Rules and tools for the business road, sold amusingly but on a depressing foundation of inanity, by novelist (You Look Nice Today, p. 869, etc.) and CBS executive Bing, a.k.a. Gil Schwartz in his everyday corporate pajamas.
This collection of pieces, originally published in Fortune and Esquire, graze wittily upon the workplace’s human dimensions, with all their annoying, grand, and bizarre displays. Bing is the kind of guy it would be fun to run into at the water fountain, always ready with a barbed insight. About toadyism: “After laughing at four or five unfunny jokes, you do feel kind of alienated from yourself. . . . But yearly raises and promotions compensate for the existential problem.” On bullshit: “When people want bullshit, give it to them. . . . Conversely, even the highest quality bullshit won't do when the real goods are called for.” Analysts are whores, consultants are after your job, wine aids the bonhomie factor, but don’t take bonhomie too far: “Scream at people, if you can. At the same time you’re asserting your human rights, strip others of theirs.” Blame stress. There is enough fresh, unvarnished, cruel wisdom in these pages to set business students agog and trembling: the pecking order that never goes away (“The idea that a person can be my age and still get into trouble makes me feel a little sick”), the way toxic gases always rise to the top, the conceptual totems of status and pretension that melt into air. Do these pieces gel into a philosophy? Only if you can juggle a sense of humor, a sense of paranoia, and a sense of venality, all the while keeping your nose alert to the atmospheric conditions. But, sadly, maybe the best advice is to learn to pull your own leg.
By the end, readers may feel they are suffocating in lint, but Bing would advise them to never let their lips—or their smile—drop below the ever-roiling surface.