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100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings: How to Get By Without Even Trying

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Funny because it's true.  From the creator of the viral sensation "10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings" (5+ million views and hundreds of thousands of shares) comes the must-have book you never knew you needed, 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings.  In it, you will learn how to appear smart in less than half the time it takes to actually learn anything.

You know those subtle tricks your co-workers are all guilty of? The constant nodding, pretend concentration, useless rhetorical questions? These tricks make them seem like they know what they’re doing when in fact they have no clue. This behavior is so ingrained, so subtle, and so often mistaken for true intelligence that identifying it, calling it out, or compiling it into an exhaustive digest has never been attempted. Until now.

Complete with illustrated tips, examples, and scenarios, 100 Tricks gives you actionable ways to use words like 'actionable', in order to sound smart. Every type of meeting is covered, from general meetings where you stopped paying attention almost immediately, to one-on-one meetings you zoned out on, to impromptu meetings you were painfully subjected to at the last minute. It’s all here.

Open this book to any page and find an easy-to-digest trick with an even easier-to-digest illustration, guiding you on: how to nail the big meeting by pacing and nodding, the most effective ways to listen to your coworkers while still completely ignoring them, and the key to making your presentations 'interactive'.

If you hadn’t noticed these behaviors before, you will see them now - from your colleagues, your managers, and soon yourself. Each trick is a mirror to the reality of what happens in meetings, told in the form of hilariously bad advice - advice that you might just want to take. But probably not. But maybe.

176 pages, Paperback

First published October 4, 2016

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About the author

Sarah Cooper

5 books240 followers
Sarah Cooper is a writer, comedian, speaker and author of the bestselling book, 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. She built her comedy career in between working as a user experience designer for companies like Yahoo! and Google, where she was fed free lunches and lots of material. She is the creator of satirical blog TheCooperReview.com, which has been viewed by millions around the world and featured in The Washington Post, Forbes, Fast Company and countless others. Sarah's next book, How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men's Feelings, comes out October 30th.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 332 reviews
Profile Image for Anusha Narasimhan.
264 reviews254 followers
May 2, 2020
This book is a sarcastic take on how people act during meetings to appear smart. There are a few people in every company who take things at face value and there are people who exploit this trait. I have seen a couple of these tips in action and while the person who is putting up the show is proud of themselves, everyone else (or at least most of us) knows that they are faking it. I think most people in a corporate environment will be able to relate to this book to an extent.

I liked this book from the very beginning. Even the opening remarks were funny and brought a smile to my face. I particularly loved the "meeting speak cheat sheet" which enlightens us on deciphering what everyone is saying during a meeting. Would highly recommend this to anyone who has had the (dis)pleasure of attending a lot of meetings.

Note: I received a free ARC from the publisher. This review is my personal opinion and has not been influenced in any way by anyone.
Profile Image for Efflorescence.
27 reviews95 followers
August 11, 2016
Thanks to Netgalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book was hilarious. Really, really funny.
I have to admit I was a bit confused with all these numbers. The title says 100 tricks to appear smart in meetings, but there were definitely more numbers in this book than 100, because many chapters were also subdivided. But in the end I just decided to trust the author and the publisher and I am sure that there are at least 100 tricks in this book, if not even more.

I don't work in an office, so I don't have to attend meetings, but a friend of mine tells (rather complains) about these meetings very often and I just realised that so many things in this book are true. But I think this also proves that this book is suitable for everyone, no matter what or where he or she is working.

I also enjoyed the little drawings. They made you feel the situation instead of just reading about it, because so many people appear to fidget, jump or move around while giving a speech.
Profile Image for Sebastian Gebski.
935 reviews808 followers
May 4, 2020
Disclaimer: this is NOT a serious self-help book, but a hilarious satire created by the professional comedian.

