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For many years, television comedy was an exclusive all boys’ club—until a brilliant comedian named Carol Leifer came along, blazing a trail for funny women everywhere. From Late Night with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live to Seinfeld, The Ellen Show, and Modern Family, Carol has written for and/or performed on some of the best TV comedies of all time.   This hilario For many years, television comedy was an exclusive all boys’ club—until a brilliant comedian named Carol Leifer came along, blazing a trail for funny women everywhere. From Late Night with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live to Seinfeld, The Ellen Show, and Modern Family, Carol has written for and/or performed on some of the best TV comedies of all time.   This hilarious collection of essays charts her extraordinary three-decade journey through show business, illuminating her many triumphs and some missteps along the way—and offering valuable lessons for women and men in any profession. Part memoir, part guide to life, and all incredibly funny, How to Succeed in Business without Really Crying offers tips and tricks for getting ahead, finding your way, and opening locked doors—even if you have to use a sledgehammer.


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For many years, television comedy was an exclusive all boys’ club—until a brilliant comedian named Carol Leifer came along, blazing a trail for funny women everywhere. From Late Night with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live to Seinfeld, The Ellen Show, and Modern Family, Carol has written for and/or performed on some of the best TV comedies of all time.   This hilario For many years, television comedy was an exclusive all boys’ club—until a brilliant comedian named Carol Leifer came along, blazing a trail for funny women everywhere. From Late Night with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live to Seinfeld, The Ellen Show, and Modern Family, Carol has written for and/or performed on some of the best TV comedies of all time.   This hilarious collection of essays charts her extraordinary three-decade journey through show business, illuminating her many triumphs and some missteps along the way—and offering valuable lessons for women and men in any profession. Part memoir, part guide to life, and all incredibly funny, How to Succeed in Business without Really Crying offers tips and tricks for getting ahead, finding your way, and opening locked doors—even if you have to use a sledgehammer.

30 review for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Guys, I'm so bummed. :( This was possibly the most excited I've ever been about a Goodreads win, but Carol, you broke my heart! The subtitle about this book should honestly be "Lessons for Life in a Cubicle." Instead of being the great comedy-world memoir that every single publishing industry newsletter I'd read had promoted it to be, it ended up being a rehash of all the handouts the career center my college used to give out during interview workshops. Yes, she mixed in some anecdotes, and they Guys, I'm so bummed. :( This was possibly the most excited I've ever been about a Goodreads win, but Carol, you broke my heart! The subtitle about this book should honestly be "Lessons for Life in a Cubicle." Instead of being the great comedy-world memoir that every single publishing industry newsletter I'd read had promoted it to be, it ended up being a rehash of all the handouts the career center my college used to give out during interview workshops. Yes, she mixed in some anecdotes, and they were enjoyable enough (not "hilarious," however; the blurb lies), but this was simply not what it was billed as. You go in expecting her to focus on breaking down the boys' club and instead you get advice on what to wear. What to wear! I am a comedy writing nerd to the extreme. I might be one of the only twentysomethings who saw the name "Carol Leifer" floating around and 1) knew who that was and 2) bounced a little with excitement knowing she had a book coming out. I think I've read just about every oral history that's out there, watched every doc, listed to the commentary on way too many DVDs to recall, and so forth, and this book just kicked me square in the ovaries. It actually felt patronizing -- you're talking about being the first woman, this really great feminist act, and then you remind me to be a lady and get a manicure. I mean...what the hell, Carol. So maybe this was my fault for expecting a different book. Maybe it's the fault of every newsletter put out for months by her own publisher and all the industry pubs I follow. Maybe it's the fault of Tina Fey for shooting the bar into the sky on a rocket that no woman writing about the boys' club is going to reach for a really long time. Who knows. I just know that I closed it feeling deflated. But she did inadvertently remind me to send a thank-you note to someone, so that was cool.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emily Dill

