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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  3,870 ratings  ·  385 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 338 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Vintage (first published January 17th 2006)
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Max Barry's Company is a corporate satire for those that might find Douglas Coupland a bit too challenging.

One of the many problems with humorous satires (oh there are many, the number one problem being tied between them not being very astute and not being funny) is that once the premise (joke, social observation) is set up then the author has to make a book out of it. Like just about every movie made that is based on a Saturday Night Live skit, there is painful a realization, which comes about...more
This book could have been so good - but wasn't.

Anyone who has worked anywhere in the last 20 years will recognise, with some pain, stuff written here - the nightmares of quality improvement plans, the language mangling this is ‘mission statements’ and the feeling that work has become an experiment performed on us by our less than benevolent overlords – all of this ought to have made for a very funny book. You know, in the all-too-uncomfortable sense that we laugh and cry about the same things....more
Bill Eberle
I wanted to like this book, just like I wanted to like Jennifer Government but ultimately it fails and for the same reasons. There's just no depth here. Maybe I shouldn't look for any, just accept it as light-hearted satire. Still, the entire story line feels contrived, existing only to point out truths that we all know anyway: big corporations don't care about their employees. Maybe if just one senior manager was given a small amount of depth, rising above the expensive suit-wearing, golf-playi...more
Jason Edwards
I really enjoy corporate cubicle fiction, for some reason. Books like Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris, and I’ll even include Last Night at the Brain Thieves Ball by Scott Spencer. Company is sort of a mix of these, in as much as there’s the petty politics of working in a cube farm, and a deeper conspiracy fueling the intrigue. Don’t read Company if you feel good about the corporation you work for and don’t want that feeling challenged. Calling Max Barry "cynical" is like calling Microso...more
If you've ever worked in a large corporate environment, you'll recognize the characters in the book. And you'll laugh about it. Or you'll smirk.
You've read another big corporation satire, and maybe you'll give it to someone else who works in a large corporation, as if to say, "Look, corporate life IS stupid. Just because we buy into it every day doesn't mean that we're a part of it." Maybe you'll add a "LOL" to the end. Or say L-O-L, which you'll (hopefully) regret saying later. And that's it....more
Christopher Litsinger
Anyone who has worked in corporate bureaucracy would find something to laugh about in this book; which tells the story of a company that exists only as a research lab for the authors of the "Omega Management System". This should give you a good idea of the book's tone:
There are stories — legends, really — of the “steady job.” Old-timers gather graduates around the flickering light of a computer monitor and tell stories of how the company used to be, back when a job was for life, not just for th
This is based upon the audio download from []

Narrated by: William Dufris

There have been various comments about this reader…either love him or hate him. I happily align with the former.

Since there are many other sources for a review of the book, I’ll comment only what makes this different, the reader. With so many characters in the story, I found different voices the reader used for each helpful and delightful in the reading of this very clever story.

I rate William Dufris...more
I thought this succeeded for the same basic reason that Barry's previous novel, "Jennifer Government," failed: In "Government," he was so busy sketching a macro-world with broad strokes that he didn't have any creative energy left over for the actual characters, and so nearly all of them came off as wooden and unidimensional (none more so than the five stock villains with the same last name, as part of the book's central conceit). With "Company," by sticking closer to what he knows (he worked at...more
You may remember when I read Machine Man by Max Barry and I remember it being enjoyable. I decided I need something lighthearted to read right now and what better than some crafty satire.

This is the story of a strange Company in which nobody really knows what the company does and everyone’s job sort of folds back into the company. The sales reps sell training packages to the rest of the departments. Infrastructure management charges everyone for management in the building, charging departments f...more
Ah, office life. So rife for parody. So fertile with corporate absurdity. Where mankind's unique lunacies are simultaneously coddled and dismissed. The things that make us uncomfortable and disgruntled are handled with pig-skin gloves and ice tongs, and the things that make us excited and content are considered extraneous to the bottom line. Where back sides are so well-covered that they're almost impossible to kiss. Is there any better fodder for literature, television, or movies?

