Book Report: How to Live Like A Lord Without Really Trying by Shepherd Mead (1964)

Book coverThis book is the follow-up to Mead’s How to Succeed in Business Without Trying. You might have heard that title because it was turned into a Broadway show that was recently revived.

Based on that success, Mead was able to move to Europe. In this book, he talks about moving to post-war England for business and plays upon the differences between America and England. It’s much more amusing if you’re old enough to get mid-century jokes and concerns. I’m not sure you could just watch Mad Men and get it.

It’s an amusing book, but it’s from another time. Here’s a gag in the section about England’s quaint socialized medicine:

However, it is only fair to warn you that in England you will be living under socialized medicine, and every American knows how dangerous that can be.

Forty years later, every American is going to learn how dangerous that will be, and we won’t have to travel abroad to get it.

Here’s a gag that’s even funnier forty years later:

The “British language” you have been hearing on televsion in the States is not really spoken anywhere. This is a special tongue known as Mid-Atlantic, designed to “sound British” to Americans, and still be understood. The British can understand it, too. They think it is a kind of funny American, and wonder why Robin Hood should talk like a Yank.

Given Kevin Costner’s turn as Robin Hood, there are many Americans who think it’s funny that Robin Hood sounded American.

At any rate, it’s an amusing book. If you’re old enough, I suppose.

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