    This review originally appeared on She's Got the Book: I was recently sent a review copy of Carol Leifer’s "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Crying: Lessons From a Life in Comedy" by Quirk Books. As is protocol with all review copies, I wasn’t asked to write anything positive or to speak about certain things or to lie in any way – just give my unbiased opinion, which is exactly what I do in every single review. :) Carol Leifer is a comedienne who has starred in her own televised comedy sp This review originally appeared on She's Got the Book: I was recently sent a review copy of Carol Leifer’s "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Crying: Lessons From a Life in Comedy" by Quirk Books. As is protocol with all review copies, I wasn’t asked to write anything positive or to speak about certain things or to lie in any way – just give my unbiased opinion, which is exactly what I do in every single review. :) Carol Leifer is a comedienne who has starred in her own televised comedy specials and received multiple Emmy nominations for her writing. She has written for “Modern Family”, “Seinfeld”, “SNL”, “The Larry Sanders Show”, and seven Academy Awards shows. The book is a collection of the author’s essays, basically describing to the reader how she got to where she is, what her early life in stand-up comedy was like, and things she wishes she had known back when. I wasn’t familiar with Leifer’s work as a comedienne, and apparently only unknowingly familiar with her as a writer – she has written for “Modern Family”, which I really enjoy. Seinfeld fanatics would probably really love this book – she talks about the writers and episodes often, and Jerry Seinfeld plays a large role in her flashbacks and stories. Stand-up comedians – or people wanting to become such someday – would probably also enjoy this book, because she talks a lot about gigs, venues, tips and tricks, and important players. To be honest, I’ve never had any interest in watching Seinfeld (I’ve seen maybe 3 or 4 episodes, accidentally even), and I’ve always kind of hated stand-up comedy. For one thing, I don’t find most of it to be funny at all, and I’m one of those people who feels very intense secondhand embarrassment for people, so comedy shows, talent shows, dating shows…stuff like that is pretty painful to me. The book was a very quick read – it’s broken up into a format with fairly short chapters and lots of pictures. Leifer’s writing is also easy to follow, and seems to border on the verge of being funny. I was expecting the writing to be hilarious though – either through expectations of my own or based on the MILLION celeb blurbs on the book’s front and back cover, along with the inside leaf in the front of the book, which basically made her sound like the second coming of Lucille Ball. So yeah, it’s hard to live up to the hype. Don’t get me wrong – this lady may be absolutely hilarious in person and I don’t doubt that a lot of her humor is in her delivery, but her writing just didn’t seem to express it very well. I didn’t laugh out loud once, as opposed to Mindy Kaling’s book, for example, which kept me chuckling through most of the read. The author did lose me at one point, in a very unnecessary section about weight and eating. Why she had to even talk about fitness or food in a book about comedy, writing, and work ethic is beyond me, but just like everything that Hollywood has a hand in, looks eventually become an issue. Anyway, in chapter seven, she goes off about how at one point in the 80′s, she “let herself go” reaching 159 lbs. (Oh, the horror.) She even says, “Oh, the relief of not hitting one-six-o on that scale!” She then refers to her 159 lbs. as “tonnage” and “lumbering around” at that weight, and goes out of her way to stress how much more conscious she is now and says, “Personally, I am a fanatic about staying trim”. That’s great, Carol, it is, but is this book about that? Because I thought it was about writing and being funny and breaking down barriers for women in comedy, not falling back into the “you have to look good” default mode for women in showbiz. I also cannot figure out why she had to bring a number into the book and put it on blast, making any woman reading her book who weighs in the 150s or above feel huge and embarrassed. I’m going to go on and say that I’ve known plenty of women in my life at that weight or above, and they don’t “lumber” anywhere, and are some of the prettiest people I’ve ever met. Leifer seems happiest when she’s reminiscing about her earliest days in comedy, climbing the ranks with people like Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, and so on. There is a ton of name-dropping in this book, and I’m proud of myself for recognizing most of the names – I don’t doubt for a second, though, that today’s generation would be lucky to know who 3 or 4 of the people she mentioned even are. Which leads to my main point about this book and the possible reason why I didn’t connect with it: I do think that there is a target audience for this book; I just don’t think I’m in it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nemo

