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CONSULTING DEMONS by Lewis Pinault

CONSULTING DEMONS

Inside the Unscrupulous World of Global Corporate Consulting

By Lewis Pinault

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-06-661997-1

An unconvincingly moralizing tale of Pinault’s 12-year career in the global-consulting industry that aims, none too successfully, to be the Liars— Poker of its ilk. Motivated by a desire to attain the good life—a goal that tantalized him while he spent three years working and living in relative penury in Tokyo—Pinault, who had dreamed of doing work related to outer space or the oceans, took his first consulting job in 1987 when he realized the opportunities (and pay) in these areas were too sparse. Thus he embarked on a career that toured some of the major players in consulting—the Boston Consulting Group, the MAC Group, Cap Gemini Sogeti, United Research, and Arthur D. Little—and involved him in some of the industry’s most interesting and questionable work. Not surprisingly, most of that work involved providing clients with solutions that were either right under their noses or the most profitable solutions for the consultants—preferably both. In addition, Pinault worked on industrial-espionage projects, including one for a Japanese diaper- tape manufacturer in which he actually managed to produce a super-secret material sample for his client. Following the consulting trend of the 1990s, Pinault also implemented “change management,” a kind of EST for corporations in which industry gurus freely used fear in the name of competitiveness. Throughout it all, he maintains here, he never really wanted to be a consultant and just did it for the money (how much money, he never says). Pinault seems genuinely distressed at the methods of some of his employers, but in the end, he is unable, or unwilling, to use his experiences to discuss any morals about greed (including his own) and corporate culture. Lacking the honesty and wit of his model, Pinault comes across as all dressed up with no one to bully, confound, or deceive.