I finished this book last night and went to bed, my head filled with about 10 different thoughts on what to say about it. Laugh Out Loud Funny, Thought Provoking in a Sneaky Way, A Mirror Held Up to Current Corporate Culture, "Office Space" For the Discriminate Reader Who Is Snobby About Movies, Passages That Demand to Be Read Out Loud to Whomever was Sitting Near You, and on and on.
I even thought that if I had enough money I would buy the movie rights, if I had enough writing talent I would angle to write the screenplay, and if I had enough publishing power I would market the living daylights out of this book.
As I was drifting off to sleep the hook finally fell – this was Hamlet without the Ghost, Incest, and a Lot of Dead Bodies at the End. Yes, sadly the main characters don’t kill anybody, start wars or want to have sex with their Mothers. And, there is no swordfighting, in a literal sense.
Business as Usual drops into the world of Can-Am, a large corporate consulting firm on the verge of collapse. Jim, the ambivalently ambitious rising star who is still feeling the pull of his "slacker years" (and dating the Senior Partner's daughter) is drawn into a scheme with Jake, the managing junior partner, respected consultant and published business author, to manipulate the betting on the Employee of the Year award. Sounds simple enough. But, things quickly spiral out of control as the decisions made, or not made in this case, have consequences neither of them contemplated. Never bogging down, the story sweeps us through about a week in the lives of the characters and leaves most of the resolution outside of the end.
Jake is adverse to conflict. He would rather obfuscate the issues and through the confusion act like the problem is solved. Jim, while not afraid of conflict, is content to let things slide to the point that someone else initiates it.