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Company (Vintage Contemporaries)

Company (Vintage Contemporaries) [Kindle Edition]

Max Barry
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Stephen Jones is a shiny new hire at Zephyr Holdings. From the outside, Zephyr is just another bland corporate monolith, but behind its glass doors business is far from usual: the beautiful receptionist is paid twice as much as anybody else to do nothing, the sales reps use self help books as manuals, no one has seen the CEO, no one knows exactly what they are selling, and missing donuts are the cause of office intrigue. While Jones originally wanted to climb the corporate ladder, he now finds himself descending deeper into the irrational rationality of company policy. What he finds is hilarious, shocking, and utterly telling.

From the Trade Paperback edition.


On his first day of training, Stephen Jones, a young recruit, reports to the Zephyr Holding Building, where he finds a company defined by its lack of clarity, a building numbered in reverse, an invisible CEO, and a crisis over the theft of a donut.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 484 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (13 Mar 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OI0FMG
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #201,314 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars crisis involving the theft of a donut 28 Sep 2005
By A Customer
Nestled among Seattle's skyscrapers, The Zephyr Holdings Building is a bleak rectangle topped by an orange-and-black logo that gives no hint of Zephyr's business. Lack of clarity, it turns out, is Zephyr's defining characteristic. The floors are numbered in reverse. No one has ever seen the CEO or glimpsed his office on the first (i.e., top) floor. Yet every day people clip on their ID tags, file into the building, sit at their desks, and hope that they're not about to be outsourced.
Stephen Jones, a young recruit with shoes so new they squeak, reports for his first day in the Training Sales Department and finds it gripped by a crisis involving the theft of a donut. In short order, the guilty party is identified and banished from the premises and Stephen is promoted from assistant to sales rep. He does his best to fit in with his fellow workers-among them a gorgeous receptionist who earns more than anyone else, and a sales rep who's so emotionally involved with her job that she uses relationship books as sales manuals-but Stephen is nagged by a feeling that the company is hiding something. Something that explains why when people are fired, they are never heard from again; why every manager has a copy of the Omega Management System; and most of all, why nobody in the company knows what it does.
Both of Max's last books kept me up reading into the wee early hours and I am hopping up and down in anticipation of his next General Smedley Butler'n adventure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maxx You've Done It Again 17 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you've ever worked at any office job, then this is the book for you. I still think I'm in it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dripping with cynical wit 23 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A fantastic pseudo fantasy look at the world of corporate life with twists and turns and a plot so unbelievable it could almost be true.

The writing sparkles and shows the authors past as a clearly a very misanthropic colleague in a very apathetic company.

Looking for advice on how to be an effective manager, throw away the guides and just read this...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Out on the look horizon 10 April 2014
By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Company is another one of those novels about a dystopian company with fearsome bosses, mindless bureaucratic processes and subjugated staff. In this case, Zephyr is a company with an orange corporate colour, an office building with the floors numbered from top to bottom, and a senior management that nobody has ever seen. There are slogans, superstitions and arguments about missing doughnuts. There are protocols about who sits where, with training sales team on one side of the great partition (aka The Berlin Wall) and their assistants sat the other side. Enter stage left, a new employee, Jones, who imagines that it doesn't have to be this way. Even more dangerously, he tries to find the meaning behind Zephyr's mission statement.

It's a bit of a me-too novel. The great corporate conspiracy, the satire on office politics, the naked greed of corporate America - it has all been done before (e.g. Iain Banks, Scarlett Thomas, Rupert Thompson). But Company is a reasonable addition to the canon. Max Barry is a good story teller although his achilles heel is that he can't do endings. In this case, the ending is as chaotic as all his others but is mercifully short. His characters are unashamedly cartoony stereotypes and his plot is incredible (actually, probably impossible). But his ideas are interesting and conveyed with humour.

As holiday reading, Company was amiable ... er... company for a couple of days. But don't expect it to change your horizons.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Truly awful. 25 Mar 2014
By Del
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A real shame, since Jennifer Government was excellent. This book is unreadable, and reads as if someone who has never worked in an office wrote it. Cringe-worthy with banal characters and stereotypical cliches from the outset, I threw it across the room in disgust after just a few pages.

It is, however, just the right height to jam under my door to keep it open.
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In essence, the company is quickly reduced to the incompetent and the corrupt. &quote;
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Last month we had to sit through a presentation on eliminating redundancy, and it was a bunch of PowerPoint slides, plus a guy reading out what was on the slides, and then he gave us all hard copies. &quote;
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“These chimps, they're in a cage, and the scientists poke in a banana on a stick. The chimps try to grab it, but as soon as they do, the scientists electrify the floor, so all the chimps get a shock. This goes on until the chimps learn that touching a banana equals electric shock. Right? Then the scientists take one chimp out and put in a new one. This chimp, when he goes to grab the banana, he gets beaten up by all the others, because they don't want to get shocked. You see?” &quote;
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