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Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn't Want You to Know---and What to Do About Them Paperback – August 25, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Your number one job is to keep your job," Shapiro, a former human resources executive, writes in this informed and disillusioned take on the corporate life, so don't ever "publicly complain, disagree or express a negative view," take more than one week of vacation at a time, "volunteer," or "tell anyone what you're doing." When asked to do anything, acceptable responses are "sure" and "of course," always accompanied by a smile. Your dress style "should match as closely as possible the style of those at the top." Don't make friends at work-it's "deadly" to want to be liked. The book reads like a guerilla survival manual for the employment jungle written by a hardened survivor ("Do you feel there's something...looming over your career, but can't quite put your finger on it? It's not your imagination. It's real."), and explains why companies preach enlightened attitudes-but don't practice them-and why managers and co-workers will not tell you about your career-limiting moves. Though Shapiro's this-is-war outlook may fit some workplaces, her mercenary advice won't work for people whose number one job is to get a job that doesn't require these sacrifices.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“A business book that reads like a page-turner. What a concept. The author's startling and thought-provoking insights make this a must-read wake-up call for all employees who want to know the truth about how their ‘promotability' is decided. Read it and reap.” ―Sam Horn, author of Tongue Fu! and Take the Bully by the Horns

“Corporate Confidential is a great resource for all levels, from new entrants to executives. Shapiro’s list of the most common mistakes managers can make, and how to avoid them, is a must-read for anyone interested in getting to the top―and staying there.” ―Tony Lee, editor in chief of The Wall Street Journal’s and

“What you don't know can hurt you, especially in Corporate America. This is the eye-opening book every employee needs to read.” ―Lewis Maltby, President of the National Workrights Institute

Corporate Confidential lifts the lid of the cauldron and lets employees see what's really going on inside their organizations whether they know it or not. But this book isn't just for employees. Smart executives and managers will treat this as a must-read for the good of their companies and their careers as well.” ―Tony Lee, editor in chief of The Wall Street Journal’s and

“a terrific book...a must-read for anyone intent on managing career risk.” ―Anne Fisher
, Fortune


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312337361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312337360
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

184 of 190 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
Corporate Confidential is the book every career consultant (like me) needs to share with her clients. It's not your standard happy-cheerleader self-help book. Nearly every page contains solid advice in an unabashed how-to style. Shapiro makes no effort to soften her message. Like it or not, she says, here's how the world of work operates in the 21st century.

Shapiro seems uniquely qualified to write this book, due to her background in Human Resources. And she's not afraid to say out loud what we've always suspected: The HR people are not your friends. They're protecting the company -- not you!

Shapiro's message can be summed up in one sentence. Whenever you're dealing with your company you're on the stage. Don't let your guard down, whether you're at a party or a one-on-one informal meeting. Watch your email. Don't make waves, gossip or sound negative.

If all this advice sounds elementary, you have never been a career consultant! Many of my savvy, sophisticated, experienced clients have trouble recognizing these rules. Even more resist. Some, like me, know all the rules but can't bring ourselves too follow them. Eventually we end up working for ourselves, with all the pluses and minuses.

This book explains why so many employees hire coaches and consultants to gain access to a confidential confidante -- a safety valve, sounding board and objective outsider. When you open up to someone off the job, you're more likely to keep quiet on the job. That's worth everything you pay an outsider and more.

Shapiro does not paint a pretty or pleasant picture. Need vacation? Take one week at a time. Take your second week six months later. Having a baby? You may or may not be eligible for Family Leave...
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100 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Jaewoo Kim VINE VOICE on November 22, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
DO NOT ASSUME YOU UNDERSTAND CORPORATE POLITICS AND HR POLICIES UNTIL YOU READ THIS BOOK. This book is by far the best book I have read on the subject and I have read many.

The book specifies that the company draws a clear distinction, without telling you, whether you are someone the company wants to keep or get rid of. To make matters worse, in this highly litigious society, companies cannot and does not tell you which side you belong.

If a company thinks you are an unwanted employee, the last thing they tell you is say exactly that in fear of getting sued. Rather, they use various tactics such as giving you too much work, giving you the most stressful projects, and just making life difficult for you as possible so you will leave voluntarily. If you are one of the unwanted employees, it is best to leave. What is the litmus test? If the employer doesn't give you a counteroffer or show strong regret that you are leaving, then they wanted to get rid of you anyway and you made the right choice.

If you are one of the high performers who the company wants to keep, they make it as clear as possible. After all, no one gets sued for promoting an employee. The fact is companies identify employees who will never be downsized because they are indispensable. In effect, they are "Made" and they cannot be touched unless they really screw up their good standing with the corporation.

If you want to move up the corporate ladder, not only must you show competence, but you must show loyalty. You must prove yourself as someone the company can trust with their business, money, and personnel.

How can you prove yourself as someone trustworthy? Here are few pointers outlined in the book:

1)Don't threaten the company or your boss.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Consultant on January 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
Corporate Confidential is the kind of book that everyone who works in the corporate environment should have and review on a regular basis. Its primary strength is that is disabuses employees of their naiveté about working in a corporation. As the author states - the company employs you for their needs - not yours. Every day - an employee is on stage and every action, behavior, and attitude is being evaluated. You have no "rights" (to employment or even privacy) and loyalty to the organization (more importantly, your superiors) is paramount. All this would seem like a statement of the obvious, but it is amazing how many employees don't grasp these basics and get "downsized" or "managed out" - hence the need for Corporate Confidential.

That being said, I found the author to be a bit too much of a corporate cheerleader, and the book neglected some important caveats. A major theme of the book is to determine the corporation's real (hidden agenda) value system, honor it, and put yourself in alignment with it. What is not addressed is if that value system, upon examination, is incompatible with yours or toxic and corrupt (re: Enron.) The book is rather silent on this key issue, but then again, it's more of a "go along to get along" guide.

The book is also silent on several other key issues, such as a proactive career plan and exit strategy once a given job has reached diminishing returns for your career growth. Perhaps too many subjects for one book, but I thought it should be at least referenced. There sometimes (or often) comes a point that you simply won't be able to get along with the organization (or its culture or management), and it's time to leave.
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