Book Review – 27 April 2014

**Editors note: the following post has nothing to do with my travels, Ireland, or pints of sweet, sweet Guinness. If that’s what you were looking for, you are out of luck this week.

I was recently researching different interview techniques when I came across an article put together by Openview Venture Partners about the greatest interview questions of all time. Dharmesh Shah, Hubspot’s co-founder, posed a question that jumped out at me: “What book do you think everyone on the team should read?”

Almost immediately I felt a brief surge of panic when I pictured myself sitting across the room from Dharmesh as he asked the question. Would I have a good answer on the spot? How could someone who claims to be well read not immediately come up with a creative and powerful answer? After a few tense moments I decided on Daniel Pink’s To Sell Is Human, which I do recommend to everyone. Little did I know I was also in the middle of reading a new book though that would quickly become my future go to answer. Carol Leifer’s, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying. This book is so good I just finished reading it for the second time. Leifer, a long time Fitz family comic favorite, is best known for her work writing on Seinfeld, for the Academy Awards, Modern Family and her years as a stand up comic. She does a great job blending her four decades of experience in show biz into great stories that also provide lessons for anyone trying to create/make it in a new challenging career. No matter if you are a struggling actor or a recent MBA her stories resonate. Heartfelt, inspiring and hilarious, this is the type of book I aspire to write some day, unfortunately minus the stories of hobnobbing with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bill Cosby and Bryan Cranston (long live Walter White!)

I won’t spoil all her great bits (buy the book!) but here are my 9 favorite tips / tricks / quotes from Leifer’s latest work:

1) Passion is an early riser. It will be out of bed and ready to work while indifference is still trying to get its pants on.

2) Be likeable. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David used to reference “the easy hang” when recruiting staff. Be good at what you do, but you’ve got to be easy to get along with. It doesn’t matter how talented you are if your personality is a drag.

3) Don’t steal soda from Aaron Spelling.

4) Tenacity will always make you a winner. Though the odds of ending up on a private jet with Jennifer Anniston…still very small.

5) Jay Leno’s “Rule of Ten.” When you’re nice to someone, they’ll go back and tell 10 people about their experience with you. Word gets around when you’re nice. It also gets around when you’re a rude douche: that intel goes, “Rule of Ten,” too.

6) You can’t have any new old friends.

7) Control what you can, and screw what you can’t.

8) Swim, or die. Good advice for sharks, and for anyone who has to be in the water with them.

9) The fish stinks from the head down.

 

Thank you Carol, I am now far more prepared if I find myself someday in an interview with Dharmesh Shah.

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3 comments

  1. Miles! I love this review – I’m so complimented! Thank you so much for the shout-out. This is exactly the kind of response you dream of getting when you write a book. I’m so honored that it had this kind of impact on you. Best, Carol Leifer (author & Fitz Family lover)

  2. You could have included a better one than ‘Don’t steal soda from Aaron Spelling’ considering one Why? Secondly none of can anyway because he is dead!

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