Most Likely to Succeed at Work: How to Get Ahead at Work Using Everything You Learned in High School [NOOK Book]


As Kurt Vonnegut once said, "True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."

When it comes down to it, work--with its know-it-alls, gossips, and brown-noser--is a lot like high school. This clever and useful book helps readers identify and better communicate with these and other common types we all remember from the days when report cards, not business reports, were our concern, and when ...

See more details below
Most Likely to Succeed at Work: How to Get Ahead at Work Using Everything You Learned in High School

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$7.99 price


As Kurt Vonnegut once said, "True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."

When it comes down to it, work--with its know-it-alls, gossips, and brown-noser--is a lot like high school. This clever and useful book helps readers identify and better communicate with these and other common types we all remember from the days when report cards, not business reports, were our concern, and when the big social event was the prom, not the company picnic.

You don't need to dig out your yearbook to get a glimpse of these types--just take a look around your office: the Teacher's Pet, the Player, the Cheerleader, the Go-Getter, the Underachiever, the Class Clown, and many more.

With wit and uncanny accuracy, corporate coaches Wilma Davidson and Jack Dougherty outline all the members of the "class," offering tips on working efficiently with each type, whether they’re your boss, your client, or a colleague. The book also delivers advice on handling authority, conformity, looks, popularity, "sex education," and other indignities from high school that live on in the workplace.

Whether you're still the same as you were in high school, a combination of types, or a reformed Rebel turned Class President, you will delight in and learn from this unique guide.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A useful guide."


Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429972703
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/14/2004
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • File size: 530 KB

Meet the Author

Wilma Davidson, president of Davidson & Associates, a communications consulting firm, has advised a wide range of people from Fortune 500 companies, educational groups, government agencies, and professional organizations on how to put their best foot forward—in writing and in person. She is the author of Business Writing and resides in Longboat Key, Florida.

Communications strategist Jack Dougherty is president of Dougherty Dialectic, a specialty consulting firm. He helps Fortune 500 companies and law firms communicate complex information to the public. He lives in San Francisco, California.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

The A Student

It takes twenty years to become an overnight success.—EDDIE CANTOR

Not only did A Students turn all assignments in on time, they liked doing homework. While the rest of us sighed in relief because we had actually passed the physics test with the nothing-to-be-proud-of-but-still-miraculous 75, A Students sulked having scored only a 96. Nobody asked these students to submit term papers in clear plastic folders with blue cover pages and fancy borders, but A Students always did. And the teacher affectionately affixed gold stars next to their names in the grade book.

But it is a myth that the A Student is a genius. Sure, every school had its occasional piano prodigy or MIT-bound chemistry wizard. Yet, in most cases, A Students got A’s because they simply went the extra mile. They completed all their work and the extra-credit assignments, and never complained about them or when they were due. Cramming was never their style. They were more diligent, more disciplined, and more determined. And they had a seemingly bottomless capacity to get work done, often with little instruction or oversight.

In the work world, most people who get promoted behave like A Students, even if they weren’t the first time around. The secret to their success? They surpass the boss’s expectations.

It’s not hard to picture the A Student receiving the workplace equivalent of her report card: the annual performance appraisal. The boss opens the door to an excited, if slightly nervous, employee. The A Student knows she’s completed all project assignments on time and has exceeded expectations, so she sits down, folds her hands, and waits for the accolades. And they come. A Students are lauded as role models. The boss is glowing about her “customer focus,” “results orientation,” “professionalism,” and “expertise.” A Students are a pleasure to work with and they inspire confidence in the department. The boss admits struggling to come up with any developmental advice for this employee. Perhaps, says the boss, the A Student might look for ways to strengthen memo-writing skills, which, overall, are already quite good.

Wow! What an evaluation! Most of us would do back-flips for an assessment that strong. But just a moment. Let’s check in and see how our A Student is reacting. She’s back at her desk pouring over a memo written earlier that day, looking for additional ways to revise and perfect it. And there’s one other thing you can be certain of: before the A Student leaves the office she’ll order copies of the latest books on business writing from an on-line bookseller. When they arrive, you can bet she’ll read them diligently. Because an A without the gold star just isn’t good enough. The A Student is already preparing for her next performance appraisal.

The A Student’s Communication Style

Their primary source of power is mental discipline: when around A Students, we can actually feel their seriousness of purpose. They communicate earnestness and focus. They are renowned for a strong sense of stick-to-it-ive-ness and work ethic.

A Students frequently communicate their intensity, their drive to accomplish, in their body language and their voice. They gesture frequently, their eyes focus intently, and their voice is deliberate yet energetic.

Because they listen well, A Students often ask valuable, clear, and direct questions to ensure they understand.

Although A Students are very attuned to substance, they are also in the know about style and wardrobe. They package themselves well.

The A Student’s Strengths

Preparation, preparation, preparation. They are the ones at the meeting who prepared their key points in advance, wrote a summary for the boss to offer as a leave-behind, and brought stacks of backup data to support all claims.

