THE BIG BING: Black Holes of Time Management, Gaseous Executive Bodies, Exploding Careers, and Other Theories on the Origins of the Business Universe

Stanley Bing, Author . HarperBusiness $24.95 (346p) ISBN 978-0-06-052955-0

Twenty years of columns by business humorist Bing (Throwing the Elephant; What Would Machiavelli Do?) from Fortune and Esquire add up to a very funny look at the contemporary executive. The media exec/writer organizes his collected works into a surprisingly coherent whole, containing 11 thematic sections that range from "The Tao of How" (tips on giving good phone and taking lunch with distinction) to "Up and Out" (advice on surviving career death and getting paid to go away). Often, related columns present complete story cycles; Y2K comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb while Bing fires away. "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap chops up companies and then falls on his own blade. Quizzes punctuate the columns: the worst scores on "The Bing Ethics Test" mean "you're a scumball and should do very well." Whenever the outward hostility gets tiring, Bing happily skewers himself. He suffers emotional collapse when he misplaces his BlackBerry and his cell phone: "Uncontrollable drooling made it difficult for me to keep both hands on the wheel. I was incapable of thinking straight or even in a circular fashion." He is "consumed by rage" when his limo does not appear in good time. And yet, the reader can almost always relate, perhaps because underneath the surface, Bing seems so genuinely entertained by the business world. "The good news is this: there is no fate but what you make," he concludes. "So you keep looking, and trying to get it, and to get over on it. And I'll be there with you, as long as there's still a little fun left in it." (Nov.)

Forecast:Bing has a solid audience among the readers of Fortune, and his previous business humor books sold pretty well. Add in the buzz from his work as a corporate communications exec at CBS, the fact that his first novel, Lloyd: What Happened, is under development for television and that his second novel is coming out just before this book from Bloomsbury; the result is happy sales.

Reviewed on: 07/21/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
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