Joshua Ferris'...more
With Company, author Max Barry, writes a fine entry in contemporary satirical business writing. As silly a genre as that sounds like it is a well populated one, with The Office (both versions) and Parks and Recreation and even The Crimson Permanent Assurance (the short film in front of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life about a company in the middle of a takeover which suddenly turns into a pirate ship/building and assaults their new bosses with the weapons available to any average office worker...more
For want of a doughnut, a company is reorganized pretty much sums up Max Barry’s latest novel Company.

If the premise sounds absurd, you’re right. But just like the corporate world, a single dougnut brings about the decline and fall of a company. It serves as a catalyst for the absurdity that can be and is corporate life.

What Jennifer Government did for the advertising industry, Company does for corporate life. But where Company trumps Jennifer is that the story follows a single protagonist in th...more
Benjamin Solah
Company by Max Barry is set in a milieu that I love to explore, the corporate office world. It’s full of office politics; the mundane and the ambiguous. I’ve often been fascinated with the world. And this novel explores it in hilarious and thought provoking fashion.

The story is about Jones, a new employee at Zephr Holdings who cannot work out exactly what the company does other than the deals and interactions between of the various departments. The question is what Zephr really does and Jones go...more
Jason Moss
For the first 100 pages, I was thinking to myself, "Genius! This is a rip-roaring, laugh-out-loud (in the literal sense of the phrase), spot-on scalding satire of corporate culture. Each of author Max Barry's initial poison-tipped arrows hit the corporate bulls-eye...the use of the elevator buttons to visualize the corporate hierarchy; the inanity of corporate voice-mail; the over-confidence of MBAs; the invisibility of the CEO; the meaninglessness of the company mission statement; or the aimles...more
Not just another post-Gervais office politics novel, not some bullshit Nick Hornby light-reading, summer-holiday, man-with-a-heart-of-gold-finds-love-in-a-world-he-never-made thing.. well maybe it's a little like that, but it's more about wondering what exactly the company you work for actually does, what lays beyond the board meeting door, and what dividing people into increasingly meaningless departments does to them as companies get bigger and bigger and more ambiguous.

Company is funny, rela...more
I have read this book a number of times. I enjoy it, each and every time. I love the incisive satire of modern businesses and the ridiculous business models and practices companies embrace to be "better." I love the characters, who are swept up into the madness and yet smart enough to know that they are being swept into madness and that they are someone else outside of work. I love the character of Eve, a true sociopath, and yet the author makes you care about her. I love that there aren't easy...more
I read this novel in a single sitting. Seriously. There wasn’t a single part of the book that I didn’t enjoy. The characters are realistic, the plot is eerily plausible, and the twist is unexpected enough to be entertaining, without coming completely out of left field. But I still felt strangely… unfulfilled.

It took me quite a while to figure out why. It's interesting, it's well written, and the premise is great. But...

I think, in the end, it felt somewhat claustrophobic (which may have been the...more
I really enjoyed it. It falls into my Fun/ Fluff/ Vacation read category. I found it very entertaining and perhaps in part since I work for a STATE Government...
Part of me frankly wondered if I in fact actually do have a real job. Reorganizations are par for the course as are unexplained and bizarre mandates for no apparent rational reason (in the book, as at my job). Management is removed and out of touch with the peons...
Is this what people with "real jobs" experience?

Portions of the book a...more
Max Barry is a fine crafter of slightly futuristic dystopian novels (well, I hope they’re futuristic) that provide sharp parodies of contemporary corporate culture; the last of his I read featured Hack Nike, a renegade marketing staffer of a well-known sportswear company pursued by Jennifer Government, agent of the state….. and yes, all characters had surnames provided by their employers.

In this entertaining but far from demanding outing we find ourselves in Zephyr Holdings, a company up with t...more
**Contains Spoilers, Probably because I can't really tell the difference at the moment**

Company was a strange book. Like nothing I would ever usually read, but I think going into this book I was expecting something a little different. Perhaps if I was expecting nothing (which was pretty hard, since I read Lexicon by Max Barry and absolutely loved it) I might have enjoyed this book more. It took about half of the book for me to really get into it, though the second half was amazing.

