If there was ever a book that could make or break a career in mathematics, this is it. Without exception all mathematicians must at some time put coherent thoughts together to communicate. And the quality of that correspondence does sometimes differentiate between success and failure. We all will write at least a resume, vita and cover letter for a job application. While there do exist companies that can aid in the writing, it would be a rare one indeed that could tell you which of your math skills to put the stress on. All modern forms of communication between mathematicians is covered. From the traditional mathematical traits of writing theorems with proofs to TEX and e-mail collaboration.
From the book, it is clear that the author has a devilish sense of humor. When giving examples of proper writing, he combines the use of public names with others that are partial and creates some delightful and descriptive attributes. The sample vita is an absolute scream, although you have to be a bit older to appreciate it. Some of it is given below with reviewer comments in parentheses.
Curriculum Vitae for
Clemson Ataturk Kadiddlehopper
( The Red Skelton character that was a bum.)
Home address: 17 Poverty Row, Faculty Ghetto, Iowa 50011
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Honors: Neural Sediment Fibration Graduate Fellow. 1971-1974.
( The character was bald. )
Visiting Professor, Callipygean Institute of Tectonics, 1977.
Shinola Fellow, College of Good Hair, 1979.
Visiting Professor, Upper College of Lower Academics, 1980.
Visiting Professor, University of Basic Bourgeoisie, 1986.
Visiting Professor, Hahvahd University, 1986.
Honorary Lecturer, Crab Louie College, 1987.
Names used, created or combined come from all areas of human endeavor and history. And you have to be on your toes to catch them all. It sometimes took this reviewer more than one pass to catch the complete subtlety of the joke. Names such as Mergetroyd Mittelschlachenmeyer, Ayatollah Hohenzolern, Fig Newton, Iphiginea Mandelbrooski and Imelda Rasputin are works of a comedic expert. And, lines like,
"In order to test her creative abilities, I have given Georgina Spelvin extra work outside of class."
"Would you tenure Marilyn Chambers in your department?"
"If you are asked whether Hypatia Lee should be tenured, or promoted, or given a certain post, . . ."
are some that this reviewer would never have thought would appear in a serious work. (All are porn actresses.)
This is easily the funniest, serious book that I have ever read.