THE S-MAN by Mark Caine
Kirkus Star


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In an age when no one knows his proper place, when in fact there are no proper places, anyone can go to the top. It says here. Devoted to the notion that the quickest way to the top is often a zigzag this macabre little manual of Machiavellian practices offers a complete dialectic of illogical imperatives and ethical irrelevancies designed for the man who is Going Ahead. The author begins by discussing the terminology of success, what the successful adolescent is like (""The Success will stay a child longer and be grown up earlier than anyone else""), and how to win the business marathon, by going part way, or better yet, by not running at all. He then deals with the relatively minor but still sticky problems of, for example, developing a servile office staff, stepping on your friends without hurting them too much, and avoiding marriage, at least until thirty, (where sex is concerned satisfaction is one thing and show is another). In a style which is epigramatic the author eventually demonstrates that the Success is the highest kind of professional, yet appears always an enthusiastic amateur, at all times sincere. ""The S-M sells himself but he parts with nothing"". Probably the most gruesome aspect of this determinedly dissolute guide- book is that it obviously works.

Pub Date: March 28th, 1961
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin