One thing that always bothered me in grad school was that I rarely had time to read for pleasure. Between reading for classes, independent research, work, and keeping up with current events, who has time for a novel? Often when I did eek out a little time over vacations or in airports, I didn't want to start a book that would suck me in because I didn't know if I'd be able to finish. Now that summer is here, it's a great time for a little grad school friendly reading and Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision To Go To Grad School by Adam Ruben (PhD!) is an entertaining look at the world of higher education. Best of all, it's easy to read in small chunks so your chances of finishing it before your dissertation are good.
Ruben ostensibly writes the book for grad students of every persuasion (sciences, humanities, lawyers, med students, etc.) and there is a little something for everyone, but the real meat is for anyone pursuing a PhD. The book presents itself as a self-help book and the pages are peppered with humorous charts & graphs (a la Dimitri Martin) as well as quizzes, illustrations, flow charts, recipes, madlibs and other visual stimulation. My personal favorite was the LOLGrads. Sarcasm, self effacing and nihilistic humor are the main courses, with plenty of envy, malevolence and witty turns of phrase to round out the menu. Ruben takes issue with professors, administrators, undergrads, family members and successful friends but generally seems to have sympathy for his fellow grads (and their stupid, stupid decisions).
All of this bitterness and self loathing captures the feeling of a Piled Higher & Deeper comic but with more swearing. You could think of Ruben as the little devil sitting on your shoulder, pointing out hypocrisies and ways to get revenge for all the mundane indignities you face. His snarky commentary calls up images of Norm McDonald in "Dirty Work".
So whether you're going to the beach this summer, or just planning to sit out by the rec center pool before all the kids come back, pick up a copy of Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision To Go To Grad School and enjoy a little self pity. For some teaser videos (all pulled straight from parts of the book) check out the Amazon page.
|Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision To Go To Grad School
by Adam Ruben (PhD!)
Published by Broadway Books
This is our first article in a series of book reviews. Got a book you'd like us to review? Tell us about it.