ACDelco Radiators & Heating Components 100 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Shop Men's Watches Cloud Drive Photos nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon Janet Jackson belkin All-New Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote Grocery Introducing Handmade Create an Amazon Wedding Registry Amazon Gift Card Offer wdftv wdftv wdftv  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage AutoRip in CDs & Vinyl Fall Arrivals in Amazon Outdoor Clothing STEM Toys & Games
REf Dictionaries Atlas Language Guides Writing Guides Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Kindle Price: $8.99

Save $0.96 (10%)

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Flip to back Flip to front
Audible Narration Playing... Paused   You are listening to a sample of the Audible narration for this Kindle book.
Learn more

The Dictionary of Corporate Bullshit: An A to Z Lexicon of Empty, Enraging, and Just Plain Stupid Office Talk Kindle Edition

28 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"

Length: 192 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Mark Zuckerberg's Year of Reading Book Selections
Read along with Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


accounts payable

1. department responsible for processing the fulfillment of invoices rendered to a company

2. one of the least glamorous and most underappreciated departments of any organization, as its staff members are seen as merely number-crunchers and paper-pushers; identified by sprawling and depressing cube farms, big calculators, and the palpable sense that the employees there know that no one knows their names and, really, doesn't care, and/or the thought, "I went into accounting because I thought it would grant me job security . . . but this sucks. And PS: Screw these elitist liberal arts grads hounding me for checks."

3. may behave as policy Nazis, due to the fact that any previous deviation from departmental rules (perhaps encouraged by an office flirt) has resulted in serious repri-mand and multiple departmental memos

4. a black hole for invoices; when you inquire about the status of an invoice, you will inevitably be met with the uncaring statement that there is no record of it and it must be resubmitted, indicating the need to begin the process all over again, even though your job depends on delivering a check the next day; and, resubmitting means securing sign-off from your boss, who is too busy having lunch at a nice restaurant to approve the payment of a bill. In extreme circumstances you will have to venture to the accounts payable department to physically retrieve an unsigned invoice, check, etc., to ensure payment and the avoidance of the cancellation of a priority contract.


1. a term formed with some of the letters (often the initials) of a phrase, used as an abbreviation

2. "words" that are so prevalent in business that people will often string them together with a few articles to form a complete sentence, and worse, not even realize they are doing it. The fact that people constantly ask them to translate what they have just said does not deter them from doing this.

3. terms that are frequently indecipherable to those not "in the know" (i.e., people who speak plain English), and which therefore serve to alienate them and make them feel stupid. People may enlist the use of acronyms for this very purpose.

action items

1. issues on a meeting agenda that require decisions

2. issues that are classified as such because no one wanted to deal with them/take responsibility for them in the last meeting, that suddenly require vetting, a deep dive, etc., and therefore will be tabled until the next meeting. Also see parking lot.


1. giving grounds for legal action

2. that's right, this is a legal term, and doesn't actually mean "the things that can be done," as it's repeatedly hijacked by the smarty-pants who went to Bschool

3. the things that can actually be accomplished or moved forward on, e.g., boss: "Tom, how many of the eight items in this proposal would you say are actionable in the next six months?" Tom: "Uh, maybe two."


1. to increase the worth of something by supplementing it with services, products, or access to resources

2. classic sales and marketing speak used to justify charging more than the competitor by offering frequently intangible and often unquantifiable things like "knowledge" or "experience," which are referred to as "value adds." Employees will continually be hounded by management to find ways of adding value to products so that the company can jack up the price.

3. means nothing in terms of quality, especially since anything can be claimed to add value

administrative assistant

1. junior employee who supports an executive or department through the execution of administrative tasks

2. whatever you do, do not call these people secretaries, because they really don't want to be associated with those people. PS: Depending on how long they've been around or the status of the exec they support, they might make a lot more money than you, so when you're wondering why they have Prada boots and you shop at T.J. Maxx, now you know.

3. employees who are highly valued for their attention to detail, in part because their boss claims to be focusing on the big picture and doesn't "do details," but in fact can't balance his own checkbook and would be rendered helpless if he had to do his administrative assistant's job; for administrative assistants who have taken a job with the hope that they can move from within, their rigorous attention to detail and achievement of excellence may in the end be used against them, as these qualities will not be seen as a reason to advance them to another job that challenges them; instead, they will be pigeonholed as a member of support staff, and the person they report to will fight like hell to keep them in their current position, because, you know, good help is so hard to find these days.


1. one who supports a person or issue

2. what senior members of an organization avow they will be for a junior employee or cause, a promise they immediately forget when the opportunity to do so presents itself

3. employees may be told they need to be an advocate for themselves, which is the boss's way of saying, "Although it is my job to be aware of your performance and reward you for doing good work, I'll never do that unless you tell me exactly what it is you do around here. You should not count on me to know this information, or certainly, to give you a raise or promotion unless you hound me about it."


