Judith Wright's Reviews > The New Yorker Book of Business Cartoons

The New Yorker Book of Business Cartoons by Robert Mankoff
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Oct 16, 10

bookshelves: nonfiction
Read on October 16, 2010

In The New Yorker Book of Business Cartoons, cartoonists such as Robert Mankoff, Lee Lorenz and Leo Cullum, show the worst and most unflattering depictions of business life. For the most part they hit the head on the nail. They showcase every stereotype from avoiding taxes to the idea of women working in business (oh, the horror!). But does The New Yorker Book of Business Cartoons help one become a better manager or administrator? More than likely, no, but hey, everyone loves to look at cartoons!
Since I am not motivated by the changes in the Dow or how to write off a trip to Jamaica as a business expense, I was not exactly too thrilled with the cartoons. I am sure someone who is part of this corporate world could relate to these satirical comics. For the most part the cartoons depict corporate businesses and conglomerates, but there are few average ‘office’ types, usually depicting mindless employees working at a cubicle. They are so busy working that they do not notice their co-worker has been dead for some time and all that remains is his skeleton.
For the most part, the subject topics are pretty fixed. The most popular themes are women in business, avoiding taxes, IRS, and the loss/gain of profits. The cartoons are meant to depict the worst of the worst, which could help you become a better manager…if you are initially fearful of women in the workplace and/or determined to avoid paying taxes. In the forward for the book, current editor of The New Yorker, David Remnick, said it best when he wrote, “The New Yorker’s cartoonists, each in his or her own way, have seized on the business world and found laughter in its codes, clichés, rivalries, desperations, vanities, anxieties, and power relations.”
Overall, The New Yorker Book of Business Cartoons is a humorous read that most business people will enjoy, but I do not think you should base your managerial theories off of it. The characters and situations portrayed are put in The New Yorker because they are the worst of the worst. The actions of the characters can definitely teach you to be more aware of your situation and the people around you, but some of the lessons of the comics are just plain common sense. Then again common sense is not common.
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