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Company (Book)

Max Barry Gives His Best "Dilbert-like" Impression of Office Life

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A Real-life Dilbert! Fun to Read!

  • Dec 18, 2009
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As I started reading this book I kept feeling that it was a long string of Dilbert-like situations. My copy came with the donut on the cover and the donut is very prevelent throughout the story as a whole fiasco is created at the beginning of the book when Roger (one of the Sales people) complains about a missing donut. This leads to an employee firing and the dismissal of the food services department. The donut may also symbolize the company as a whole. The more I read the book I kept thinking of Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil, where Robert DeNiro is kind of running things in the background or the Wizard of Oz where the wizard is just a plain man who hides behind a curtain.

The main protaginist is known mostly as Jones (his first name is Steven). Jones has a habit of asking a lot of questions even though all the employees tell him not to question anything. Little by little Jones gets to the bottom of what the company (Zepher) is really about. He has to decide if he wants to upset the balance or go along while being mesmerized by the mysterious "Eve."

This was a fun book on corporate philosophy and the treatment of the workers as individuals.

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I first got on this blog to discuss my first passion which is books. Since I have gotten on I find that books are only a piece of this blog and I can discuss just about anything that comes to mind. It … more
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With broad strokes, Barry once again satirizes corporate America in his third caustic novel (after Jennifer Government). This time, he takes aim at the perennial corporate crime of turning people into cogs in a machine. Recent b-school grad Stephen Jones, a fresh-faced new hire at a Seattle-based holding company called Zephyr, jumps on the fast track to success when he's immediately promoted from sales assistant to sales rep in Zephyr's training sales department. "Don't try to understand the company. Just go with it," a colleague advises when Jones is flummoxed to learn his team sells training packages to other internal Zephyr departments. But unlike his co-workers, he won't accept ignorance of his employer's business, and his unusual display of initiative catapults him into the ranks of senior management, where he discovers the "customer-free" company's true, sinister raison d'être. The ultracynical management team co-opts Jones with a six-figure salary and blackmail threats, but it's not long before he throws a wrench into the works. As bitter as break-room coffee, the novel eviscerates demeaning modern management techniques that treat workers as "headcounts." Though Barry's primary target is corporate dehumanization, he's at his funniest lampooning the suits that tread the stage, consumed by the sound and fury of office politics that signify nothing. (
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