    5 Inspirational Stars This book is one that I just want to send to everybody. It is full of useful tips and advice that anyone can use, whether or not you want to be a comedian or an actor. One of the things I loved about it was that Carol didn't sound bitter or jaded in her writing instead she sounded hilarious and friendly. This is a short review because it's the first time I review a Non-fiction humor book, but I look forward to reading and reviewing more because I had so much fun reading thi 5 Inspirational Stars This book is one that I just want to send to everybody. It is full of useful tips and advice that anyone can use, whether or not you want to be a comedian or an actor. One of the things I loved about it was that Carol didn't sound bitter or jaded in her writing instead she sounded hilarious and friendly. This is a short review because it's the first time I review a Non-fiction humor book, but I look forward to reading and reviewing more because I had so much fun reading this! It was also a short book, which was great because it didn't leave any boring chapters. Carol Leifer is before my time so I had to Google some things she mentions (okay a lot) , but I'm a huge Seinfeld fan, and it was great to hear about how they wrote scripts for the show and how they were pitched ( Who didn't love The Lip Reader episode!). I feel so much closer to the show knowing the Behind-the-scenes. It was also full of pictures which are a blast from the past, and I spent the whole time going “Awe They Look So Young!” I could sing praises for this book all day long. I have so much love for this book and everyone should read it, because it's advice is just top notch and its full of laughs I received a copy from Quirk Books for an honest review

  4. 5 out of 5

    Biblio Files (takingadayoff)

    Carol Leifer has been working in comedy for over thirty years, doing standup, writing for sitcoms such as Seinfeld, and occasionally writing jokes for the Academy Award shows. She's never quite broken through to the level of Roseanne or Seinfeld, and so she also does corporate gigs, giving motivational talks and such. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying is not the wisecracking memoir I was expecting -- instead, Leifer has written a book of advice for the aspiring young person who wa Carol Leifer has been working in comedy for over thirty years, doing standup, writing for sitcoms such as Seinfeld, and occasionally writing jokes for the Academy Award shows. She's never quite broken through to the level of Roseanne or Seinfeld, and so she also does corporate gigs, giving motivational talks and such. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying is not the wisecracking memoir I was expecting -- instead, Leifer has written a book of advice for the aspiring young person who wants to get into comedy or show business or any job at all. It's a short book that reminds job seekers to dress appropriately for an interview, be polite, get a manicure, ask questions, and write thank you notes. Fortunately Leifer also included a lot of examples of how she has succeeded and not succeeded and how she has handled setbacks. This involves plenty of namedropping and funny stories, which serves to keep the attention of those of us who are not looking for a job. It seems that Leifer has worked with just about everyone at some point in her career, including Frank Sinatra and Oprah. It's a short book (250 small format pages) with lots of photos. Leifer is relentlessly upbeat, toward the end I was starting to feel as if she was not only trying to motivate the reader, but herself as well. A quick read for those looking for employment advice, an even quicker read for the rest of us.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway. In the late 1980's, I watched an HBO young comedians special hosted by Rodney Dangerfield. He introduced some up and coming stand up comedians, including Robert Schimmel, Andrew Dice Clay, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Hicks, and Carol Leifer. It was an excellent show, well worth catching on Youtube. So I'm familiar with Carol Leifer and her stand up act of nearly 30 years ago. I also knew that she acted in at least one episode of Seinfeld and had written som I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway. In the late 1980's, I watched an HBO young comedians special hosted by Rodney Dangerfield. He introduced some up and coming stand up comedians, including Robert Schimmel, Andrew Dice Clay, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Hicks, and Carol Leifer. It was an excellent show, well worth catching on Youtube. So I'm familiar with Carol Leifer and her stand up act of nearly 30 years ago. I also knew that she acted in at least one episode of Seinfeld and had written some episodes. That is why I was so excited about winning this book. This book isn't really a humor book, per se, but a "how to succeed" book, along the lines of Zig Ziglar or Tony Robbins. She has some good jokes in it, but most of her recommendations to succeed are more common sense than anything earth shattering. Like, "be nice". Or, "don't burn your bridges". Or "you won't get it if you never ask". She tells her success aphorism, and then gives an experience where she did it and worked out for her. This isn't a bad book, it's just not what I expected. There are books that I've read that give better tips on how to succeed. Her stories are amusing for the most part, and well written, but I think this book, on the whole, is innocuous and not a "must read".

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    I thought that this book was fairly engaging and liked the occasional jokes thrown in until I got to the unrepentant fat-shaming in Chapter 8. Leifer pays lip service to weight problems caused by health issues but then affirms that on first impressions, she feels that heavier people must be lazy. They must not take care of themselves. In the context of doing well in job interview, she is essentially saying that she writes off people who weigh more when they interview with her. Will they care abo I thought that this book was fairly engaging and liked the occasional jokes thrown in until I got to the unrepentant fat-shaming in Chapter 8. Leifer pays lip service to weight problems caused by health issues but then affirms that on first impressions, she feels that heavier people must be lazy. They must not take care of themselves. In the context of doing well in job interview, she is essentially saying that she writes off people who weigh more when they interview with her. Will they care about their job when they don't care enough to keep themselves in shape? She actually says this - about women who weigh 159 pounds or more. Seriously!?! Research finds that obese men and women have a harder time in interviews for this reason, and I was horrified to see belief in this stereotype so unapologetically written about by someone who is actually interviewing people. The only reason I would return to this book is to pull out this excerpt when writing about stereotypes people face on the job market.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine Reid

    I had heard about this book from Marc Maron's WTF Podcast, and so I assumed this book would be a great read. Not so much. It's not that the book was terrible, there was actually some very useful advice and great stories. But the biggest offender was ironically enough, her sense of humour. Dear god it became exhausting sensing those punch lines up over the mountain like grey stormy clouds, and just knowing and sensing that a terrible joke was on the way. I feel bad saying that, as she does appear to I had heard about this book from Marc Maron's WTF Podcast, and so I assumed this book would be a great read. Not so much. It's not that the book was terrible, there was actually some very useful advice and great stories. But the biggest offender was ironically enough, her sense of humour. Dear god it became exhausting sensing those punch lines up over the mountain like grey stormy clouds, and just knowing and sensing that a terrible joke was on the way. I feel bad saying that, as she does appear to be a lovely, successful woman and does have wisdom to pass on. But I found it hard to believe this woman is a comedian. Still overlooking the jokes so bad they could be cancerous, it was actually worthwhile and entertaining.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Gans

    This book was surprisingly bad. Judging from her famous friends' glowing reviews on the cover, I expected a funny memoir about making money in the business of comedy. Instead, this very quick read (about 180 pages in about an hour) started off with about 65 pages of common sense doled out in hushed tones as if they were pearls of wisdom. Some of her amazing advice: Take a shower before you go to an interview. Read through your emails before you send them. Be nice. Do what you love. My favorite o This book was surprisingly bad. Judging from her famous friends' glowing reviews on the cover, I expected a funny memoir about making money in the business of comedy. Instead, this very quick read (about 180 pages in about an hour) started off with about 65 pages of common sense doled out in hushed tones as if they were pearls of wisdom. Some of her amazing advice: Take a shower before you go to an interview. Read through your emails before you send them. Be nice. Do what you love. My favorite one was: Sexism exists, but just ignore it. (!!!!) Oh my. Oh, I think I'll ignore that last one. Carol's condescending tone left much to be desired (some of us readers are over the age of 45) and we learn almost nothing about her that her resume wouldn't provide, other than the fact that she seemed to start comedy at the right time at the right place. At one point, she mentions that she's surprised when she speaks at comedy schools and hears that people take classes a fifth and sixth time. She reminds me of the old surfers on the beach that tell you they've *never* taken a lesson, they just did it. Yes. Some people can do that. Others need a little help. I have to disagree with her beauty advice. There are many funny, successful people who happen to weigh more than 160 pounds or have less than perfect nails. In any case, she doesn't come off well in this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    I wish the publicists didn't insist on labeling this book a "hilarious" collection of essays. Is it hilarious? No, not at all, but I don't think that is what Carol Leifer was going for, either. This is a very interesting, very solid book that is one part memoir, and one part straight-up self-help, career/inspirational advice. I didn't take the title literally, I thought it was just a pun. (Carol Leifer is an old school-Catskills-Soupy Sales type, she likes yuks, likes puns.) (She also likes pare I wish the publicists didn't insist on labeling this book a "hilarious" collection of essays. Is it hilarious? No, not at all, but I don't think that is what Carol Leifer was going for, either. This is a very interesting, very solid book that is one part memoir, and one part straight-up self-help, career/inspirational advice. I didn't take the title literally, I thought it was just a pun. (Carol Leifer is an old school-Catskills-Soupy Sales type, she likes yuks, likes puns.) (She also likes parenthetical remarks, there are many of those.) But take the title literally--the book is filled with advice for anyone hoping to succeed in life, but especially in the comedy/entertainment biz. It didn't make me scream with laughter, but it did interest me all the way through, and is a breezy, short read. It would make a nice graduation gift (with a check!) (there are those parentheses again!) for a high school or college grad this spring. You may have to explain to the young uns who the heck she is, though. Tell them she writes for Modern Family! (They may not be as impressed as we 50-somethings to hear that she was a mainstay writer on Seinfeld, or is friends with Letterman and Leno.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Abc

