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Throwing the Elephant: Zen and the Art of Managing Up Hardcover – March 15, 2002
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Stanley Bing's Throwing the Elephant, subtitled Zen and the Art of Managing Up, is a wise and hilarious--mostly hilarious--antidote to the extensive library of works by grim, clenched-fisted business gurus. Bing posits that power strategies cannot be "managed through rational means." Real success--corporate-niche enlightenment--comes only by embracing religion, specifically Zen Buddhism. This enables one to take "an object of enormous weight and size" (i.e. the elephantine boss) and "mold it ... like a ball of Silly Putty." In truth, he continues, senior management is "the silliest putty of them all." Bing doles out his thoughts in dozens of pithy chapters ("Playing Golf with the Elephant," "Getting Drunk with the Elephant"). He also includes many visual aids (some of which nearly make sense) and adds a sprinkling of the wisdom of others--from Martha Stewart and Jimmy Hoffa to the rock band the Doors--to make his wickedly entertaining points. --H. O'Billovitch
From Publishers Weekly
In a spoof of just about every career advice and management-by-metaphor book ever created, Bing (What Would Machiavelli Do?) delivers a Zen-like guide to managing your boss. The premise? Here's what Buddha would tell you if he were your personal career coach. A book juxtaposing faux-Zen advice with embarrassing corporate situations (e.g., how to handle a drunken boss) is almost guaranteed to be funny. Bing, "an ultra-senior officer at an elephantine corporation," has plenty of firsthand anecdotes to tell, and he supplements them with stories about some of the notoriously toughest bosses on the planet, like Martha Stewart and Citigroup's Sandy Weill. There are chapters on critiquing your boss ("any bitter pill of criticism one offers an elephant must be buried within a vast tub of cream cheese") and "facing the angry elephant" (when you're to blame for your boss's anger, "breathe deeply. Breath is life"). Despite the amusing anecdotes, though, Bing's narrative can become a bit wearying if one reads more than a couple of chapters in one sitting. However, if an employee only breaks out Bing's book when the elephant is having a particularly bad couple of weeks, enlightenment is certain.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Two copies of the hard-bound edition are on my shelves. The software cover with the brown nose went into the trash because that first impression fails to set the right mood for what is inside.
BOSS, not just any supervisor. I can't believe it was recommended to me. And recommended by an HR person.