cover image THROWING THE ELEPHANT: Zen and the Art of Managing Up

THROWING THE ELEPHANT: Zen and the Art of Managing Up

Stanley Bing, . . Harper Business, $20.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-06-018861-0

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. (Mar. 25)