Advice From Grandpa // The Curmudgeon's Guide by Charles Murray

Mr. Murry is the man who wrote The Bell Curve, a somewhat controversial study on IQ. Reading the mans book, The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead feels a bit like getting advice from your Grandfather. Not the crazy Grandfather that says the aliens are coming, but the one that talks about how he got screwed over on his pension and is trying to stop the same thing from happening to you. Forget the fact that no one gets a pension anymore.

Some of his advice is more true than we’d like to admit, others are so far removed from culture they’ll be utterly irrelevant by the next generation. These are the few bits of wisdom that were most useful to me.

  • Show up.
  • Leave home.
  • Think of your twenties as a time to do the things you can’t do when you have a wife and kids.

Advice for the Upper & Middle-Class

It’s odd that transitioning between economic classes is so rarely talked about. You’d think that because there are far more people that experience the transition from lower middle class to upper middle class than there are transgenders that move from male to female or Rachel Mendozas that transition from white to black, this would be a more relevant topic.

Murrys advice, get out of your class bubble.

If your an upper-class kid, try getting a real job.
If your a middle-class kid, try getting an internship.

Don’t be like The Babyboomers

Bashing the baby boomers is a tradition among millennials, but Murry gives us a look from inside the 60s. He trolls the baby boomers for their narcissism and consistent juvenile behavior. He blames them for the culture shift away from addressing people by last names to first names, since the baby boomers refuse to do anything that makes them feel like adults.

Try being raised by them Murry. There is nothing like being told how easy it is to get a job or pay for college by someone who paid $500 for a semester and hasn’t applied for a job in 30 years.

Communication in a Multigenerational Office

Chapters include:

  1. On the proper use of strong language
  2. On piercings, tattoos, and hair of a color not known to nature.
  3. Negotiating the minefield of contemporary dress.
  4. Office emails are not texts to friends.
Charles Murray

Don’t be an entitled tweety-something year old. Look at where entitlement got the baby boomers.

Words Matter

The most powerful theme throughout is his stress on learning to think and speak with precision. Knowing what you want to say, and knowing how to express exactly that.

  • Don’t say less if the correct word is fewer.
  • Don’t say continuous when you mean continual.
  • Don’t confuse nice with good.

Recognize that words have distinct meanings and the meaning matter.

  • The difference between, “my pleasure” and “no problem” is perceived in the millipeeves it takes to unpack the subtle disregard in insinuating there was a problem.
  • The difference between good and wonderful is felt in the microcentury of impact you leave with the next person who asks, how are you?