I found this book via recommendation in the comments of the “Ask a manager” advice blog run by Alison Green, and as soon as I got a few pages in it was pretty obvious why. This book is essentially that website in novel form.
The plot is essentially Ender’s Game by way of Office Space; a corporate drone realizes that all the bureaucratic frustrations in his job have been artificially and intentionally inflicted on him, but the tone is solidly comedic.
It’s an amusing if slight book. Anyone who has worked in a cube farm will relate to the descriptions of “retina-searing” orange carpets and fluorescent lighting. As someone who works the clinical side of the medical field, and has never worked anywhere like Zephyr Holdings — where no employees are quite sure what the corporation actually does — even I related intensely to the personality types. We might not all have worked corporate, but we’ve all worked with the type of petty tyrant to investigate who took “his” donut from the free ones provided months after the fact.
Barry captures the professional world well, but stumbles outside of it; descriptions of a luxury-addict love interest’s outfit as a “green strappy dress” misses an opportunity to flesh out the character with detail or paint a picture -much less a vivid one – so why include it? I may be nitpicking, but it serves to highlight the weakness of the writing where humor and deft characterization would otherwise hide it.
That said, I’m being picky, and this was an enjoyable light read.