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Picks and Pans Review: Claw Your Way to the Top

updated 10/06/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/06/1986 01:00AM

by Dave Barry

As the subtitle—"How to Become the Head of a Major Corporation in Roughly a Week"—suggests, this is not another one of those executive self-help books. Not a real one, anyway, though parodying those volumes is hard since they're often close to self-parody to start with. Barry, however, is experienced at this kind of thing. His syndicated newspaper column, a nonpolitical cousin to Art Buchwald's, is consistently funny. In this volume he addresses topics vital to the would-be corporate honcho. One is "Do you have to be scum to get ahead?" (The answer: "Even in this dog-eat-dog, highly competitive world, you can be a decent human being and still attain a career position where you kneel in the Third-World dirt trying to help the wretched and diseased. But if you want to succeed in a large modern corporation, scum is definitely the way to go.") He also offers tips on job interviews. When the interviewer says, "Tell me, Bob, why are you interested in coming to work for us?" Barry advises the self-confident answer, "Who wants to know?" He is even considerate enough to offer self-employment ideas for those who find themselves on the slow track: opening a store selling the "Electric Appliance Suicide Module," an automatic self-destruct mechanism for broken TV sets, for instance, or buying a "Mister Mediocre" fast-food franchise. All current high-ranking executives should, in fact, follow this book's advice, so more jobs open up for the rest of us. (Rodale, paper, $5.95)

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