This free-lance writer sallied forth on a formidable quest: ""to lift the curtain of semisecrecy surrounding the management consulting trade and give the curious businessman a peek inside."" Armed with a dogged determination, he tracked down what leaks have occurred, extracted guarded generalities from the bigwig consultants, gleaned more revealing insights from lesser firms, anonymous insiders, and customers both satisfied and dissatisfied, utilized available survey materials, and scrutinized ACME, the association of consulting bluebloods. Though Higdon couldn't dig to expose depths, he's scooped up information on: hierarchies among and within the firms, with a closer examination of the mammoths; good and bad motives for consultation; high and higher fee scales; sterling successes and notorious gaffes; the process of executive recruiting; and the rewards and rigors of a consultant's life. The ""healers"" complain that they can't broadcast successes while failures draw loud squawks, the expertise they acquire with one company can't be put to further use with rival firms, and they're helpless to prevent misuse or nonuse of their findings. ""Patients"" are afraid of fakers, resent outside experts, distrust ""bright young men,"" and find the price tags forbidding. But the consulting business is solidly entrenched and steadily thriving. A desirable product for people in the line.