    I won this book in a giveaway. Thank you.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Arlene

    I'm bummed that I didn't like this more. My favorite part of the whole book is the title. I'm bummed that I didn't like this more. My favorite part of the whole book is the title.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Funny biographical info, but not much business info. It was what I expected, but she tried to make it more an educational primer tied to her life than it really was. There are just not that many parallels between her life and a life in the business world. It is enjoyable if you read it as a humorous account of her life.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Winter Arcane

    While not being much of a television watcher, especially of sitcoms, I find the behind the scenes world of show biz to be interesting. Carol Leifer shares with the reader (or listener, as was the case with me) her journey and it is a tale worth hearing. Interwoven with her experiences are sound advice, much of which can be applied to anyone's life, not just to someone pursuing a career in comedy. It's worth checking out if this sounds like something up your alley. The only reason I don't give thi While not being much of a television watcher, especially of sitcoms, I find the behind the scenes world of show biz to be interesting. Carol Leifer shares with the reader (or listener, as was the case with me) her journey and it is a tale worth hearing. Interwoven with her experiences are sound advice, much of which can be applied to anyone's life, not just to someone pursuing a career in comedy. It's worth checking out if this sounds like something up your alley. The only reason I don't give this a stronger recommendation is that Carol's attempts at humor often fell flat for me. As I said, I'm not generally a fan of sitcoms largely because the jokes often feels unnatural and edgeless, and that's kind of the problem here. While I did have a few laugh out loud moments with this book, and the overall product was entertaining in its general flow, it definitely feels like it was written by a sitcom writer. Which, it was, so maybe I'm being too hard on it. However, speaking for myself, I found most of the jokes to be of the kind that would remind me why I don't really watch sitcoms and thus while I definitely liked the book I can't say I liked it a lot.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I tried to like this book more, I really did. it was ok overall, some jokes are amusing but a chunk have fallen flat. I'm most likely from a different demographic than this is aimed at so I'm missing some things and some statements come off as off putting, not offensive but leave me with a bad taste/ feeling. I'm sure the book would be a lot more interesting if I knew who the author was before I got the book. I didn't know most of the people mentioned and have not watched even one episode of Sein I tried to like this book more, I really did. it was ok overall, some jokes are amusing but a chunk have fallen flat. I'm most likely from a different demographic than this is aimed at so I'm missing some things and some statements come off as off putting, not offensive but leave me with a bad taste/ feeling. I'm sure the book would be a lot more interesting if I knew who the author was before I got the book. I didn't know most of the people mentioned and have not watched even one episode of Seinfeld. So yea, wrong audience for this. Needless to say, I don't watch much TV. Anything related to knowing specifically a show or a person, tended to fly right past me. The advice in the book is something you can find anywhere but framed with anecdotes from the author's life. Not bad in general, there are some that rubbed me the wrong way but that's possibly because, again, I'm not the target demographic, even in the work field. Received in Goodreads Giveaway.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I think like many here I was expecting a more in-depth memoir about Leifer's career. I've seen Leifer do stand up and I've enjoyed the Seinfeld episodes that bear her fingerprints, and you do get a few anecdotes about working with Jerry and Larry, etc. This book, and it's a short one, reads more like a inspirational guide to professional success, and after finishing it I can boil it down to one sentence: "Don't be an asshole." Simple as that. Leifer credits her success partly to being a nice, gra I think like many here I was expecting a more in-depth memoir about Leifer's career. I've seen Leifer do stand up and I've enjoyed the Seinfeld episodes that bear her fingerprints, and you do get a few anecdotes about working with Jerry and Larry, etc. This book, and it's a short one, reads more like a inspirational guide to professional success, and after finishing it I can boil it down to one sentence: "Don't be an asshole." Simple as that. Leifer credits her success partly to being a nice, gracious person to people with long memories. It's nice to be important, but important to be nice, as I heard once on a sitcom, and while I appreciate Leifer's advice I really wish there had been more about the comedy business. If you like Leifer's work, you will probably like her book. If you're looking for Seinfeld insider stuff, you'll get a bit but not as much as in My Seinfeld Year.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leonel

