A revealing picture of what it is like to be managed... a chuckle on almost every page... many uproarious scenes... something for everyone involved in an office culture. Financial Times

Mole's words, and those of the people he met, are far more valuable than fashionable theorists. Anyone who has ever worked in an office will find the book hilariously funny. Punch

Why do people work? What makes them happy? What makes them productive?

John Mole was the general manager of an international bank – with an MBA from INSEAD, Europe's most prestigious business school, an MA from Oxford University and considerable knowledge of the textbooks of management theory

Then he took a series of temporary jobs to see for himself how the grass roots reality of business culture matched up to the theories about it. On his first day he was fired for incompetence from a job he had hired people to do when he was a manager.

Sometimes poignant, constantly surprising, often hilariously funny, it gives a mole's eye view of a slice of life that occupies most of the waking hours of millions of people. Anyone who needs to know about the management of people will find much to learn and to laugh at in this unique book.


Sink or swim
When I was ten years old I sent sixpence off to the Rover comic for a booklet on 'Learning To Swim At Home'. First you practised treading water in front of the bedroom mirror. Then you did the arm movements. For the leg movements and breathing you lay on the bed. Having mastered the basic techniques you lay on your stomach on a dining room chair and put it all together. The butterfly was the hardest to do without falling on the floor. Theoretical swimming had many advantages apart from not getting wet. Twenty lengths on the chair was good exercise. It was enjoyable. You learned something. It improved your self-confidence when you went to the beach. But it was no help at all when you went in the water.
When I worked in a bank most management books I read and courses I went on were like this. Theories of organisation, motivation, planning, influencing, assertiveness and leadership did not seem to fit the real world. Some years ago I quit my job as General Manager of a branch of an international bank to write full-time. But I still wondered what it was like to be on the receiving end of the management techniques I read about and tried to put into practise. So I went back to work at the lowest level of the kind of businesses I used to manage. The result is a kind of travel book, a journey through another country with its strange peoples and customs.