Series: Dilbert: Business #2
Also in this series: The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century, The Dilbert Principle: A Cubicle's-Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management Fads & Other Workplace Afflictions, The Joy of Work: Dilbert's Guide to Finding Happiness at the Expense of Your Co-Workers, Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel
Published by HarperBusiness on October 8th 1996
Genres: Nonfiction, Humour
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Behind the closed doors of corporate management lurks a manifesto so devious, so insidious, and of such diabolic power, it has the ability to transform normal human beings into paradigm–spewing zombies. Its purpose: to help bosses stick it to their employees. Its author: none other than Dogbert, the canine corporate consultant out to rule the world.
All too often, new managers make mistakes such as rewarding good work with good pay, communicating clearly and improving departmental efficiency. Dogbert shows that this could have devastating consequences: Employees begin to expect fair treatment and compensation, productive workers show results (making managers look bad by comparison), and the department's future budget allotment could be decreased because it spends only what it needs.
Drawing from his years of experience tormenting Dilbert and advising his boss, our Machiavellian mutt uses pithy essays, illustrated by scores of comic strips, to teach neophyte managers such potent practices as:
The power of verbal instructions: Sound like a boss while maintaining complete deniability!
Empty promises of promotion: all the motivational benefits, none of the costs!
Pretending to care: Learn how to hear without listening!
Incentives: Inspire employees by giving them worthless knickknacks!
Once again firmly establishing Scott Adams as the spokesman for the absurdities of the workplace (and Dogbert as the guru of sticking it to the masses), Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook is the perfect gift for all cubicle dwellers and their bosses.
This book is very different from the others. It is in the style of a handbook, so there aren’t page numbers, but there are sections and subsections. It includes a number of comics in each section, as usual, but there are no personal anecdotes, which sort of makes sense because this is coming from Dogbert and not Scott. It is also a bit more cynical than the rest, because while the other books only hint at the incompetence of management incidentally, often just one of the many problems contributing to the messed-up corporate world, this book focuses on it solely. You’d think that it would be one giant joke, but a lot of this stuff is pretty factual on the surface-level. It sounds reasonable, anyway, until you get into the subheadings and lists which are obviously poking fun. I mean, a lot of that too is true, but like, stuff that people wouldn’t admit openly. And maaaaybe a tad darker than what most people think. Also, there are a few moments in this book that are definitely politically incorrect, but I’ve seen those in the other books so it’s not super unexpected. It’s just always a bit of a brief shock because most of the humour is harmless fun. I mean, 98% of his jokes come from capitalizing on the stupidity of others. Or just calling people stupid. Which is generally pretty hilarious.
Hmmm. I didn’t laugh at this one as much as I have at the others, and I’m trying to figure out why. Perhaps because so many of the main ideas have been stated at some point or another in the other books. Or maybe it feels like he’s trying to make too much out of an issue that may be best as only a part of his other books on how bad company cultures are. Or maybe I’ve become so desensitized to his brand of humour that only the truly unexpected things make me laugh out loud. I will admit, I was cracking up at one part towards the end where he was on a roll. So with that plus good comics, it’s worth a read because it’s quick enough.
reaction upon finishing
Oho, that one part was funny…
this book in one word