    A memoir about a comedienne who wrote for "Seinfeld" and is said to be the inspiration for Julia Louis Dreyfus' character Elaine on that show? Check. Snazzy pop-art-ish cover and a title inspired by a Broadway musical? Okay, sign me up. But Carol Leifer's "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Crying" is a dud. I thought I would get insights on how she wrote for the shows (including "Modern Family" ) but we only get glimpses of those. We get a glance of how Lorne Michaels works in SNL, but t A memoir about a comedienne who wrote for "Seinfeld" and is said to be the inspiration for Julia Louis Dreyfus' character Elaine on that show? Check. Snazzy pop-art-ish cover and a title inspired by a Broadway musical? Okay, sign me up. But Carol Leifer's "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Crying" is a dud. I thought I would get insights on how she wrote for the shows (including "Modern Family" ) but we only get glimpses of those. We get a glance of how Lorne Michaels works in SNL, but that's about it. Except for a fawning description of Jerry Seinfeld, we get nothing. What we do get is sort of an advise book on how to make it in show business. Um, nto what they promised in this book. Maybe it's just appropriate - a book about the "show about nothing" also ends up empty. http://luhathoughts.blogspot.com/2015...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stacie

    I remember Carol Leifer; I didn’t realize the extent of her success. From her stand up appearances on late night TV to writing for Saturday Night Live and Seinfeld, Leifer has had a long running, solid career in show business- as a comedienne no less. Not an easy feat in Hollywood. In this book she imparts the wisdom she gained through the experiences she’s had in a funny, self-deprecating and easy to read guide book of common sense. A lot of this book reiterates things my mom always told me and I remember Carol Leifer; I didn’t realize the extent of her success. From her stand up appearances on late night TV to writing for Saturday Night Live and Seinfeld, Leifer has had a long running, solid career in show business- as a comedienne no less. Not an easy feat in Hollywood. In this book she imparts the wisdom she gained through the experiences she’s had in a funny, self-deprecating and easy to read guide book of common sense. A lot of this book reiterates things my mom always told me and/or Ive learned along the way. Having met many people whose Moms obviously didn’t share concepts like, manners, diplomacy, work ethic and a positive attitude, I can say this book is a must read for some. For others it will be an enjoyable trip down memory lane.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Blythe

    Carol Leifer has had an interesting carrier as a comedian and writer on such shows as Seinfeld and Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, this book was just okay for me. It was filled with a lot of generalizations and one line zingers (some cute, some funny, some kinda stupid). I like her attitude in general, but the book seems to be confused as to whether it wants to be a an advice book or a memoir. The result is that the advice bits is very beginner level, like a blog, and the memoir bits lacked Carol Leifer has had an interesting carrier as a comedian and writer on such shows as Seinfeld and Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, this book was just okay for me. It was filled with a lot of generalizations and one line zingers (some cute, some funny, some kinda stupid). I like her attitude in general, but the book seems to be confused as to whether it wants to be a an advice book or a memoir. The result is that the advice bits is very beginner level, like a blog, and the memoir bits lacked the in depth connection to draw the reader fully in. I kind a wish she has stuck to the memoir format because I would have loved to learn more about her life as a comedian and how she pulled through the challenges she faced. Oh, well. Not for me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Celeste

