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FICTION/Barry, Max
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Subjects
Published
New York : Doubleday 2005.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Item Description
"A novel."
Physical Description
338 p.
ISBN
0385514395
Main Author
Max Barry (-)
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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. (Jan.) [Page 47]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Adult/High School -By turns amusing and wry, this novel is a pleasure to read. It opens with a view of a large corporation as seen by a new employee whose first day on the job is one of high suspense-one of the doughnuts for a staff meeting is missing. Moving beyond the usual cheap but funny shots taken at corporate life, Barry takes his tale to the next level. What if this giant maze for laboratory rats in which so many people work was actually just that? The characters are stereotypes but readers will sympathize with them, nonetheless.-Ted Westervelt, Library of Congress, Washington, DC [Page 191]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

On his first day of training, Stephen Jones, a young recruit, reports to the Zephyr Holding Building, where he finds a company defined by its lack of clarity, a building numbered in reverse, an invisible CEO, and a crisis over the theft of a donut, in a zany satire of corporate life. By the author of Jennifer Government. 40,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

On his first day of training, Stephen Jones, a young recruit, reports to the Zephyr Holding Building, where he finds a company defined by its lack of clarity, a building numbered in reverse, an invisible CEO, and a crisis over the theft of a donut.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

At Zephyr Holdings, no one has ever seen the CEO. The beautiful receptionist is paid twice as much as anybody else, but does no work. One of the sales reps uses relationship books as sales manuals, and another is on the warpath because somebody stole his donut.In other words, it's an ordinary big company. Or at least, that's what everyone thinks. Until fresh-faced employee Jones - too new to understand that you just don't ask some questions at Zephyr - starts investigating.Soon Jones uncovers the company's secret: the answer to everything, what Zephyr Holdings really does, and why every manager has a copy of the Omega Management System. It plunges him into a maelstrom of love, loyalty, management, and corporate immorality - and whether he can get out again, now that's a good question.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A bitingly funny take on corporate life by the author of acclaimed bestseller Jennifer Government.At Zephyr Holdings, no one has ever seen the CEO. The beautiful receptionist is paid twice as much as anybody else, but does no work. One of the sales reps uses relationship books as sales manuals, and another is on the warpath because somebody stole his donut. In other words, it’s an ordinary big company. Or at least, that’s what everyone thinks. Until fresh-faced employee Jones—too new to understand that you just don’t ask some questions at Zephyr—starts investigating.Soon Jones uncovers the company’s secret: the answer to everything, what Zephyr Holdings really does, and why every manager has a copy of the Omega Management System. It plunges him into a maelstrom of love, loyalty, management, and corporate immorality—and whether he can get out again, now that’s a good question.