UPWARD NOBILITY: How to Succeed in Business Without Losing Your Soul by Owen Edwards
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UPWARD NOBILITY: How to Succeed in Business Without Losing Your Soul

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Twenty-five hilarious but sage essays (based on Edwards's ""Office Politics"" column in GQ), laying out an ethical ""battle plan"" to both ascend and transcend today's glazed corporate pyramid. In this razor-sharp satire of contemporary American business--where executives wield cellular phones (""that Excalibur of overweening ambition"") but not one of them is responsible for the savings-and-loan disaster--Edwards offers sound, workable advice for handling meetings, memos, perks, rumors, even the trauma of getting fired (today less a ""brutal shock"" than a ""lethal injection""). He also identifies the familiar cast of irritants--the infighters, the boss's wife, the ""Pot/Executive VP,"" and the ""toadies"" (like Polonius, who, Edwards contends, would today ""have ended up with a comer office and seven figures instead of a rapier through the gullet""). Forget the ""Take No Prisoners Memo"" (""better shred than dead""), and beware expense accounts (Mephistopheles's ""favorite route into the workplace"") as well as ""Sex Officio,"" for which the author offers nine ""cautions."" Even post Clarence Thomas hearings, Edwards's humor lets him get away with pride at possessing the ""secretarial equivalent of an Alpha-Romeo"" and other retrogressive lapses. (""I, for one,"" he writes, ""would be deeply disappointed to see unchecked passion at the copy machine, or to stumble upon Farrah D., executive VP, casting a sexually harassing glance at Scott B., her hard-working secretary."") Finally, what Edwards demands is accountability, ambition, and excellence. ""Unless we can turn jobs back into callings,"" he writes, ""whether or not those jobs entail collecting garbage, running a nuclear power facility, producing television or transplanting kidneys, the next century is going to be a fine mess."" Read this for solace and strategy--particularly if you've been handed a life sentence in corporate America. Keep it in your desk, consider sending it anonymously to your boss or George Bush. Tell the back-stabbing drones who ask that it's an essential weapon for recouping our losses to the Japanese--because it is.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1992
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Crown