    I received a copy of this book through Quirk Books. I must admit that I did not really know who Carol Leifer was until I go the book. But even though I didn't know who she was I enjoyed her book. She tells her story of how she started out as a comic and all the things she did and people she met to get her to the success that she is today. Her book was filled with many great tips that can be used in any profession. Also she made me laugh several times. I loved the pictures of herself with celebri I received a copy of this book through Quirk Books. I must admit that I did not really know who Carol Leifer was until I go the book. But even though I didn't know who she was I enjoyed her book. She tells her story of how she started out as a comic and all the things she did and people she met to get her to the success that she is today. Her book was filled with many great tips that can be used in any profession. Also she made me laugh several times. I loved the pictures of herself with celebrities throughout her career. Overall a fast read and enjoyable.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    A little too much memoir to be a career advice book, and a too much career advice to be a memoir of a life in the TV business. Most of her advice falls under the category of "work hard and be nice to people and you can be successful like me!", which is nice, but not terribly helpful. She also assumes you have a passion, you know what it is, and want to spend your life working on that thing. It's a fast read, and she did some interesting things that I enjoyed reading about (writing for Seinfeld, A little too much memoir to be a career advice book, and a too much career advice to be a memoir of a life in the TV business. Most of her advice falls under the category of "work hard and be nice to people and you can be successful like me!", which is nice, but not terribly helpful. She also assumes you have a passion, you know what it is, and want to spend your life working on that thing. It's a fast read, and she did some interesting things that I enjoyed reading about (writing for Seinfeld, among others), but overall I wasn't terribly impressed.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    Television comedy writing was an all boy club until Carol Leifer. She's best noted for writing for Seinfeld. What I liked most about this book was how Carol tells her story pointing out successes as well as failures and missteps along the way and she tells her story with some humor and humility. She comes across as a strong yet vulnerable woman and let's us know that's okay. Good book. Television comedy writing was an all boy club until Carol Leifer. She's best noted for writing for Seinfeld. What I liked most about this book was how Carol tells her story pointing out successes as well as failures and missteps along the way and she tells her story with some humor and humility. She comes across as a strong yet vulnerable woman and let's us know that's okay. Good book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christa

    How to Succeed provides a refreshing and unique perspective on career advice. I particularly enjoyed the glimpses into the world of comedy writing and performing, and how it all fit into Leifer's advice. Even though my chosen field is pretty distant from the upbeat world of comedy, I still found some valuable insight from what she had to share. Plus, the book is just plain fun to read. I'll certainly be on the lookout for that friend who can offer me private jet rides in the future. How to Succeed provides a refreshing and unique perspective on career advice. I particularly enjoyed the glimpses into the world of comedy writing and performing, and how it all fit into Leifer's advice. Even though my chosen field is pretty distant from the upbeat world of comedy, I still found some valuable insight from what she had to share. Plus, the book is just plain fun to read. I'll certainly be on the lookout for that friend who can offer me private jet rides in the future.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Judy Owens

    If you mom was not a Jewish American comedian and you need insightful, but faintly carping, career advice, heavily peppered with namedropping, this is your book. In spite of the sound advice, and some very funny moments of career flubs, I wonder why someone as successful and well-educated as this woman didn't hire an editor. Some chapters are little more than elaborate strings of cliches. If you mom was not a Jewish American comedian and you need insightful, but faintly carping, career advice, heavily peppered with namedropping, this is your book. In spite of the sound advice, and some very funny moments of career flubs, I wonder why someone as successful and well-educated as this woman didn't hire an editor. Some chapters are little more than elaborate strings of cliches.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Liz De Coster

    Grabbed an advanced copy on a whim from a Random House/Quick event at ALA MW 14, and enjoyed it more than I expected to. Most of Leifer's advice can be found in other books, but she's very funny and dry, and clearly knows from what she speaks. Grabbed an advanced copy on a whim from a Random House/Quick event at ALA MW 14, and enjoyed it more than I expected to. Most of Leifer's advice can be found in other books, but she's very funny and dry, and clearly knows from what she speaks.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I received an ARC of this book for free through BookLikes' Giveaways. I loved this book because in addition to being a memoir, it also gave advice. I'm a college student and the advice she gave will be incredibly valuable to me when it's time to get a real job. I received an ARC of this book for free through BookLikes' Giveaways. I loved this book because in addition to being a memoir, it also gave advice. I'm a college student and the advice she gave will be incredibly valuable to me when it's time to get a real job.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

    Loved, loved this book. So much truth told in a funny, easy way.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    Best book by a lesbian comedian I've read all year! Best book by a lesbian comedian I've read all year!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Che

    She knows comedy. She tries to apply the business of comedy to every industry. It does not work.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark Oppenlander

