The Curmudgeon’s Guide To Getting Ahead  by Charles Murray 


It´s a slap of reality and important values especially for young people coming out of uni into their first office environment. It’s a Public House favourite and must read. Here are our favourite points that will hopefully sway you into buying the book.



‘If your prospective spouse says hurtful things heedlessly or seems to take any pleasure whatsoever in causing hurt, break it off.’  

Excise the word like from your spoken English.

‘Do you use the word like as a verbal tic? I mean like, do you insert it in, like, random points in your, like, spoken conversation? If the answer is yes, this is the single most important tip in the entire book: STOP IT.’

Impact used as verve.

‘The use of impact as a verb when you mean affect, has gotten out of hand. The correct meaning of impact as a verb is to come into forcible contact with another object. A collision is involved.’

Data mispronounced and used as a singular noun.

‘People who deal with data professionally know that the first syllable of data rhymes with “rate” not with “rat”.’

Acknowledge receipt.

‘Things get lost in cyberspace. Emails scroll off the screen and are forgotten. So if you get an email that contains an instruction or a notification, make sure you let the sender know right away that you got it. My standard response in such cases is a one/word reply, “Roger”.

The unentitled shall inherit the earth.

‘Many curmudgeons believe that a malady afflicts many of today’s twenty-somethings: their sense of entitlement. It is their impression that too many of you think doing routine office tasks is beneath you and your supervisors are insufficiently sensitive to your needs.’

‘But there’s an old saying among poker players: if you’re at a table for more than half an hour and can’t tell who the sucker is, you’re it.’



‘I want to emphasise that being judgmental is not the same as being intolerant.’  

Literally used to mean figuratively.

‘The percentage of times that literally is used correctly verges on zero.’

General consensus.

‘Redundant. Consensus means general agreement.’

Confusing farther with further.

Farther involves physical distance whereas further does not.’

Don’t wait for the muse.

‘The last of my tips about writing is simple and absolute: don’t wait until you feel like it. Find out what time of the day you write best and develop a routine that puts you in front of your keyboard and screen at whatever time it might be.’




Leave home.

‘Don’t argue that you can’t find a job that pays enough to support yourself. You can. You just can’t find a job that will support you in the style to which you have been accustomed. So accustom yourself to a new style.’

‘Many of you have parents who, for loving reasons, are willing to prolong your adolescence if you let them. Don’t let them.’

Being judgemental is good, and you don’t have a choice anyway.

‘What I’m about to say assumes that the purpose of human life is not just to pass the time between birth and death as pleasantly as possible, with as little trouble as possible. Life should consist of something more than leisure and transient pleasures. Can we agree on that?’

‘I want to emphasise that being judgmental is not the same as being intolerant.’

‘But you can’t get your desire to be tolerant get in the way of your obligation to reach moral judgments.’

‘You not only need to do it; you must. The failure to do so doesn’t define you as non-judgmental. It defines you as lazy. To refuse to think about what constitutes moral behaviour – not just for you, but for human beings as a species – is to reject one of the fundamental responsibilities of living human life.’



Take the cliches of marriage seriously.

‘Marry someone with similar tastes and preferences.’

What you see is what you get.

‘You spouse will undoubtedly change during a long marriage but not in ways you can predict or control.’

It’s absolutely crucial that you really, really, really like your spouse.

‘You hear it all the time from people who are in great marriages “I’m married to my best friend”. They are being literal’

‘If your prospective spouse says hurtful things heedlessly or seems to take any pleasure whatsoever in causing hurt, break it off.’

‘A good marriage is the best thing that can ever happen to you.’

Watch Groundhog Day repeatedly.

‘This is a profound moral fable that deals with the most fundamental issues of virtue and happiness.’

‘Try hard. Be true. Enjoy. Godspeed.’


Published in 2014 by Cox & Murray, Inc.

ISBN 978-0-804-I-4I44-4

Get it here