A mixed bag of breezy, largely ingratiating counsel on matters animal, vegetable, and mineral from the best-selling author of Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive (1988--not reviewed). Mackay (the proprietor of a Minneapolis-based envelope company) comes off as a sort of thinking man's Babbit, confidently rendering short-take judgments on a wealth of socioeconomic and political subjects. For instance, the chatty, name-dropping, theme-free text offers tips on how to succeed in business as an underling, corporate officer, entrepreneur, and sales representative; it also includes obiter dicta on sizing up trade rivals, hiring good help, avoiding con artists, the inflation of executive titles, dealing with deadbeats as well as elected officials, PR practices, doing more than is required to gain a competitive edge, and allied topics. When addressing genuinely substantive issues like affirmative action or ageism, however, the author comes to annoyingly obvious conclusions--e.g., that there's still not much room for women at the top of US industry and commerce. While wandering all over the lot, moreover, Mackay (a booster at heart) takes frequent timeouts to laud friends, Minnesota, the Twin Cities, and free enterprise. Disarmingly, he does provide a number of how-not-to anecdotes drawn from personal experience. Diffuse but easy-to-take advisories and commentary, some mildly against the grain, which seem calculated to appeal to a mainstream constituency.