Russell Wiley works for a newspaper. Through most of the book, the entire company is sliding down into the oblivion that threatens newspapers nowadays, and doing so with a sort of satisfied sense of fatalistic doom that I found irritating.
"What's wrong with these people?" you have to wonder. They have a budget, they have heard of the internet, they seem like intelligent people, and yet they go ahead and do stupid things one after another like lemmings jumping off a cliff, shouting, "I told you so!" on the way down. Wiley's private life is a bit like that, too. And yet the characters are involving. You care what happens to this miserable group of unreasonable people.
The denoument was satisfying to me, but I have to admit that it was a bit of a rabbit out of a hat. Think of the formula romance novel where there really is nothing to keep the hero and heroine from getting together on page 3, except for the need to have 300 pages of problems first. Then the ending, where they are happy ever after, seems sudden and unrealistic. Apply that to business.
Okay, so I had some problems with the plot. Nonetheless, the characters were interesting and the novel brought up a number of philosophical points that I enjoyed thinking about. The difference between business workhorses and unicorns, why organizations fear change, and the problems people have with data and logic are all brought up and tussled with in the course of the book.
Russell Wiley is facing a crisis - at home and at work. At a time when the newspaper industry is struggling and declining, Russell is working hard to win back contracts and find ways to keep the old customers and bring in new ones. Meanwhile, his boss, Henry Moss is planning for more layoffs and is scheming to prove himself to the big players in the company without any regard to his own boss. Russell's team isn't perfect either, with one manipulative manager, one young intern whose attire … more
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This wry contemporary comedy — one part Glengarry Glen Ross and two parts Sophie Kinsella — will make readers cheer. Russell Wiley is Assistant Sales Director for one of a dying breed,The Daily Business Chroniclenewspaper. Rumor says former shopping cart magnate Larry Ghosh (pronounced “gauche”), new owner of the media company that publishes theChronicle, is going to dismantle the paper. Can Russell save his job, and the paper? Everything is against him, from the new consultant with his freshly minted MBA, suspenders, and files with neatly printed labels, to a distracting crush on a coworker (made worse by his current lack of a sex life and increasingly disinterested wife), to Cindy the office “deadweight” who manages to take credit for everything without doing any actual work. It’s time for Russell to take control. Along with the mistakes, betrayals, and inevitable sports metaphors (“swing for the fences,” “be the ball, stay in the zone”) come enough wins to outweigh the losses: proof that when the world goes mad, “the only sensible way to respond is by acting crazy.” A winner in every way.--This text refers to the manuscript reviewed as a part of the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.