Ability to listen and repeat. Top students often record every word of a teacher’s lecture, then hand the material right back to the teacher a week later in a different form, whether it’s a term paper, pop quiz, or classroom discussion. Reviewing the term paper, the teacher is dazzled by the student’s brilliant analysis and penetrating insights. “The kid really gets it!” the teacher says, then smiles and scrawls A+ at the top of the report. It’s exactly the same in the workplace. A Students like pleasing authority and getting it right.

Speed. In high school, A Students’ hands were always the first in the air when the teacher asked a question. The workplace is more subtle, but A Students enjoy the same natural advantage that comes with being better prepared than their colleagues. Thus, A Students jump into conversations quickly and gracefully. They identify and seize opportunities to piggyback off other people’s comments. When others are speaking, A Students are flipping through their mind’s files, looking for a fact to connect or insert into the conversation.

Leveraging credibility and control through language. A Students use leading comments such as

—“I looked into this issue before our meeting. Let me tell you what I learned….”

—“I hope you don’t mind that I did more than you asked for. But once I dove into the assignment, I learned some things you’ll find noteworthy.”

—“I’d like to follow up on something Susan just said….”

—“I want to make sure I understand the assignment correctly. You’re asking me to…”

What Undermines the A Student’s Success

Inflexibility. A Students are notorious control freaks. They didn’t like it when the teacher put a question on the exam that was not addressed in the lecture or the readings. In high school, they could complain. In the workplace, they need to show they can improvise and go with the flow in an uncertain situation—even if it’s uncomfortable.

Inability to separate the forest from the trees. A Students often know more facts than anybody does. However, they must be careful not to get so bogged down in the facts that they forget the bigger picture—the broader ideas or themes they are discussing. They must remind themselves that spreadsheets and data, by themselves, do not add up to insight or analysis.

The know-it-all syndrome. To be credible, A Students must explain ideas and information clearly, without patronizing or overusing detail. Knowledge alone won’t move people to the top—they have to be likable as well. That takes attitude—the right attitude, that is.

Asking too many questions. While A Students may ask relevant questions to ensure that they get all the details right, others may interpret their questions differently. In highly competitive environments, questions are sometimes seen as challenges to authority. And they can make colleagues impatient.

If Your Boss or Colleague is an A Student

Match or exceed expectations. Pay careful attention to what they do and how they like things done. The best way to thrive under or with an A Student is to mirror their work ethic.

Accept the fact that A Student bosses will micromanage you. They can’t help it—it’s part of their DNA. Just do the very best work you can, smile, and say “No problem” when the boss suggests that you use ivory paper and a green binder for your report instead of the white paper and yellow binder that you’ve already printed and assembled.

Look for ways to complement their skills set. If you are a dazzling organizer of presentations, offer to help look for slides that would best accompany your boss’s or colleague’s subject matter. Soon you may find yourself an indispensable asset.

Be grateful. If your boss is an A Student, you can be pretty well assured that your department will be in ship shape and that upper management will be pleased with what they see. The better your department’s reputation, the more likely you are to be rewarded. And remember: You have a terrific example to emulate whenever you want to improve your overall work habits.

Premium Blends

The A Student–Thespian. This type can be a workplace powerhouse. Pure A Students are disciplined and conscientious, but are often so busy trying to give teachers and bosses what they want that they can forget to express themselves. The Thespian, on the other hand, is all about self-expression. The classic salesperson, this type gives you a dazzling presentation about whatever he’s selling—and can back it up with facts, figures, and statistics.

The A Student–Underachiever. This combination may seem like a contradiction, but don’t be fooled. While the Underachiever lacks the discipline of an A Student (and often a B Student, for that matter), the Underachiever has an ability to improvise and produce work that comes right from the gut, sometimes stunning a boss or teacher. (Since most of the Underachiever’s work is done at the last minute, how could he do anything but rely on gut instincts?) The A Student, on the other hand, has been thinking through the project so exhaustively that it’s possible he has thought its original spark right out of it. The point is not to start your work the night before it’s due but rather to allow yourself and your work a little spontaneity. The combination of these seemingly antithetical archetypes can produce great results.

The A Student–Cheerleader. Not all A Students have a problem working in teams, but enough of them could take a lesson or two from the optimistic and supportive Cheerleader who values collaboration and teamwork. A Students typically want to stand apart from others and, as a result, tend to be naturally competitive, while the A Student–Cheerleader blend puts individual achievement aside, celebrating departmental and company pride instead. Additionally, the A Student–Cheerleader offers kind words of encouragement, helps bring out everyone’s best work, and will never drop the ball on an assignment.

Poisonous Blend

The A Student–Prima Donna. From the moment this perfection seeker with a rock star attitude comes into your department at your very same job level, the A Student–Prima Donna behaves as if you and everyone else exist to serve and ensure the Prima Donna’s success. The only person who doesn’t seem to notice is the boss, who praises the A Student–Prima Donna’s work, somehow missing the fact that it takes a team effort to get the project finished. Grace is, unfortunately, what this blend lacks; and A Student–Prima Donnas will undoubtedly find themselves shaking their heads and wondering why nobody likes them.

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED AT WORK Copyright © 2003 by Wilma Davidson and John F. Dougherty.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)