In the introductory acknowledgment, Samstag, who for twenty years was the Promotion Director of Time, says that everybody he has ""ever known, dreamed about, read of, slept with, worked for...went into a great stew pan where they were mashed and merged, steamed, stirred, and simmered until ready."" Is this another way of saying pot boiled? To some extent, yes, but there's a certain amount of occupational savvy to this chronology of the rise of Richard Altman from his uncle's department store to the top at SCAN, and his assimilation into that elegant expense account world which his first marriage to Sally Goldstein obstructed. He walks out on her, and in the next ten years there are three more marriages in which illusions (he likes his gals--and he has lots of them--sexy and submissive) give way to everyday irritabilities. Then there's Janet, his ""chic shicksa,"" who's sick, too, and via her Dr. Aurenbach who explains a little about his ""deep in the gut aggression"" which keeps him running and running away.... The book is middle grade, midcult fiction. But David Ogilvy's ""The consumer is not a moron. She is your wife,"" doesn't apply here. It's more likely to be your husband.