I took it for a spin while running, following the recommendation of a friend. And it was a spot on. The book is very amusing in a non-forceful, natural & smart way. But. At some point it gets ... scary. It happens when you realize that however funny it sounds, there are literally people doing this exact stuff & getting away with it (while appearing smart, professional, knowledgeable). I'd even risk the statement that there are big, consulting companies whose success is based 90% on techniques mentioned in this book. Scary as f*ck.

Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun reading this. At one point ("20% time policy at Google") I had to pause the whole thing (I was listening to the audiobook) and give it a mighty, loud laugh it truly deserved. Good stuff.
Profile Image for Scarlet Cameo.
602 reviews382 followers
August 3, 2016
OMG! This book is a freaking serious joke. If you ever worked in a place where you must have meetings, not just informal reunions, i mean the ones where you go to "listen" and porpouse serious things and you "must" pay attention. Well, if this is you case maybe this book can give you some tricks to look a little more important in front of your co-works or send you to the spotlight. Even more, some of the things that Cooper mentioned in fact happen at reunions, and are doing for the bosses, so you can use it in a careful way 'cause if you use it so much you can look like a freak.

The best part is the way it was wrote. So funny and easy to read that honestly at some point i just was thinking this is stupid in a really cool way, but as the pages past i was taking more seriously the things she was talking. But i can't warning enough this is not a manual use the things that can work for you and throw to the garbage the rest.

A digital copy of this book was provided by NetGalley
Profile Image for Taryn.
325 reviews294 followers
May 25, 2016
No one pays attention in meetings. So, to get ahead, you need to not pay attention better than everyone else.

If you've ever worked in a corporate environment, you'll be able to relate to this book. Cooper's observations are hilarious and spot-on! If you haven't noticed your coworker's meeting habits before, you'll definitely see their behavior in a different light by the end of the book!

Sarah Cooper is the writer behind the satirical blog The Cooper Review. I love her sense of humor! This book is an expanded version of her popular blog post 10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. Click the article link to see a sample of the illustrations and style of humor.

With this book's help, you'll be able to master meetings, networking events, and corporate retreats without having to know or say anything of relevance. It offers helpful tips in categories such as 10 Key Strategies for Appearing Smart, 21 Meaningless Diagrams You Can Draw, What to Do with Your Face, Attending Meetings in a Male-Dominated Workplace, and How to Nail the Big Pitch By Not Saying Much Of Anything.* It's a really quick and fun read. There is a tip a page and each tip is accompanied by an illustration. In addition to the 100 tips, there are also diagrams on when to deploy your new skills and a variety of funny charts.

100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings is funny from beginning to end. It would make a great gift for anyone who is exhausted by an endless schedule of meetings. The release date is October 4, 2016, so it is perfect for holiday gift-giving!

My favorite passages:
#3 "There comes a point in most meetings where everyone is chiming in, except you. This is a great point to go, "Guys, guys, guys, you can take a step back here?" Everyone will turn their heads toward you, amazed at your ability to silence the fray. Follow it up with a quick, "What problem are we really trying to solve?" and, boom! You've bought yourself another hour of looking smart."

#93 "Asking for advice makes you look smart. Completely ignoring it and leaving everyone wondering why you bothered to ask anyone's opinion in the first place makes you look like a CEO."

Read 5/25/16. I received this book for free from Andrews McMeel Publishing & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This title will be released on October 4, 2016.

*Related to nailing a pitch by not saying anything, one of my favorite skits from Better Off Ted: Jabberwocky Project
Profile Image for Garen Glazier.
Author 2 books25 followers
October 4, 2016
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sarah Cooper will take you from bored corporate cog
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to the bossest boss,
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and all it takes is putting her wickedly insightful 100 Tricks into practice.

Not sure how to make the best conference room entrance so people won't even question your commitment to the agenda? Wondering how to ace the big presentation even if all you did last week was binge watch cats on YouTube? Or curious what faces you should make during important discussions so your gravitas and enthusiasm for the data/marketing plan/strategy/donuts will be obvious? Cooper's got advice for those situations and more ways you can make meetings work for you while you do anything but work, all presented in a neat (giftable) package.

I loved this irreverent how-to book for winning the corporate meeting. Cooper strikes just the right note with witty explanations to accompany each of her 100 tricks and spot-on, cheesetastic illustrations that compliment the serious-but-not-but-totally-serious humor that makes her tips for getting ahead without making an effort so relatable.

Laugh, cry at the futility of the corporate meeting culture, and pretty soon you'll be doing that weird laughing cry thing that might be a little bit awkward on the vanpool into the office. But no matter, you're armed with a hundred ways of owning that morning meeting without any of the hassle of actually putting forth effort. So go. Don't try, look smart, and thank me later for recommending this book to you.

Gifs via GIPHY
Profile Image for Bill.
521 reviews11 followers
August 8, 2018
Funny, depressing, and infuriating at the same time. I found myself realizing how many of these techniques are used by people who drive me crazy (or, have driven me crazy throughout my career.) Then I realized that I've *done* some of these things. Then I realized that an evil part of my brain is taking notes and remembering some of these techniques. A very solid and entertaining book, but there's some filler in here and an occasionally inconsistent level of humor and bitterness.
Profile Image for Iniya.
55 reviews156 followers
September 30, 2016
Funny but true. I was laughing out loud from the start to end of the book. I wish I could give a copy this book to each one on my team.
Profile Image for Charlie.
281 reviews3 followers
October 12, 2016
It took me an embarrassingly long time to realise that this book was being more humorous than serious! It's awesome and hits a little close to home as I've done at least half the things in this book.
Profile Image for Jenn Reed.
30 reviews
January 8, 2021
I guess I am a little bit of a nerd, but I will admit that I was a little sad at first when I realised that this book was not a legit self-help book that would help me be better in meetings. But that did not stop me from enjoying this book.

This book was full of funny moments, eye-rolling moments, moments that made me stop and send pictures of pages to my friends, and more. It made me groan because I've known people to use some of these "tricks" and made me laugh for the same reason. Anyone who spends a good amount of time in meetings would potentially get a kick out of this book (unless they are the kind of person this book is laughing at, then they'd probably feel attacked or something...).
30 reviews
October 4, 2016
Sarah Cooper’s blog is the friend that gets the fact that your average workday is full of ridiculous events that are almost impossible to describe. Her new book is the friend that stops by with snacks, and sits on the couch while the two of you make fun of a DVD recording of your average workday.

I have a free pre-publication PDF copy of the book, but am buying the hardcopy just for the ability to flip through at random. Like a favorite television show in syndication, you can jump into the book at any point for a quick break. Every page has something you will recognize if you have been through any kind of meeting, and you can make a game of matching what is in the book to your actual experiences. You could make it a game with like-minded friends, with snacks, on the couch.

I do recommend reading the book in small pieces, like her blog, and the break between meetings that makes it possible to get through the day.
Profile Image for Michael Sellars.
Author 12 books42 followers
June 10, 2020
I picked this up after seeing Sarah Cooper's wonderful Trumptriloquism videos on Twitter. Unsurprisingly, this is a very funny book. But, surprisingly, it's actually quite useful too, particularly if you work in the kind of corporate environment it's dealing with. You'll almost certainly recognise some of your colleagues' behaviours, and you'll definitely come away with at least one or two things you're going to try at the next meeting. Once this Covid situation is over (if it ever is) and I attend my next meeting I will be drawing a Venn diagram highlighting "the sweet spot".
Profile Image for chantel nouseforaname.
624 reviews304 followers
January 18, 2019
The absolute dumbest thing I've ever read! LOL! Read this on the way to work this morning and was like who the fuck could get away with any of this!?!? I know! Picture: entitled, white male venture capitalists or silicon valley tech bros. I think that's who Sarah Cooper wrote this for. It's definitely not my style of humour, but you can tell that this is obviously a book just intended to make you laugh! File under: mindless, ridiculous, entitled humour.
Profile Image for Deb.
116 reviews16 followers
January 11, 2022
Obviously this isn’t a serious book, it’s a funny book. I just didn’t think it was that funny :/
Profile Image for Georgette.
171 reviews13 followers
June 19, 2016
I'm not sure if another other book made me simultaneously cry with laughter and despair. Or if any other book can be hilarious and depressing at the same time. If you've been to enough meetings, you'll recognise These People. If you don't, you're probably it.

A great use for this book is to bring it to every meeting with your and write down the name of the colleague or manager who exhibits the behavior. Or check it off when you pull that line on everyone else. Just try not to get fired.

There's even illustrations for each trick, and a handy guide to useful facial expressions and what to do with your hands during a meeting. The line art is delightful.

In all seriousness, these people exist and sometimes your best weapon is a subtle sarcasm. Buy it as a lifeline for a friend or family member who is drowning in meetings. Buy it for the manager whose life revolves around meetings or that turd-polishing colleague who not-so-casually name-drops the boss's first name like they'll be doing their nails together later.

'100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings: How to Get By Without Even Trying' will be available Oct 4. All I can say is, "Ship it!" (Trick #71)

This ARC is courtesy of NetGalley.
Profile Image for iamKovy.
281 reviews12 followers
December 29, 2018
Сказка ложь да в ней намёк.

"100 способов казаться умнее" - это список остроумных "вредных советов" на тему того как стать самой статусной обезьянкой в офисных джунглях.

Краткий, но очень интенсивный курс содержит весь необходимый минимум - как пускать пыль в глаза, как умело имитировать рабочую деятельность, как не просто избегать ответственности, но и ловко перекидывать её на менее расторопного коллегу, рисовать бесполезные диаграммы, выдерживать многозначительные паузы и, самое главное - как выживать под ковровой бомбардировкой бесконечных, переходящих друг в друга совещаний.

Самый смак - это в процессе чтения вспоминать друзей-коллег, которые используют похожие приёмчики. И себя, в том числе. Потому что тот, кто ни разу не пользовался ни одним из описанных в книге способов - скорее всего, говорит неправду.
February 10, 2019

Definitely a welcome read for anyone looking for a quick laugh about corporate America! Highly recommended, great gift for friends!
Profile Image for Sasha Boersma.
821 reviews31 followers
May 16, 2019
So funny because have seen/experienced most of these. And am intentionally guilty of a few myself 😳

Fun satirical read for those stuck in the corporate or startup world of meetings.

Author 0 books248 followers
September 17, 2019
I want to be invited to 100 meetings to try each of these tricks! I had fun reading this book and sharing the tricks with my friends.
Profile Image for Wayne McCoy.
3,830 reviews22 followers
August 24, 2017
'100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings: How to Get By Without Even Trying' by Sarah Cooper is a humorous how to guide that will probably not make you look that smart.

Corporate meetings are often the bane of corporate life. Some meetings are productive, most feel like a waste of time. Fear not, because this book will attempt to help you climb the corporate ladder through meetings with co-workers. With chapter titles like Whiteboard Tactics: 21 Meaningless Diagrams You Can Draw, and How To Make Your Meeting Seem Less Like A Meeting Even Though It's Totally A Meeting, you will likely recognize many of these odd behaviors in meetings you have attended.

It's a pretty funny book because it seems to have been written by someone who has attended a lot of meeting and observed the odd one-upmanship that takes place in them. It seems that human behavior can provide many opportunities for humor.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.
Profile Image for Yousif Al Zeera.
234 reviews79 followers
November 5, 2019
Sarah Cooper has impressed again. Following her humorous (and serious) blog, she showcases 100 (easy) tricks to appear smart. You may stand out as irritating in some of these tricks but your leadership skills will never be in doubt.