    Carol Leifer is a stand-up comic and a writer who has worked on "Seinfeld" and "Saturday Night Live" among others. She has also appeared on many late night TV shows (including 25 appearances on David Letterman) and written for the Academy Awards for most of the last 20 years. Needless to say, she is one of the funniest people writing in television. This book chronicles her career in show business, including early stand-up appearances, odd jobs (e.g. working for a private eye) and the opportunitie Carol Leifer is a stand-up comic and a writer who has worked on "Seinfeld" and "Saturday Night Live" among others. She has also appeared on many late night TV shows (including 25 appearances on David Letterman) and written for the Academy Awards for most of the last 20 years. Needless to say, she is one of the funniest people writing in television. This book chronicles her career in show business, including early stand-up appearances, odd jobs (e.g. working for a private eye) and the opportunities that finally launched her into the upper echelons of Hollywood comedic writers (being close, personal friends with people like Paul Reiser or Jerry Seinfeld didn't hurt). As she tells her story, Leifer tries to offer some advice to others who might be interested in following a similar path. And of course, she can't help but inject some humor into the tale as well. So the whole thing winds up reading like a strange stew of memoir, self-help, career advice, and humor. It doesn't always work smoothly, but it's generally an entertaining ride. Most people will find the stories of her Hollywood connections most interesting. She name drops nearly every major comedian of the past 30 years at some point, which would be quite annoying if it weren't for the fact that she seems so normal about it. Some of the A-listers she references were clearly just her friends, the folks with whom she came up through the comedy ranks. And with other celebrities she's clearly geeking out as much as any of the rest of us would be; her story of opening for Frank Sinatra is pure gold. These stories can grow monotonous without any deeper meaning however, which brings us to the self-help aspect of the book. Leifer draws lessons from the various incidents in her life and offers her wisdom, guru-like, to those who might try to climb the mountain behind her. And because she is not afraid to talk about the times where she made mistakes, she comes across as a trustworthy and authentic climbing guide. Her lessons are generally generic, but that doesn't mean they're bad. Basically, Liefer recommends being yourself, working hard, not burning bridges, being willing to take a few risks, being patient and being kind to others. Most of that would be sound advice in any career endeavor, not just comedy or television. The humor in the book was hit or miss for me. Like many stand-ups, Leifer indulges in self-deprecating humor, some of which is amusing; it's good to be able to laugh at one's own foibles. She doesn't usually indulge in mean or cruel comedy, although she does call out some other folks character flaws from time to time. Her observational humor is fine, but mostly evoked smiles for me, not outright belly laughs. All in all, this book is a mixed bag. It was a little like watching a sitcom based on someone's life. Some episodes will engage you, while others might leave you cold. But the overall impression here is one of warmth, humor, grit and gratitude.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I found out about comedian Carol Leifer when she was a guest on the Rosie O'Donnell show (which I used to watch everyday after school.) I like comedians who don't need to curse during every joke in order to be funny. I also recently listened to her interview on The Nerdist podcast hosted by Chris Hardwick, and it motivated me to try her book. This memoir was okay. I liked her stories about Paul Reiser and Jerry Seinfeld. And Joan Rivers. And Frank Sinatra! There was a lot of name-dropping in thi I found out about comedian Carol Leifer when she was a guest on the Rosie O'Donnell show (which I used to watch everyday after school.) I like comedians who don't need to curse during every joke in order to be funny. I also recently listened to her interview on The Nerdist podcast hosted by Chris Hardwick, and it motivated me to try her book. This memoir was okay. I liked her stories about Paul Reiser and Jerry Seinfeld. And Joan Rivers. And Frank Sinatra! There was a lot of name-dropping in this book but it didn't feel intentional. I liked that she wrote honestly about the "valleys" in showbiz: her invisible time at Saturday Night Live, or when she opened for The Beach Boys and nobody cared - not even The Beach Boys! I liked that she shared her embarrassing moments too, for example, when she ran into Harry Dean Stanton and he had no idea who she was despite having dinner together a few weeks before. And all of the photos were great! But the tone of the book was forced. Carol inserted a lot of asides to the reader using brackets (which were meant to be humorous) (but there were a lot of them) (and it quickly became annoying.) She narrates the audiobook and if I had listened to it instead, I would have enjoyed this reading experience a lot more.

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