The recession seems to have increased the number of corner-office nut cases, and the author, who uses the pseudonym Stanley Bing, has the book on all of them. Citing names and categories, the Esquire journalist ranges from the heat-seeking Bully (New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner) to the obsessive Paranoid (reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes), to the preening Narcissist (convicted junk-bond king Michael Milken), to the fascist-wimp Bureaucrazy (Secretary of State James Baker).
Of course, spotting wackos and dealing with them are two different matters. But unlike the Disaster Hunter (the example offered is former National Security Affairs assistant Robert McFarlane), Bing meets his responsibilities. Jumping ship, he counsels, is not a good solution. It can lead to "an extended period of self-examination, always a bad idea for those past the age of 24." The most effective strategies include silence, bogus friendship, calmness in the face of hysteria and, on occasion, good old-fashioned hate like mother used to make. As Bing points out in this witty survival kit, "The greatest power you have is your sanity. Rational thought and action, pursued with boldness, and when necessary, ruthlessness, is a mighty hammer." (Morrow, $20)