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Citizen Dick Paperback – January 31, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard Arneson’s thirteen years working in corporate America drove him up a tree -- literally. Once he escaped the telecommunications industry after ten years of service, he built a tree house -- ostensibly for his two young sons -- installed electricity and cable TV, and set out to fix himself, deciding that dealing with the memories of working in the goofy-as-hell world of corporate America could only be accomplished by getting them down on paper. Citizen Dick is the result.

Arneson is currently working on his next novel, The Tree House, which, ironically, is not being written in his tree house but in the cab of his 1950 Chevy pickup truck. He lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife and their two sons. He has plans to build a second story on his tree house in early 2010, one large enough to accommodate a baby grand piano and two dental chairs.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: PeyBro Books, LLC (January 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981939309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981939308
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,106,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

This is not a traditional novel and it is not for every one. Its main protagonist is a slacker and by most conventional standards a loser named Dick Citizen ("Citizen Dick"). Its plot line is so thin as to be almost non-existent at times. It begins almost as two novels and only over time merges into a single thread. Finally be warned much of its humor is scatological in nature. Yet in the end it may well be one of the best and most acute novels written on the upper management and operations of mega-corporations in 21st Century America.
This novel examines in often excruciating detail the personalities and foibles of the men and women who constitute the executive ranks of "the third largest" telecommunications firm in the U.S., yet clearly know nothing about telecommunications. The only remotely sympathetic figure among this group besides Citizen Dick is a Mexican-Chinese technocrat who alone among the senior managers actually knows what he is doing. Citizen Dick is hired on board as part of the corporate public relations staff, an amazing commentary on corporate hiring practices in itself, and presents an all too accurate picture of how new folks are indoctrinated into big corporations. In one of this novel's many sidebars incidentally it presents a devastating description of the corporate marketing division and marketing strategies or rather lack of them. Perhaps the central lesson of this book is its description of how the most senior managers of this corporation, and especially the hirsute CEO Noble Tud, care nothing for its corporate products, its customers, or even its profit margin. They consumed and concerned only in the market value of its stock as measured in quarterly increments.
As with all novels about corporate America the reader might well ask how accurate is its description of ill-formed, greedy, and downright incompetent senior corporate managers? Well this reviewer doesn't know, but was immensely entertained by the book anyway.
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Dick is what we'd call a loser. He has no luck in anything; love, work, or just plain life. He hates his name, which if I were named that, I would too in this day and age. But nonetheless, Dick decides to apply for a job at a major telecommunication company. He has no real goals and he really doesn't expect to get a job.

But, he's hired. Dick has a very dry sense of humor, and gets his kicks where he can. He decides to play a practical joke and issues a memo to the press about how the company is looking to buy a meat company. Say what?! The next day, the place is bursting with press wanting to know why the company wants to buy a meat company. The CEO plays off the joke and tries to capitalize on it buy promoting Dick to the Meat Manager and urging him to go buy a meat company. Meanwhile, the CEO hopes the stock rises.

While the humor is dry and sometimes laugh-out loud jolly good humor, the storyline is hard to grasp. Almost every other chapter introduces a new character and before you really learn what in tarnation is going on, another one is introduced. The characters of Dick and his friend Lennie really interact well together and their dialogue cracked me up. While the premise is good, the reader really needs to stay involved to keep up.
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Richard Arneson picks apart the numerous stereotypes of corporate America in his humorous novel, "Citizen Dick." I have to admit that this book was an unlikely choice for me, as I prefer science fiction and adventure books, with the occasional mystery or horror thrown in as well. However, I was given the opportunity to check this book out and decided to give it a whirl.

What I found was that Arneson knows the eccentric workers of the corporate world and isn't afraid to reveal them. Granted, all of the characters in this book rose to their level via some pretty bizarre happenings (excepting a couple of undeserving relatives that were handed positions), but if you've ever spent just a few hours at a corporate office, you know that some of their stories are oddly close to reality.

The main focus of this book is Dick Citizen, a slacker who has a God-given talent for golf that he throws away due to a life-changing situation. He finds himself living in a trailer with another gifted (in the baseball sense) buddy named Lennie and working at a radio station that has a very small audience. While trying to get into the pants of his uninterested hairdresser, he quickly finds himself working for CommGlobalTeleVista, a telecommunications company that, after reading this book, you'll find is headed up by a group of complete whackjobs.

It's a wonder that the company manages to keep its doors open. From the clueless CEO to a quirky CFO with a public bathroom problem and all the way down to a nephew who wants nothing more than to be a clown, Arneson peels back the skin of some rather odd characters. He's particularly brutal on the marketing group. However, I can personally vouch for Arneson's description of this gaggle of goofballs.
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Citizen Dick is Richard Arneson's funny, ironic, irreverent, undisciplined, sarcastic, farcical, vindictive, cruel, funny, moronic, stereotypical, enjoyable and many other things all at the same time. This is a book that could only be self-published as it is raw and dripping with contempt that the author has for his former employers in the telecommunications industry. I was asked to review the book by its publicist and for some reason I agreed and I am glad that I did because it is an entertaining and irreverent novel.

First here is a review on its technical merits as a book. The writing is surprisingly good, descriptive and good use of dialogue to set up the characters. From a structural standpoint it's a nightmare with characters coming in and out of the story haphazardly without apparent reason other than either to make a quick point or to embarrass a character or parody a person from the author's previous life. This is a good proto book but it would need a real editor and developmental work as it lacks a clear plot, purpose and reason to read it other than watching the author pour out their sardonic wit.

The book is the mythical and semi-autobiographical journey of Dick Citizen a reluctant soul from the trailer parks of Texas to the heights of corporate power. As you can imagine the book is filled with caricatures and parodies of corporate life. It's a kind of Office Space (the movie), meets Wall Street, meets the Simpsons with a good dose of bathroom humor. In this regard the book is a fun read, particularly for the first 200 pages. After that the author loses their way, the storyline - what there is - breaks down and the book becomes uninteresting as the author tries to tie up all the lose knots and shows the books weak points.
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