How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying

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by Carol Leifer

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Award-winning writer, producer, and stand-up comedian Carol Leifer shares her secrets for success in this hilarious, must-listen book.


Award-winning writer, producer, and stand-up comedian Carol Leifer shares her secrets for success in this hilarious, must-listen book.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Peter Keepnews
…an unusual and endearing mix of showbiz memoir and self-help book. It's well worth reading just for the inside stories about breaking into the stand-up world and writing for Seinfeld…and Saturday Night Live…and for Leifer's seemingly counterintuitive views on being a woman in comedy…And happily, although career advice is the essence of the book, the how-to aspect is more than just the medicine that accompanies the spoonfuls of sugar. The advice is delivered with as much humor as the anecdotes.
Publishers Weekly
Veteran comedy writer Leifer (When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win) reflects on nearly 40 years working in stand-up and television and offers valuable career advice for young, aspiring readers. Many tips are specific to the entertainment industry, like "get a job, any job, on a television show you love," and show enthusiasm to those in charge; others are more widely applicable such as Leifer's advice for job interviews and list of "crimes against hirability." The author describes her short-lived job as a writer for Saturday Night Live as a missed opportunity. She uses her chilly relationship with Lorne Michaels and his tendency toward favoritism, to illustrate the importance of being a proactive employee in any circumstance. She describes pitching to Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, where she honed the ability to "mine own life" for ideas that went on to become legendary Seinfeld episodes like "The Rye." While admitting that the business can be sexist, Leifer argues that being a woman in comedy is a "tremendous advantage" and encourages women to "make other women a priority." Accompanying photographs feature Leifer with a host of comedic legends throughout her career including Paul Reiser, Johnny Carson, and Bill Cosby, as well as great candid shots of Seinfeld and David. With such a wealth of experience, readers will find a lot of wise words but for a comedic memoir it is somewhat lacking in humor. B&w photos. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“ can you not love a book that offers useful life lessons under chapter headings like 'So I Stole Soda From Aaron Spelling’?”—New York Times Book Review

“Part Lean In, part Saturday Night Live, Carol Leifer serves up some side-splitting work and life advice in How to Succeed in Business without Really Crying.”—Ladies Home Journal

“…a brisk, level-headed tome that skips self-aggrandizing and goes straight to the real-world wisdom.”— 
“In this witty, well-written book, Leifer anecdotally explores her own career in comedy while explaining the pitfalls of adulthood.”—Edge
“Who needs a life coach when you have Carol Leifer?”—

"...a smart...and entertaining memoir..."—Tampa Bay Times
"Equal parts memoir and showbiz staying power guidebook, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying highlights Leifer’s straight-forward advice, which applies to anyone in any profession who wants to maintain genuine, civil ties with his or her peers." —Florida Times-Union

“An amusing, amiable read.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A remarkable memoir that’s packed with anecdotes, advice and humor, all while maintaining a high level of dignity and self-awareness.”—Steve Martin
“The only thing more impressive than Carol’s success is how she has retained and polished all the lessons she’s learned along the way. And the fact that she has decided to throw them your way for just a few bucks is such a ridiculously good opportunity for you, I can hardly believe it! If you don’t buy this right now you’ve got to be a total schmuck.”—Jerry Seinfeld
“When I was 17, I read a profile of Carol Leifer. Since then, I wanted to be her. I still want to be her.”—Sarah Silverman
“They don’t make people funnier or more clever than Carol Leifer. She’s insightful, big-hearted, and a brilliant writer.”—J. J. Abrams
“Carol’s about to lay it all out for you, so pay attention, baby.”—Whoopi Goldberg
“The best memoir of the year (not written by the victim of a horrible crime).”—Judd Apatow
“Listen up to every word, because if Carol can’t help you, nobody can.”—Jimmy Kimmel
“Carol has seen it all and done it all—and lucky for us, she was taking notes.”—Bill Maher
“Carol Leifer is funny, really funny.”—Chris Rock
“To survive in life, you need a major trust fund and/or a sugar daddy. Carol has neither, but she’s still managed to come out way ahead. Here’s how she did it, and how you can, too.”—Joan Rivers.
“Funny and sage. A great read. I even loved the parts that weren’t about me.”—Paul Reiser
“Carol’s gift is that she sees ordinary, everyday things in a very funny way. She’s made other comics say, Why didn’t I think of that?”—Jay Leno
“I was sad when I finished this book. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t want it to end, or because I’m just sad in general.”—Larry David
“Carol is relentless, and an entrepreneur to the core. Read this book and learn! I have no doubt she will corner you if you don’t!”—Mark Cuban
“I’ve been in the comedy business for 30 years and thought I’d seen and heard it all…until I read Carol’s book! It’s witty, classy, and filled with real-life advice gleaned from her years of getting laughs and enjoying success.”—Caroline Hirsch, founder of the legendary New York comedy club Carolines

