From Publishers Weekly
The mixture of jargon, euphemism and cant that is the language of business gets a well-deserved demystification in this curmudgeon's lexicon. Von Hoffman, a New York Observer columnist, author of Citizen Cohn and self-defined "grouchy cynic," directs his disdain at Wall Street and CEOs, government and labor unions alike, and often bends over backwards to be unfair, as in this explication of "Analyst": "a human steam calliope employed by stockbrokers to tout securities the brokerage owns (or has a hidden financial interest in) and wants to unload onto the naive and ever hopeful." In between the wisecracks, he offers a trove of information on business topics from the basics of double-entry bookkeeping to the arcana of Hello Kitty merchandising, and draws grudgingly appreciative biographical thumbnails of such figures as Andrew Carnegie, Jimmy Hoffa and yo-yo mogul Donald Franklin Duncan. Throughout, von Hoffman pays tribute to capitalism's achievements in conferring organization, technology, low prices and high quality on society while bemoaning its wholesale re-engineering of that society to eliminate family meals, foist on us a culture driven by the youth marketing demographic and make the consumer "the central person in the American universe." Readers will enjoy the book either as an entertaining casual browse or as a socioeconomic soapbox.
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About the Author
Nicholas von Hoffman, a Pulitzer Prizelosing author, has had a long and bumpy career in journalism, during which he has been fired more than a few times by editors and TV executives who have a limited tolerance for curmudgeonly behavior. For years he wrote a syndicated column for the Washington Post that ended in a lynch-or-resign situation. He is the author of 13 books, the best known of which is Citizen Cohn, several plays, and an opera libretto. He is a columnist for the New York Observer.