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Diary of a Company Man: Losing A Job, Finding A Life Hardcover – January 10, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press; First Edition, First Printing edition (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762770457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762770458
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“When I was a teenager, The Strawberry Statement shaped my view of
the world and my place in it. Now James Kunen has done it again, with his
acute, observant, funny and moving story of what's truly important in life.
Diary of a Company Man is timely and timeless—a beautiful piece
of writing and enduring source of inspiration.”


—Jonathan Alter, author of The Promise: President Obama, Year One

From the Inside Flap

James S. Kunen—author of The Strawberry Statement, an account of the 1968 student uprising at Columbia University—chronicles his adventures on the road to finding meaning in work and life. He traces his evolution from a rebellious youth who sees working as a kind of death, to a laid-off corporate executive who experiences not working as a kind of death, to a reinvented and reinvigorated individual
who discovers something important and meaningful to do.

The experience of falling victim to America’s recession-ravaged economy (and the people who run it) leads him along a career path far different from anything he had planned. After years of making a living, Kunen finally learns how to make a life. Diary of a Company Man will be a revelation not only to baby boomers but to young people trying to figure out what to do with their lives.

 

More About the Author


James S. Kunen is the author of popular and critically praised books that grapple with legal and political issues in a personal way. A prize-winning journalist, he is best known for his 1968 memoir, The Strawberry Statement: Notes of a College Revolutionary--his account of the antiwar student strike at Columbia. It has been translated into four languages and widely used in college history and writing courses. MGM's film version of the book won the Jury Prize at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival.

Graduating from Columbia in 1970, Kunen was sent to Vietnam by True magazine to write a series of articles, which led to his book Standard Operating Procedure: Notes of a Draft-Age American (1971).

After working as a freelance journalist, Kunen earned his juris doctor degree from the New York University School of Law and joined the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., where he moved from misdemeanor cases to representing people accused of serious crimes, including murder. He recounted his experiences in 'How Can You Defend Those People?': The Making of a Criminal Lawyer (1983).

Returning to journalism, Kunen worked as an op-ed editor for Newsday, a contributing writer for Time magazine, and a featured writer and senior editor for news at People magazine, where he reported and wrote cover stories on Donald Trump, Tawana Brawley and Abbie Hoffman, among others. His reporting on a tragic school-bus crash led him to write a book, Reckless Disregard: Corporate Greed, Government Indifference, and the Kentucky School Bus Crash (1994.

Kunen left People in 2000 to serve as a director of corporate communications at Time Warner Inc. in New York City, where, among other things, his job was to maintain employee morale during the company's merger with AOL and the rounds of layoffs that followed. In 2008, after being laid off himself, he embarked on a search for meaningful work that led him to his current position teaching English as a Second Language at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, N.Y. He describes the journey from corporate PR man to teacher of immigrants in his new memoir, Diary of a Company Man: Losing a Job, Finding a Life.

Kunen's Time magazine cover story on the resegregation of America's schools won him a First Place in Features award from the New York Association of Black Journalists and an award for reporting in education from Unity Awards in Media. As a freelance writer, he has written for The Atlantic, Esquire, GQ, Harper's, New York, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times Magazine, and other leading publications. He was a columnist for a national magazine, New Times.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
This book is beautifully written with wit, sensitivity and humor.
Theodore Kirousis
Jim Kunen's latest book both informs us of what happened to him while alerting us that the very same can potentially happen to us all.
Ken Lizotte
Jim was a most helpful and willing guide to me when I began to write.
Jack McLean

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jack McLean on January 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James Kunen has done it again!

After waiting over 40 years for a worthy successor to his blockbuster, "The Strawberry Statement: Notes of a College Revolutionary", Jim has produced another fabulously readable memoir, "Diary of a Company Man: Losing a Job, Finding a Life" that answers the question, "I wonder what ever happened to that guy?"

Jim and I were bookends to the revolution in the 1960's. From being classmates at Andover, Jim went on to drape black bunting over Alma Mater while occupying the Columbia University administration building. I, on the other hand, was in Vietnam finishing my 6th month of combat with the United States Marine Corps. It was April of 1968.

