A five-page summary of nine five-page business book summaries.

I would never have thought of putting BOOK SUMMARIES on this crappy little screen. It isn’t a comfortable reading experience. But I am doomed to work my way through three book summaries before getting bored and realizing that the “home” button on the business book summary page is not actually a button. Like whoever put together the fucking hypercard forgot to actually hook it up. It looks like a button. All the other buttons reluctantly bring me places. This one does not. I am unsurprised that nobody caught the error because I am surprised that this screen of business book summaries even exists on my rectangle.

Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy

Shuffling back from Lavatory through military graveyard of screens. One big screen? I can’t discern differences between programs. Only “adult programs” and “cartoons.” I don’t notice anyone on the STUDYplay section. STUDYplay fills my rectangle with small, dense text, two big arrows, and a windows scrollbar. Mom looks over and is like…what is that? And I am like, um, it’s a five page summary of a book on the history of corporate espionage. And she is like Huh and falls back asleep.

This book summary is LIFE CHANGING. Everything finally makes sense. DO YOU HEAR ME LUFTHANSA? I decided on YOUR plane that if I am going to give up on living the dream it will be in the most fucked up way possible. If I can’t marry rich by the time I graduate from college I will seek a career in “the secret world of corporate espionage” to support my research on “time set aside for leisure.”

The 2020 Workplace

Business books! With their irreducible logic. Randomly generated endlessly recombined ceaseless: To Making You Think You Are Learning And. About Your “Reputation Capital” And The “Acute Global Talent Shortage” And The “2020 Mindset” And Why “Crowdsourcing Is The New Outsourcing” And How To Demand A “LiLas (Lifelong Learning Account).”

Reading business book summaries is making me forget entirely what it was about business books that used to appeal to me. I remember stealing my dad’s business books when I was fourteen. They’re basically written at a middle school level. Something about finding a “blue ocean market” that nobody has touched yet. Kinda stupid. But then I started buying business books of my own! Case study after case study. Clever after clever. Smart after smart.

Something about vacation photography being a light form of work for travelers who can’t leave behind their desire to toil. Something about a fourteen year old shopping for business books??

All I know in life right now is that if a fourteen year old kid asked me for business books from a store I would say NO! You will spend the rest of your life grappling with this shit genre, kid. You know how they use Coke to remove blood from the highway? Imagine what it does to your stomach. Imagine what this does to a grownup executive. Imagine what this does to a kid. Using the feeling of being smart and clever and remembering how Seth Godin told you the world works (…and it’s not what you’re thinking! Look inside for details ;-) to remove blood from the highway.

Get a life. For if you don’t, kid, you will spend the rest of your flight grappling with these book summaries.

I don’t know why I feel like I have to keep apologizing for saying that business books are entertaining reads. You have to think about it like [unconventional way]. Is it that the books are dumb and the people who read them are making themselves stupid and the people who write them might actually be smart?


The saddest one.

This is profoundly sad, yes. Did you know:

The more you know. Where is my barf bag. What happened to barf bags? DO YOU HEAR ME LUFTHANSA?


Clear Leadership

No comment, just


Don’t remember this one. The author probably thinks they’re the next Malcom Gladwell.

The Green Workplace

Boring I want to care oh my god.


Not bad. This author might be the next Malcom Gladwell.

Total Engagement

Must’ve blacked out.

Talent Management

This author is definitely not the next Malcom Gladwell. Pass.

In conclusion: What do employees at Microsoft, Citigroup, DaimlerChrysler, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SAP, Deutsche Post, UBS, and Credit Suisse have in common?

(Sorry if you are expecting a punchline, this is not a joke.)

They all “offer their employees full access to the getAbstract library. getAbstract is the world-leading provider of business book summaries, making [their] readers some of the best-informed, most expert players on the business scene today. [Their] mission is to—[in the spirit of summarization, the rest of this sentence has been removed!]. [And they] deliver this knowledge in concise 5-page summaries of the latest, sharpest, and most relevant books.”

These are the industry tips on which business leaders are operating? We are so fucked. So, so fucked.

I had always wondered, while watching TV or whatever, who proudly cuts the checks to produce horrible, horrible things. It’s funny to think about it that way, oblivious marketers and executives excited about their latest concept. But it hit me that sometimes, maybe often, in “business situations” the wheels start turning and nobody can stop them. The steady procession of a workflow is indifferent to anything but the appearance of progress. So instead of shaking my head at imaginary proud idiots with fat checkbooks, I imagined scared-anxious-bored people gritting their teeth as they push a new yogurt commercial out of door. Then going home to their families or a bar. It met business objectives or whatever! That’s closer to how I remember things actually working.

In this summary you will learn:

  • How many phases did you go through?
  • Business books are such a shit genre.
  • At the tender age of fourteen.

Heading off for a solid month of vacation—the kind of time you can only have right after you sell the house and go online and pay off your debts and are obligated to no one for a while. “Time set aside for leisure” but my personal screen and You Will Spend The Rest Of Your Life Grappling, yes.