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Company

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3.74  ·  Rating details ·  5,816 ratings  ·  506 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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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,816 ratings  ·  506 reviews


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Trevor
Nov 30, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Greg
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
Jason Edwards
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Caiti S
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. I didn't hate it, but I expected more. Cynicism towards the absurd norms of corporate and bureaucratic institutions should be right up my alley, but I wanted it to go further--more humor, more satire, something. In the end it didn't do much to make me feel anything nor challenge the status quo at all. (It was also published in 2007, so work life has changed quite a bit in light of technology and social media, making the book feel quite dated and some of the plot implausible.)
Bill
Mar 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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
...more
Nick Iuppa
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jon
Nov 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Grumpus
Jun 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, fiction, funny
This is based upon the audio download from [http://www.Audible.com]

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
Neil
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Max Barry has quietly put together a career of writing fine satire of the modern condition. I've also read Jennifer Government, another dark comedy about a near future where corporate entities have taken control and deploy armed agents against each other... think James Bond if James was a woman and worked for Coca Cola instead of MI-6.

But I digress. This book is a spoof of workplace culture. If anything, it has become even more prescient since its publication a decade ago. In the world of Trump,
...more
Daniel
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jenny
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jason Moss
Mar 22, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Greg Zimmerman
Not bad - just kind of loses momentum in the second half. It was a funnier novel before you learn the twist.
Alan
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Human resources
Recommended to Alan by: Subsequent work
The problem with employees, you see, is everything. You have to pay to hire them and pay to fire them, and, in between, you have to pay them. They need business cards. They need computers. They need ID tags and security clearances and phones and air-conditioning and somewhere to sit. You have to ferry them to off-site team meetings. You have to ferry them home again. They get pregnant. They injure themselves. They steal. They join religions with firm views on when it's permissible to work. When
...more
Benyakir Horowitz
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I’ve been searching for books that are similar to mine for comps (namely, satire), so that’s why I picked up Company. And I liked it, but I didn’t like it either, mostly because it’s too Gen-X.

Okay, the plot. The protagonist, Steve, starts at a new company, Zephyr. There are some antics, and that’s where the book first felt wrong. It felt kinda like an episode of The Office. Given that this was written in 2005 and the author worked at HP for a long time, I’m pretty sure that’s because of me and
...more
Brooke
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
If you've ever worked in a big office environment and just loved it, like, "Oh boy, my cubicle is awesome and my management is just the BEST!"...this book is not for you. If you've ever worked in a big office environment and often looked up from your monitor, glanced around at the other drones, and thought to yourself, "Is this it? Or is there something more sinister at work? Is everyone here against me?"...this book is for you! (I am of the second variety.) Because, yes, there is more going on ...more
Mems Dù
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
An echo of what everyone else already said re: Company and a forced reminder that Lexicon is A REAL TREAT
Kris
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
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
Benjamin Solah
Sep 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael
Oct 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2006
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
Kristin
Feb 13, 2009 rated it liked it
This is March's Book Group selection

From the jacket blurb: 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 missing donuts are the cause of office intrigue. While Jones orig
...more
Alex
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jo
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: corporate-satire
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
Christine Whitney
Dec 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Cory Van Horn
Oct 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful mixture of dry humor and witty substance. Max Barry has an uncanny ability to create characters you grow to love and hate all at the same time. If you are looking for an easy read, then pour a beverage and enter Max Barry’s twisted perspective of the corporate world.
Tasula
Dec 07, 2014 rated it liked it
A satire on corporations, good but not as much fun as Lexicon (which was fabulous). Some of the characters were hard to take (e.g. Roger and his missing donut fixation). And of course many of the situations rang true to my long corporate career.
Saturday's Child
Oct 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Company could be a place I have worked for or may work for in the future. Companies such as this one could be out there. It is a witty novel that puts a smile on your face.
Jeff
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Definitely a great read for people who liked the humor in Office Space. Also a pretty cathartic read if you're as disgusted by "corporate culture" as I am :3
L.E. Truscott
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Max Barry is the king of satire and this is another in a long string of his books that deserves high praise. But the problem with satire these days is the world is so ridiculous that satire now resembles the horrible reality. So anyone who has ever had a job will read the first half of this book and recognise the hell that is being an employee.

Jones is fresh out of university with a business degree and it’s the first day of his first job as an assistant to a sales rep at a company called Zephyr.
...more
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