Zenobia: The Curious Book of Business: A Tale of Triumph Over Yes-Men, Cynics, Hedgers, and Other Corporate Killjoys

Matthew Emmens, Author, Beth Kephart, Author Berrett-Koehler Publishers $19.95 (100p) ISBN 978-1-57675-478-8

A business fable in the tradition of Who Moved My Cheese?, but more closely akin to Alice in Wonderland, this work from pharmaceuticals CEO Emmens and poet-novelist-journalist Kephart (Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River) concerns a topsy-turvy organization which should prove oddly familiar for anyone who's worked in a corporate environment. Our heroine, Moira, is a newcomer to the once-respected Zenobia company, now in physical and psychological disrepair. Without signs or helpers, Moira must navigate the bizarre office layout (""countless drab-green cubicles, like so many Brussels sprouts attached to a stalk""), overcome the entrenched mindset (""We excel at the familiar"") and find the elusive Room 133A, where she's been summoned to help the flagging enterprise. Emphasizing the power of imagination, innovation, people and possibility, Emmens and Kephart's tale of against-the-system heroism illustrates well the intangible human resources that business-as-usual can squelch. Though it may initially strike serious-minded readers silly, this tale makes an enchanting and worthwhile trip into the rabbit hole of nonsensical corporate culture, drawing out plenty of X-ray insight into the modern workplace. Whimsical line drawings from Sulit complete what could be the most enjoyable, readable business book in recent memory.