1. medication used to manage depression

2. a prescribed medicine that in the past, you never really felt a need for, but when you started having crying jags in your cube, losing your mind, and couldn't concentrate on anything, your therapist suggested you should check them out. And by God, you don't know how you would go to work every day without them! See also Zoloft, Zyban.


1. abbr as soon as possible

2. a last-minute qualifier delivered to junior employees that is always preceded by "I/we need this"; the "as possible" implies some flexibility, and a recognition that a late-breaking request may encroach on other, perhaps equally urgent matters already being attended to. However, it really means "stop everything you're doing and take care of this now. I don't care what else you have going on."

3. often used when requesting something that the person making the demand knows full well, due to normal business hours, red tape, the sign-off of an SVP currently vacationing in Tahiti, etc., will require several days to accomplish

ass kisser

1. a person who engages in kissing ass. Also known as a brown-noser. See kissing ass.

as you know

1. a phrase invoked to indicate that what is about to be said is information the audience is well aware of

2. a phrase invoked to indicate that what is about to be said is information the audience is probably not at all aware of, but probably should be aware of (because it was on the front page of the New York Times or discussed in a high-priority memo they received the week before or was in all of the trade publications) but that the speaker is going to give them a pass on and tell them about so they can act like they knew about it all along. Used in ass-kissing situations like sales presentations or any forum in which the speaker has something to gain from the people they are speaking to; otherwise, the individuals receiving the information would be quizzed on the subject in an attempt to bust them.

at Stanford/Wharton/Princeton/Harvard . . .

1. a conversational reference to where the speaker went to school and its philosophy/culture; most often citing work at the graduate level

2. sign of a major elitist tool who in reality probably isn't that smart, as he wouldn't need to mention his Ivy League credentials when recommending a good burger joint if he were; it's not enough that these people went to a premier/expensive school and may have secured an interview or job through a particularly rousing night of drinking scotch or by attending a delightful tea at the club, they need to let you know.

3. major irony: many titans of the corporate world went to Joe Blow University and really don't give a shit where people went to school, in fact, may regard highly credentialed colleagues as nancy boys or softies. Also see Bschool.

at the end of the day

1. not the literal end of the day, as in sunset, 5:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m., etc. The end result, The final analysis, When all is said and done, When the pedal hits the metal, When the shit hits the fan, When I'm reviewing my mutual fund balances and realize my kid is going to a state school . . . A phrase uttered in conclusion by managers who are supposedly explaining a somewhat nonsensical corporate tenet/idea/policy/decision that probably does not make sense. ("At the end of the day, it is what it is.") A nice way to end a thought, thrown in to infuse a statement with an air of authority, common sense, and definitive finality. A common leitmotif; it just sounds good. See also bottom line, net-net.

attention to detail

1. diligent and focused concentration on the smaller components of one's job

2. if you are a junior staffer, this will be your downfall; any mistake you make will be attributed to your lack of attention to detail, regardless of how many details you did pay attention to. No crises will result from your oversight, it will just be an error made, which happens to humans, who are made of flesh and blood and are fallible, unlike machines and computers--oh wait, they make errors, too.

3. something everyone says they have in a job interview; totally meaningless claim, often untrue

4. should your boss independently make a mistake that is caused by his own lack of attention to detail, it will be your fault. Important caveat: Do not shirk on attention to detail when ordering the boss's salad nicoise lunch or company car to ferry him to the airport for his vacation in Capri, as he tends to get very cranky about these mishaps above all else.


1. the act of deliberately keeping away from someone or something

2. essential survival skill in the corporate world

3. physical avoidance involving strategic adjustment of commonly traveled routes, creative and sometimes inefficient use of multiple elevator banks and the connections they provide, attempts to embed oneself in a large crowd waiting for an elevator, utilization of entries and exits other than the main one (parking garage, loading dock, etc.), and sometimes just flat-out running

4. digital avoidance can be attempted by simply not returning e-mail or phone messages, or using caller ID to screen unwanted calls; a more conciliatory form of avoidance is to assure someone that you are "working on it," or to promise delivery at a time/date of your choosing and then not honor it.



1. resources available in the form of time, staff, etc.

2. most frequently used in a negative context, denying its availability, e.g., "I just don't have the bandwidth right now" (It is rare to see people running around saying, "I've got all this bandwidth I'm not doing anything with--anybody got a project I can take on?"); very useful way of saying "I don't feel like doing that" without actually saying it, with the extra bonus of making it seem like you're really swamped

3. a claim of low bandwidth can also be used as a tactic to get more funding, staff, equipment, etc. e.g., "I don't have the bandwidth, but if you allow me to hire for the position that I've been telling you has needed to be filled for months, some bandwidth might appear."

4. may also indicate that the people with low bandwidth don't want to work more than the two or so days per week they currently are. See also push back.


