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Life Under the Corporate Microscope: A Maverick's Irreverent Perspective Paperback – December 31, 2008

30 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1432733933 ISBN-10: 1432733931

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press (December 31, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1432733931
  • ISBN-13: 978-1432733933
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,687,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Retired executive & corporate cynic; author of "Life Under the Corporate Microscope", my humorous & irreverent perspective of life in Corporate America, which has only gone from bad to worse in recent years.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Lee D. Carlson HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is very rare that a manager/executive of a well-known company would be as frank or forthcoming in information as the author is in this book. It is typical for those at this level to be highly reserved or "protective" of information, and exercise "discretion" in their dealings with others. Tact and prudence are their modus operandi, and therefore any genuine information or commentary coming from them is filtered to such a degree as to make it useless or inert. It is therefore refreshing to know that the author has chosen to write this book and use the language that he does therein. Readers interested in the history of Enterprise Rent-A-Car (ERAC) may find the book of interest, if only to get a viewpoint that is outside the control of company propaganda. There are only a few books written about ERAC, and the authors of these books approach the subject with an uncritical adulation for the owners of the company and its culture, making them useless for genuine historical analysis. Readers, such as this reviewer, who have worked at ERAC will find some common ground with the author, and possibly differ with his opinions at some points. Such readers will no doubt chuckle at some of the historical anecdotes, and also feel disgust at some of the antics of top-level managers. In general though the book is a valuable contribution to the literature, but one hopes that a very detailed overview of the history of ERAC will one day be written.

One very important fact that comes out of this book is the actual role that the renting of cars played in the early days of ERAC. According to the author, it was the leasing of cars, and not their daily rental, which was the primary income generator at this time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Keli A. Mikolajczyk on November 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
I just got finished reading Larry Underwood's career escapades with the car rental company, Enterprise. He spent 26 years with them, from the time they were a small enterprise to the time they became the corporate giant they are now. Larry's a very smart guy, obviously a wonderful leader and also happens to be one of the funniest people you'll ever meet. His depiction of what it's like to work in a lower echelon position ("the trenches") and subsequently higher up the company ladder is filled with candor and hilarious observations. In the end, you'll be glad you got to know him. He had a great career, got out of the rat race while the going was good, and now has apparently settled into a nice career as an author. This book is great. I can hardly wait for his next one!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. Krueger on July 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
An excellent personal account of what happens when an employee of a small company helps it grow into the largest rental car company in the world, and how his past and on-going accomplishments did not translate into "value added" by the now new large corporate beauracracy, leading to his ultimate buyout.
As one who also worked for a small firm that enjoyed meteoric growth, this book provides yet another example of how the proven successful philosophy of many small businesses; those qualities being Autonomy, Risk Taking, Speed to Market, Long Term Strategy, Honesty and Integrity, and True Leadership eventually morphs into Layers of Beauracracy, Fear of Repraisal, Ongoing Focus Groups, CYA, and the short term "Quarterly Results" syndrome.
A "must read" for those in Big Business wondering what happened to the culture that made them big in the first place.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Robson on October 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
Larry Underwood uses wit and humor to correctly jab big corporate mentality. Larry gets fired for doing what's right, meanwhile incompetence reigns supreme. This is an excellent read for all and especially if you've worked around or in Corporate America. I think the moral of the story is, trying to succeed is wonderful, but actual success cannot be tolerated. The book has some great stories of Larry's adventures with Enterprise Rental Car and may be a survivor's guide to big business.

Uncle Larry, thanks, I'm waiting for your next.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christopher H. Cox on February 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Perusing new releases on Amazon I discovered "Life Under the Corporate Microscope: A Maverick's Irreverent Perspective." What caught my attention was the topic being an insider's perspective of the goings on at Enterprise Rent-a-Car, a company I researched greatly for my Consumer Behavior Class at Saint Joseph's University. Funny thing is while I was a college student in 1996, Larry was a full fledged vested insider growing the West by leaps and bounds. He was one of the many responsible for the growth and advertisements seen on ESPN commercials during college basketball games at that time. Who doesn't remember "Enterprise, we'll pick you up?"

I write this review because for anybody considering this read, take the plunge Nestea style. It is a fun read that captures the the essence of a company from Grass Roots to contemporary corporate BS. It is essentially a microcosm of what has happened to our society since the seventies. By no means am I an old timer saying those were the days. I am 33 and have been in and now out of the corporate world. Larry's narrative captures how, even though he made it big, it will not last long in this corporate environment no matter how well you perform. Corporations look out for its own self serving interests and certainly that is the landscape today.

Larry succinctly and humorously details the evolution of Enterprise and many of its inner workings. Along the way you learn about so many personalities. Larry's, of course, being the most compelling. Everything from Steak-N-Shake to Andy Jansky. Well written and constructed narrative that keeps you turning pages and thinking to yourself this is how a company grows and what kind of people it takes and doesn't take to make it happen. Enjoy!!
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Life Under the Corporate Microscope: A Maverick's Irreverent Perspective
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