun 21, 2013 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
Being a grad school survivor myself, I loved the first quarter or so, it made me laugh out loud several times, but unfortunately the book doesn't quite have enough going for it to keep you laughing till the end - this despite being very short (I finished the ebook in about 1.5 hours). It's a good enough laugh for anyone who has an advanced degree, but it could have been a lot better.
Apr 04, 2011 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving this book 5 stars because the author is a friend. Otherwise I would be hard pressed to know how to rate it.

Here's an analogy: The Simpsons is funny right? Now what if it was a documentary, would you still think it was funny? I doubt it. It would just be sad and depressing. Anyway, that's this book.
Giulia Lynch
Didn't give me much advice until the end really: "Take Control." But this book had me laughing, which I really needed as I start my journey back. Maybe one day, as I'm further into my graduate school experience, I will pick up this book again and see how accurate it was. I did appreciate the map of the school and the descriptions to go along with it. Hilarious!!
Sep 04, 2013 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish this book hadn't reminded me of my anxiety issues with grad school.

Leaving that aside, it gave some pretty good advice and managed to make grad school sound humorous (and desperate). Obviously, what's within won't be applicable to everyone. Still, I think some experiences are sadly universal.
May 30, 2014 Manuel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the most hilarious book I've ever read! I'm not yet a grad student, but this book served as a slap in the face (a funny slap, though) to make me aware of the potential difficulties that await me as I pursue my MA. Wonderfully illustrated (who likes books without illustrations?), witty, and very deep and thought-provoking (nah, not really). I would recommend it to all recent graduates!
Samantha Trieu
Mar 30, 2015 Samantha Trieu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: College Students
This is more of a book of humor than anything else. Overall, it was refreshing and a humorous read. If you're a graduate school or thinking of becoming one, this book won't actually help you but I still recommend reading it.
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