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A Devil's Dictionary of Business: Monkey Business; High Finance and Low; Money, the Making, Losing, and Printing Thereof; Commerce; Trade; Cleve Paperback – August 14, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Nicholas von Hoffman, a Pulitzer Prize–losing 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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books (August 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156025906X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560259060
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,268,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on September 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When you learn that a dictionary that defines Capitalism as 'The name of a religion based on the worship of money' you have a pretty good idea about what to expect. This is a highly irreverant look at the business world in the form of a dictionary.

It's one of those dictionaries that you don't look up things so much as read from front back. Mr. Von Hoffman is a journalist who has worked for several of the countries largest newspapers and then gotten fired. He now pens columns for the New York Observer, and has written some thirteen books, several plays and more. He clearly understands the business world and has produced definitions in this book which are amusing, but which also contain germs of truth. This is a very amusing book, and has a blast looking at the underneath of American business.
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