Kirkus Reviews
Career and life lessons from the would-be president of the "old girls club." After 40 years of writing, producing and performing comedy, Leifer (When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win: Reflections on Looking in the Mirror, 2009) offers advice on succeeding in both life and show business. Rather than a career guide written by a suit who connived, hurt others or gleefully conquered them, Leifer's stories of turning failures into successes demonstrate how persistence and optimism—not to mention parents who supported her decision to drop out of college and pursue a career in stand-up comedy—have created opportunities that continued to propel her forward. The author reworks such workplace aphorisms as "Learn from the masters" and "You never get a second chance to make a first impression," into "Respect Your Yodas" and "So I Stole Soda From Aaron Spelling." Throughout the book, Leifer comes across as your "Auntie Carol," the funny one who tells stories about the sweethearts and schmucks she has worked with throughout her career. She presents her early experiences in her stand-up career as a procession of cautionary tales and mortifying blunders, such as when she challenged a heckler in a dive bar to come up on stage if he thought he had better material—unaware that he was in a wheelchair. ("Not exactly the kind of 'rolling in the aisles' that a comedian dreams of.") She follows every story with its moral—a cornball technique, perhaps, but a surprisingly effective one, as is this memoir by a major Hollywood player filled with advice and heartfelt encouragement. An amusing, amiable read. Leifer wants you to love what you do and learn to move on from failures and rejections—and please, always shower before a job interview.

Product Details

Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Carol Leifer is a four-time Emmy nominee for her writing on such shows as Seinfeld, Modern Family, Saturday Night Live, The Larry Sanders Show, and seven Academy Awards telecasts. She has starred in five of her own comedy specials, which have aired on Showtime, HBO, and Comedy Central. Her previous book was the national best seller When You Lie about Your Age, the Terrorists Win.

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How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
elaineallen More than 1 year ago
How To Succeed In Business Without Really Crying by Carol Leifer should really be shelved under Career Planning. Just yesterday a customer asked me where our career books were, and before I brought her to Business, we took a detour to Biography so that I could tell her how freaking awesome this book is for the job hunter as well as the ladder climber. The story of Carol's life as a female comedian who never gave up was fascinating and inspiring, and the tales of her interactions with comedy legends were laugh out loud funny. (Excuse me, Carol, but it looks like you dropped a few names...) I read parts of it aloud incoherently to my husband, laughing so hard that all the words came out as "bleerhaHAHArghxchHAHAefh". Hilarious anecdotes aside, the thread that ran through the whole book was about how the way you treat people throughout your career will ultimately decide your success or failure in any business. That, along with hard work and determination, of course. I love the fact that she started with the basics of the interview, even specfically reminding the guys to "shower the day of the interview. Not the night before. Not a week before". She then continued through getting the job, handling rejection, keeping the job, et cetera, using stories of things that had either worked or not worked for her, depending on whether or not she had practiced what she was preaching. This was a unique way to give excellent career advice without being a dry, boring business book. This is perfect for anyone just starting out in the world of employment, those wanting to advance, or anyone who is taking a fresh look at following a dream career path on which they had given up. If you don't take away at least one career-changing tip from this book, you probably won't be hired for that dream job anyway, but at least you would have had a good chuckle in the process!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very funny book, but with very good points for people to follow in their work-a-day life. I really liked it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a humor book.