1. the place where you go to perform essential bodily functions

2. the first place you are shown as a new employ, by a fellow staffer who is resisting telling you all the reasons it sucks to work there

3. for the cubicle set, the favored place for crying when struck by a particularly rough breakup, unfair retribution/public humiliation from the boss, or the overwhelming sense that your life is shit and you're never going anywhere, ever

4. site of bizarre intragender scolding regarding hygiene [primarily female], found in the form of eight-and-one-half-by-eleven-inch sheets of paper taped to the wall castigating fellow users with statements in the spirit of "Your mother does not work here"; "Learn to love the art of flushing"; "If you sprinkle when you tinkle . . ."; and "Were you raised in a barn?!"

5. also realm of uncomfortable monitoring/timing when it's okay to do a number two; some employees, most frequently men, will attempt to casually make their way to or from the bathroom with reading material, as if they are not announcing either "I am about to" or "I just did" take a shit; execs tend to relieve themselves with abandon, indicating their place in the social hierarchy, and may even conduct conference calls while on the can, an act that makes those in the bathroom uncomfortable as well as those who are subjected to the sound of flushing in the background during their meeting.

6. may also be the site of repeated encounters with a weird person, whom you get trapped in small talk with, or of a supreme busting in which you are openly bitching/gossiping with a coworker only to have your boss or another senior staffer emerge from a stall

battery cell

1. a self-contained remote source of energy

2. a productive employee who generates ideas and, due to the nature of the reporting structure, provides them to his boss, who then embraces the concepts and claims them as her own, or as the work of their anonymous team; most battery cells are aware of their plight, which causes them extreme frustration and resentment.

3. very sci-fi; think Coma, The Matrix, or any cinematic portrayal of a helpless body in a pod delivering, against its will, some kind of energy or sustenance to an oppressive entity via a tube


1. lit blind carbon copy

2. an option available in e-mail programs that allows people to "copy" others without the recipient being aware

3. so nasty and passive-aggressive; essentially a way of "telling" on someone, the act of a child who can't handle things on his own

4. can be useful for busting someone who is being a total jerk to you, in which case it's awesome; also a helpful way to tell your boss, "Um, can you step in here, because I don't have the authority to rip this person a new one. Thanks."

Product Details

  • File Size: 558 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype (February 14, 2006)
  • Publication Date: February 14, 2006
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #697,098 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Schram on February 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is the only dictionary you need in your office. It includes phases and definitions for all the annoying, humiliting and hysterical moments we endure from 9-5. DOCBS makes a great gift for anyone who's ever had to make small talk at the microwave, play with the boss's kids, gone through diversity training or had to sing happy birthday to someone you despise.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. A. OCONNOR on February 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
Having spent 30+ years in corporate America, I can really identify with these terms. This is a real tongue-in-cheek look at everyday office language in a light-hearted way. Lois, here's one for your next edition: "Census reduction" - call it what you will, but it's true meaning is layoff.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By N. Raca on February 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
After 15 years in the corporate workplace, I've heard my share of BS. This book is funny and so true. This would make a great gift for people just entering the workplace, or anyone who's been in a cubicle too long!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By TangoMan on March 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
Lois Beckwith has written an excellent companion piece to Ambrose Bierece's THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY.

The title sums it up -- here's everything you need to know about how to follow the empty jargon of office life.

this book is a great gift, you'll want to share it with anyone who's ever worked in a cubicle.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Love on April 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is hilarious. Each entry gets funnier and funnier. It's not simply amusing because you recognize all of the office politics and indignities that lois describes. It's brilliant because she describes the office and corporate b.s. better than you can. In the spirit of 9 to 5, I envision Dolly, Jane and Lilly sitting around, getting high, and reading a copy of the Dictionary of Corporate BS, as they plot the downfall of Mr. Hart.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SJM on May 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am thoroughly enjoying these hilarious, yet so true, definitions. It is must for anyone who is planning to work, is working, or is retired wants to reflect on all the BS they had to put up . An excellent gift.. I am sending copies to my two sons who are both involved in the corporate world . enjoy, enjoy
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By B. Neville on February 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
...because it just might save your life. Or at least the lives of innocent cubicle rats caught in the line of fire. These entries are hilarious, often painfully so. The perfect book to bring to your next post-work bitch session.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John P Bernat on February 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
I strongly recommend this book - has thousands of uses around the office!

I bought this book four days ago and it already looks well-thumbed. I use it on the job to "call out" (it's a term in the book) language usage and behavior which is designed to evade, avoid and obfuscate.

People give their best when they're respected and rewarded for good work. But, if you cannot manage that, at least do not insult a worker's intelligence. After all, things can be bad enough without adding insult to perceived injury.

An interesting side note: I did not consistently discern that Lois Beckwith encouraged employees to avoid placing themselves in the victim role. Sometimes her advice was very assertive and made a lot of sense, but, in other examples, she encouraged a sense of shared victimhood which was not only neurotic but actually a disservice to her intended audience.

Oh, well. If letting off steam is the objective, the book serves a good function. Or functionality (since that word IS in the book).
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in