The story for...more
This probably isn't t the book for everyone, but it certainly pleased me. I enjoyed the biting satire, the silly exaggerations, and most of all, the unflinching truths about how corporations really work. This story is all about employees, and how they are treated; in this case, more like "resources" than people. The "company" is enormous, with many different departments remaining completely unaware of each others' doings. No one, not even the long-time employees, have a clue what the company act...more
I basically enjoyed this, but the last chapter felt rushed and unnecessary. It was like those end montages of movies where they write text on the screen about what everyone is doing now. I'd rather it had just ended before "April."
Luis Fernando Franco
Las descripciones de la vida corporativa son maravillosas. Los primeros capítulos te hacen reir, porque si trabajas en una gran corporación seguramente verás reflejada la patética realidad: trabajos sin sentido, gerentes que creen que son los dueños de las vidas de los empleados, política empresarial, discusiones bizantinas por pequeñísimos problemas, puñaladas por la espalda, las promociones a los incompetentes o las amistades, las arqueotípicas personalidades de los diferentes trabajadores, et...more
While I enjoyed reading this book, it didn't make me laugh as much or put me through as many emotions as I had hoped it would, given how much I loved Max Barry's debut novel, Syrup, and given the reviews I'd read about Company prior.

The two biggest takeaways I had after finishing Company were:
1. Syrup is to Company as the Fountainhead is to Atlas Shrugged.
2. I liked Syrup more than Company.

I mostly enjoyed the story--sometimes the plot felt slow, though it is also possible that Max Barry desc...more
Diego González
Sátira de los libros corporativos de autoayuda del palo "Quién se ha llevado mi queso". De hecho, el inicio del libro es básicamente un "Quién se ha llevado mi donut" durante unas cuantas páginas. Barry le da un repaso a lo peor de la condición humana sometida a la presión laboral, y nos recuerda que como curritos de medio pelo somos ratas en un laberinto cuyo recorrido no conocemos, y ni siquiera entendemos. Novela sin buenos ni malos ni moraleja (eso es bueno), se deja leer fácil, y tiene mome...more
Jamie Whitman
I have had the good fortune to be able to read several very funny books lately. I recently borrowed Good Omens and Hitchhiker's Guide from the library. Both fantastic. But where these rely on the humor of the absurd, Max Barry's humor lies in the absurdity of the mundane. It's one of the funniest books I've read, but maybe I'm biased because I'm partial to corporate satire. Needless to say I got pretty darn excited over the Stanley Parable-esque scenes of office doors opening on their own in the...more

I won't say I bought this because of "Jennifer Government," I'm pretty sure I bought this one before I read that one, but I bought "Government" first and thus Max was on my radar when he showed up in the discount bin.


The book has its moments, don't get me wrong, (the bit about the advantages of the network dying --being killed is more accurate, though--is a high-point) but like the movie "Falling Down" It looses its internal compass about half-way through and starts wandering. I can'...more
Jim Loter
On the plus side: this book was mentioned during a meeting at work (a meeting that would, in fact, not have felt out of place if it were in this book) and I was able to flip open my iPad, find it available as an eBook at my public library, download it for free, and start reading it on the bus ride home that day. So, public libraries are awesome!

On the negative side: Well, OK, this is not all wholly negative. The Goodreads definition of 2-stars is "It was OK," and this book was just that ... OK....more
Company was clearly written to be a satire of the corporate world. Unfortunately, it fails to be funny and ends up being depressing. I don't recommend it and to be honest I wish I hadn't wasted a whole Saturday afternoon reading it.

I didn't mind that the events and management strategies described in the novel were so over-the-top - that kind of writing can work very well in satire (see Neal Stephenson's The Big U as an example - indeed, I expected Company to be very much like The Big U, but of c...more
Derek Cook
Dec 20, 2011 Derek Cook rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like "The Office" tv series...maybe
NOTE: This review pertains to the audiobook version.

I had high hopes for this one. I somehow missed out that this book was satirical, but, even in that context, the plot of "Company" was inane and meandered through 80% of the book until it rapidly came together in a slightly satisfying finish. Even for satire, the themes were so implausible and the characters so barely interesting that even proceeding with the book at times was a chore. (Had I not had just given up on my last book fo...more
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“There's no requirement that jobs be meaningful. If there was, half the country would be unemployed.” 28 likes
“Elizabeth is smart, ruthless, and emotionally damaged ... [i]f Elizabeth's brain was a person, it would have scars, tattoos, and be missing one eye.” 16 likes
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