A delightfully original, unerringly hip, yet marvelously practical handbook for a new—and slightly cynical
You’ve landed the job. Now you want to make a good impression, express yourself, excel. Unsure of how to proceed? Aspire to a class greater than the one you were born to? Time to put aside your objections to blatant cries for help. In "How to Be Useful", Megan Hustad dismantles the myths of getting ahead and helps you navigate the choppy waters of office life. Drawing on the experiences of twenty- and thirtysomethings (herself included) as well as fictional strivers from "The House of Mirth", "The Apprentice", and everywhere in between, she shows us where things tend to go wrong in our pursuit of the great american dream. Then she culls the best advice from a century’s worth of “success literature” (the books you’d be too embarrassed to read yourself ) to show how work—and even the idea of professional climbing—can be artfully reimagined.
The result is both surprising and provocative. There’s Andrew Carnegie on why “just being yourself ” on the job is a terrible idea; Emily Post on the importance of asking questions; Napoleon Hill on why it’s okay to use people (and how to do it properly); Helen Gurley Brown on thriving in the midst of corporate dysfunction; and Stephen Covey on why you shouldn’t always stand up for yourself. Proving once and for all that working hard and being smart aren’t nearly enough to get ahead these days, Hustad provides dozens of solutions for corporate indignities that have stood the test of time. Humorous yet wise, ironic yet indispensable, "How to Be Useful" overturns everything you thought you knew about moving up in the world.
About the Author:
Megan Hustad is a former book editor who has mailed checks and fetched coffee for an eclectic group of writers and scholars, from Kent Haruf to Christopher Hitchens. A former bookstore manager, she remains addicted to midcentury mass-market paperbacks with interesting cover graphics and should soon be able to boast the country's largest private collection of bad vintage business books. In addition to diving into obscure primary sources for "'How to Be Useful"', she interviewed dozens of young workers representing a wide range of industries. "'Weirdly enough,"' says Hustad, "'the conversations with people I'd never met were often the most interesting and honest."' She's now a freelance writer in Brooklyn.