Company Review
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Company is funny in a sad, sad way. If you’ve ever worked for a large faceless corporation and found yourself wondering why, then you’ll identify with the characters in this book. Max Barry has done a great job of capturing the feeling of frustration that can come with working for a boss you’ve never seen.

The protagonist of the book is Jones, a new hire with the mythical Zephyr Company. On his first day, he gets promoted, basically because he showed up a few minutes before someone in the office was fired for eating a donut. (The missing donut is a constant theme and gets pretty complicated by the time the culprit is revealed.) Jones also finds out that, due to a yearlong hiring freeze, he’s been brought onboard by expensing his salary out as copy paper usage.

Jones is a bright young man, fresh out of college, and he can’t accept his co-worker’s advice: “Don't try to understand the company. Just go with it.” He starts asking questions and soon discovers what the real purpose of Zephyr is. Once he’s made this startling discovery, Senior Management brings him into their inner circle. Despite the six-figure salary and the constant threat of blackmail, he can’t tolerate Zephyr’s real mission. He sets out to bring the company down.

From that point on, Jones becomes a little less likeable, and the book begins to slow down. When the story ends, the reader is confused about how to react to Jones and what he did to Zephyr.

Barry goes a bit overboard at times with the corporate stereotypes. He also uses some phrases—like “Six Sigma” and “Total Quality Management”—that won’t be familiar to some readers. In the end he paints a picture of a typical company where employees argue over parking spaces, gossip more than work, have meaningless jobs, and work on projects that have no real meaning.

If you work in a big company, you'll get a kick out of reading Company.

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