Downham offers a personal foray into the complexities of the modern job market from both managerial and lower-tier perspectives.
This debut nonfiction work compares and contrasts the realities of the American 20th century corporate workplace with those of today. Specifically, the author contrasts the benefits of teamwork with those of individual thinking, and looks at how years of relative prosperity resulted in a system that crashed spectacularly when global competition became a daily reality. As someone who’s worked as a manager in multiple companies, Downham also examines how the 20th century notion of working your way up from the mail room has become essentially outdated. Now, he says, a college-educated management class often doesn’t comprehend the realities of a working-class environment. As he discusses this widening gap between executives and workers, he encourages managers to take the realities of day-to-day employment into account—and also not to think poorly of their own contributions. The author populates the work with anecdotes from his own experience, comparing managers with “bullying” personalities to those who actively engage in teamwork. However, his preferred term for a successful management and working style, “Team 1 America,” is hardly subtle. As with any management manual, his guidelines are broad. In a general sense, though, the book is an excellent, concise treatise on general changes in the average American working experience over the last half a century. However, the author’s verbiage is oriented toward a corporate model, and not toward creative-class businesses, which have become a large part of the current economy. That said, this book will impart some useful knowledge to managers who are struggling to foster better working relationships with their employees.
A general but useful guide to creating the best possible corporate working environment.