From there, incredibly, we both eventually sold out to corporate America and pursued not dissimilar paths up the ladder - Jim with Time Life/Time Warner/AOL Time Warner/to whatever it's called now. I went into the insurance brokerage business.

Eventually Kunen got fired, having survived (and having had a front row seat for) all of the craziness at Time that ensued. He'd been there 18 years (O.K., really 20 if you read the book...) Eventually I got fired as well after a comparatively paltry 16 years.

I went on to write "Loon: A Marine Story" (Random House 2009), a memoir about my time in the 1960's. Jim was a most helpful and willing guide to me when I began to write. He was the only published author that I knew. He also plays a role in my story (please see "Loon" page 138).

For those of us who watched the Time/Warner saga, and all of the other corporate shenanigans of the past 20 years, unfold from afar, "Diary of a Company Man" provides a cat-bird's seat to the inner workings of a company desperate to adapt while while clinging to its Luce roots.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Naomi Gerstel on February 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I bought and started James Kunen's DIARY OF A COMPANY MAN yesterday, thinking I would read it over the next month or so. I just finished it because I couldn't put it down. The first part of the book is about Kunen's experience in corporate America. I laughed out loud (and chuckled to myself) as he turned a sardonic wit on his climb, his colleagues and bosses. I also felt queasy when he described the day he lost his job and was denied access to the computer he had used to promote the company. In the next part of the book, I felt awe and affection for the ways he refashioned himself and came to adore and inspire his immigrant students. His love for, and playfulness with, the English language made it a little difficult to write this review. I kept wondering how he would write this sentence or that. And I did feel a little guilty while reading the book --next time I stay In a hotel, I will leave a bigger tip for the immigrant woman who cleans the room; next time, I hear a speech from a CEO explaining layoffs, I will attend more carefully to the prose that makes it all sound so efficient and wonder which words were added and which deleted (and consider whether or when that speechwriter will lose her job); next time an immigrant doorman opens a door for me in an apartment building, I will wonder if he was a doctor or engineer back home. This is a special book-- lucid, witty, wise,imaginative, politically conscious, and insightful.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Roger McDaniel on January 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Like Jack McLean (Amazon review), I thought that "Diary of a Company Man: Losing a Job, Finding a Life" was terrific. But while McLean focused on the AOL Time Warner years in the book, I was especially taken by the years after that (the "Finding a Life" section). James Kunen had been a lawyer and was always a writer, but he found that the work that made sense for him was teaching English to foreigners--especially immigrants. His story and their stories are very special. Their stories are not unusual--just special. I couldn't get Kunen and his students out of my mind.

He should make plans to write a sequel in ten years or so. I would like to find out what happens to Muhie, Suad and their children, from Iraq; Adam, the track star from Darfur who wants to be a nurse; Carlos from Argentina, who loves being a painter; Reggi, the high school history teacher from Kosovo; Nicole, the "pint-sized Italian fashionista"; the Kurdish refugee novelist Bayram; Jag, the "anchorman-handsome Korean student who wants to be an anchorman"; Kotomi, the Japanese nurse's aide whose Facebook interests are "Chocolate, Jogging, Social Change"; and the others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mountain Seeker on March 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"This is a great read. If you question what you are doing and you seek a more meaningful existence, this book will talk to you."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BrooklynMom on March 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sometimes you luck out and find yourself at the office party, standing next to the smartest guy in the room. That's what reading DIARY OF A COMPANY MAN is like. In it, Kunen relates a personal story that is regrettably familiar to many of us: losing a job. As the title suggests, the author finds something better--much better--in the end. But the heart of this book is the journey James Kunen takes us on, from wisecracking corporate spinmaster to ESL teacher. (And I love the fact that the author recognizes the importance of teaching his students the relevant curse words.) DIARY OF A COMPANY MAN is laugh-out-loud funny, wise, cynical and yet surprisingly hopeful, too. While reading it, I kept thinking: If Holden Caulfield ever lost his job in corporate communications, this is the book he would write.
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