According to bestselling author and social scientist Charles Murray, vocation, family, faith, and community are the foundations of a fulfilling life. On Thursday, AEI hosted Murray for his first public lecture discussing his latest book, “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead: The Dos and Don’ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life.” AEI’s Karlyn Bowman introduced the discussion by explaining how “The Curmudgeon’s Guide” evolved out of a series of blog posts Murray wrote to give professional advice to interns and assistants at AEI.
While the first half of the book provides day-to-day advice for the workplace — for example, don’t suck up, excise the word “like” from your spoken English, and avoid getting multiple tattoos and piercings — the guide takes an increasingly serious, contemplative tone as it delves into subjects related to self-fulfillment and the pursuit of happiness.
Murray argued, for example, that young people should seek to develop resilience and put themselves outside their comfort zones, pointing to his own time spent in Thailand in his 20s as a crucial transition to adulthood. He concluded with a discussion of faith, highlighting how recent college graduates should fight the temptation of unreflective atheism and seek to take religion seriously even if they have been socialized not to.
Books will be available at this event for purchase and signing. We invite you to submit questions before the event via Twitter at #AskCurmudgeon or follow the conversation about the book with #CurmudgeonsGuide.
How can young people succeed in workplaces dominated by curmudgeons who are judging their every move? At this AEI book event, bestselling author, social scientist, and self-described curmudgeon Charles Murray will offer indispensable advice for navigating the workplace, getting ahead, and living a fulfilling life.
Among the tips outlined in Murray’s “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead: The Dos and Don’ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life” (Crown, April 2014): excise the word “like” from your spoken English, don’t suck up, get real jobs (not internships), and watch “Groundhog Day” repeatedly. For those starting out in their careers — and those who wish to advance more quickly — this event is not to be missed.
A wine and cheese reception will follow the event.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Karlyn Bowman, AEI
Charles Murray, AEI
Adjournment and Reception
Event Contact Information
For more information, please contact Caroline Kitchens at [email protected], 202.862.5820.
Media Contact Information
For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.
Karlyn Bowman compiles and analyzes American public opinion using available polling data on a variety of subjects, including the economy, taxes, the state of workers in America, environment and global warming, attitudes about homosexuality and gay marriage, the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement and free trade, the war in Iraq, and women’s attitudes. In addition, she has studied and spoken about the evolution of American politics because of key demographic and geographic changes. She has often lectured on the role of think tanks in the United States.
Charles Murray is the W.H. Brady Scholar at AEI. He first came to national attention in 1984 with the publication of “Losing Ground” (Basic Books), which has been credited as the intellectual foundation for the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. His 1994 New York Times bestseller, “The Bell Curve” (Free Press), coauthored with the late Richard J. Herrnstein, sparked heated controversy for its analysis of the role of intelligence quotient in shaping America’s class structure. Murray’s other books include “What It Means to Be a Libertarian” (Broadway Books, 1997), “Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950” (HarperCollins, 2003), “In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State” (AEI Press, 2006), “Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to Reality” (Three Rivers Press, 2008), and “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010” (Crown Forum, 2012). His most recent book, “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead: The Dos and Don’ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life” (Crown Forum, 2014), provides indispensable advice for navigating the workplace, getting ahead, and living a fulfilling life.