Ron Harper is a 33 year old executive whiz (he doesn't just think, he ""sequences rapidly"") who comes into Crawford Co. as a marketing expert with his mentor, Rhys Carter, to spruce up the sales and promotion. Crawford's president is in favor of change, but not much. Ron's problem begins when it becomes clear that there will be room at the top for him in Crawford's structure but not for Carter. Should he take the offer of Merchandising Manager if Carter is dumped? In Scannell's Calvinistic setup--where the reward is the badge of the righteous--Harper can decide in favor of his principles and the job, when Carter proves capable of holding his own. Additional information about Harper from flashbacks to his Korean experience and his present extra-marital temptations are further confirmations of his splendid character. Then there is Harper's wife, a terrific manager of their Tarrytown spread, who serves Beethoven for breakfast and does parlor psychoanalysis on the side. Characters such as these, including Harper's faithful secretary, who stays up late with a sick aunt, generally get in the way of some fairly interesting business talk.