Her wit in spotting influential tricks in a humorous way is really admirable. It makes her writings have the unique characteristic of naturally uniting two opposites (seriousness and humorousness) at the same time to result in a book that is humorously serious or seriously humorous. You will laugh but it will also makes perfect sense. She "unboxes" the reality and silliness of modern-era meetings.
127 reviews1 follower
December 12, 2020
Written by the Sarah Cooper that does lip syncs of Trump’s crazy ramblings. It definitely rang true for a number of meetings I’ve been in and there were many times I laughed out loud.
Profile Image for verbava.
967 reviews94 followers
January 3, 2019
це, мабуть, сатира. щось середнє між «шкідливими порадами» для офісних працівників і чек-лістом «100 ознак того, що ваш колега – не дуже, так би мовити, хороша людина».

і воно, мабуть, добре працювало як стаття, бо на статтю тут гумору достатньо.
Profile Image for Preeti.
210 reviews156 followers
November 20, 2016
I came across Sarah Cooper at some point on Twitter from someone sharing one of her blog posts which was essentially an excerpt of some of the illustrations in this book. The book is basically a sarcastic guide to navigating meetings, which are unfortunately, as most people who've worked in office jobs know, useless.

I found it an amusing book, with a couple of good laughs, but some parts were better than others; a decent amount of material fell flat for me. I also think it would make much more sense to someone who's worked for a couple years versus someone who is new to the working world. I could imagine this book as a gift (Secret Santa, anyone?) for a coworker with whom you have a good relationship.

There are definitely some sad but true things illustrated here. For example, I know this person and I am not a fan:

Another reason why it might be as good for someone new to the working world is that they might become jaded before their time.

Note: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Yale Reardon.
11 reviews1 follower
September 12, 2019
Hilarious satire.

If you’ve worked in a start up a job with frequent meetings, you’ll laugh out loud at nearly every tip. Most of these hit very close to home.

Yale Reardon
Profile Image for Christopher Kokoski.
38 reviews4 followers
October 22, 2016
Wickedly Delightful

Let me begin by saying this is a humor book. Probably the best (and most ironic) way to enjoy it is to start an office book club. Each page is hilarious, filled with satirical advice that triggered more than one embarrassing public guffaw.

It covers everything from facial expressions, meetings, in between meetings, networking, business dinners and "advanced" meeting tactics to get promoted (or fired).

While it's a bit short and pricey for the length of content, the book delivers laughs over and over again.

Strangely, there are hidden gems in the humor that (if applied sincerely) might actually make you a better employee, manager and future CEO.

As a good college friend of mine often remarked: "There is a lot of truth in kidding."
Profile Image for Carolyn.
661 reviews
February 28, 2020
If you are like me, work meetings make you cringe. If you need an outlet for a good laugh about work meetings, this is the book for you!

Quick, sarcastic tips on each page. You find yourself realizing who pull some of these shenanigans (knowingly or unknowingly) in meetings you attend.

My boss, Matt Bilitz, is a felon of many of these!

#4 - Nod continuously while pretending to take notes
#33 - Sit next to the person leading the meeting
#39 - When someone asks a question, look at the person who you think has the answer

Perfect the 21 meaningless diagrams you can draw:
2. Draw a triangle and an arrow pointing to it. Ask 'Are we focusing on the right things?'

I was giggling the whole time. And might have a *little* more fun, now, in upcoming meetings.
Profile Image for Sleepless Dreamer.
847 reviews211 followers
September 28, 2018
I feel like past me would have been upset by how relatable this book was to me.

Honestly, this is a helpful book. Like comedy aside, some of the tips here are legitimately good. Can't believe I've never thought about seat swaps. Or just being active in the workplace.

All in all, my office time is close to ending and I can't wait. I'll probably be back but still.

what I'm taking with me
• I'm such an "email me" person.
• God, I hate when people pretend to be busy.
• Why do people put themselves through meetings?
Displaying 1 - 30 of 332 reviews

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