Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn't Want You to Know---and What to Do About Them” as Want to Read:
Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn't Want You to Know---and What to Do About Them
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn't Want You to Know---and What to Do About Them

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  589 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Cynthia Shapiro is a former Human Resources executive who's pulling back the curtain on the way that companies really work. In Corporate Confidential, she unmasks startling truths and what you can do about them, including:

* There's no right to free speech in the workplace.
*Age discrimination exists.
* Why being too smart is not too smart.
* Human Resources is not there to he
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Griffin
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Corporate Confidential, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Corporate Confidential

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  589 ratings  ·  70 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn't Want You to Know---and What to Do About Them
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
A great outline of corporate inside. Well, a number of it is widely known but still when bluntly put in a book this makes a whole lot more impact.

'Did you know that maternity/medical leave is not really “protected?” That lawsuits are stacked against employees? That performance-review systems are inherently flawed? That expense reports hide a secret test? Or that most people make a mistake when asking for a raise or promotion that kills their chances of getting it? Now you will.' (c)

There are
Jason Gordon
Dec 23, 2015 rated it liked it
I read this book on the recommendation of my goodreads friend Rod Hilton. Rod states that the book basically confirms the worst suspicions about corporations. It does a little bit more than that. The book explains how to use and exploit that knowledge you have about these terrible dictatorships to your advantage (i.e. getting to the top and making the changes you want to see; aka working within the system). The book is marketed to those cynics who refuse to play the corporate game, to encourage ...more
Mar 25, 2011 rated it liked it
So the game DOES have rules. I just thought they were evil for the sport of it. What if I don't want to play the game?" What if I want to change the rules?

This is a great manual for finally understanding how corporate culture works. And it does have prescriptions for what ails you. The problem is that finding out that all your paranoia is justified really turns your stomach against wanting to play this game anymore. A lot of this stuff won't work for me because I've already been branded but what
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a must read book for those working in the corporate world.

Basically the gist of it is that just because you work in a good company does not mean everyone will want you to succeed. The way you dress, the way you talk, the way you behave within your office is all seen by someone. The HR is not there to protect you but rather is there to protect the company. You can file a grievance of some sort and they will listen to you but as soon as you do, you will be put on a special list that says
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Biggest take home message: Your job is to keep your job. Coming from an HR background, I was intrigued by this book. The advice is truly valuable to anyone who wants to thrive in the job they've got or move on to bigger and better things. If you people are passing you on the way up the ladder and you think you're doing everything right, you should read this book. ...more
Mar 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is essential if you work in a traditional office environment. It will help you avoid the landmines of office politics and stay sane in the workplace. Highly recommend!
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A no-frills book, to be read especially by those who are at the start of their career.
Since the author is a former human resources executive and vice president, it has been written from an insider's perspective on the inner workings of the Corporate (HR) machinery.

Key insights:
• One of a human-resource department’s secret objectives is to remove these unwanted employees while legally protecting the company. And most are very good at it. There are ways a company can remove you so you never know w
Gabriel Rondelli
Inspiring book to help you on your career path

After reading this book you will have gained the proper tools and mindset to be a good employee, without the overhead of unwanted behaviour. It’s actually a work-with-yourself kind of book where you strip all the waste of bad character and enforce what really means to be a professional.

I highly recommend this book.
Farnoosh Brock
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business-spirit
Loved Cynthia Shapiro's brilliant perspective, much of which as I look back at my corporate career, rings very true, as it unfolds the mysteries of why I was getting passed over for that promotion. Sigh! A little too late but it's great to know what went wrong in the past... I bought this book because I am in deep research mode as I create my product on cracking the code to get promoted in the corporate world and wanted to read references on the topic.

It was hugely helpful and taught me much I
David Bocek
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book is sort of a legal case study summary of what not to do or do within a corporation according to the author. The crux of the book is that corporations are much more like dictatorships than democracies. HR is there to protect the "bottom line" & the company not the workers. She brings up some really great points in re to all of this. A lot of it is common sense. As an employee you have to worry about yourself. I don't agree with all of the author's views. She is definitely an anti-lawyer ...more
Aug 11, 2011 rated it liked it
A very easy and quick read. Overall an ok book with some good suggestions for people at all stages of employment, from people entering a first or new job to seasoned workers and management. I read this to get an idea of what to expect in a corporate environment, and realized that it has a decidedly negative or even cynical twist to it. The author worked in HR for 20 or so years and I would like to know what companies she worked at, because although much of this is probably true in terms of doing ...more
Nancy Day
I know HR professionals aren’t perfect and many are poorly trained and ineffective, creating only administrative burdens and no real gains for organizations. But there are many business-minded, strategically-oriented HR professionals. This author writes only of the former and intimates that all HR people are out to get you - the worker. Being a professor or HR, I hoped this book would provide some good, realistic, and objective perspectives on HR I could share in my teaching. Instead, it’s a one ...more
Dec 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
A former human resource executive at an unnamed corporation tells what it takes to succeed in the corporate world. You should bend over to your boss, never complain to the HR, never bring your personal life to work, and demonstrate your loyalty to the company every which way. Demonstrating superior skills is not necessary: anyone can be trained in the skills, but not everyone is loyal to his employer.
Apr 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
this's a really good source to find out the secrets your company doesn't want you to know.

i read the books in a week and well... it really inspired my style of working in a giant company..

never trust your HRD people!
Mar 19, 2012 rated it liked it
This is the sort of book that those just entering the workforce should have to read! Wish I'd known some of these things without having figured them out the hard way. Valuable information for those who want to know what it takes to really move up at work. ...more
Stacey Brewer
Jan 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Read this before you talk to HR!
Apr 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
You’ve got to read this book if want to accelerate your career in the company, at least didn’t fired without know the reason….
Apr 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Pretty cynical, but honest
Before you sign the employment contract, read this book, first and foremost. Take it from me, it'll save you a boatload of needless headaches.

Giving this one: 5 stars
There's about 50% of very good content in here. One of the best parts arrives at the end, and is relative to management - good managers work more bottom-up than top-down, and their priority should be to filter the good ideas that come from the bottom and clear the way for them to reach the top; they should also be especially careful not to be top-down or even just too active the first weeks they get the position, but rather to feel the surroundings and just listen. These advices actually seem to ...more
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was definitely interesting in having me think about the corporate job from a different perspective, but I found a lot of the content to be so cynical to the point of almost-paranoia. Undoubtedly with writing a book aimed at exposing what you shouldn't know, it makes sense that the points would err on the pessimistic side. It's quality food for thought in understanding how your actions can appear in the workplace -- I just don't know if I agree to the extent of what Shapiro advocates. F ...more
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well this book is a real hoot! As enjoyable as the gossip you are not supposed to be indulging in around the water cooler. The advice is directed to people just starting out in the work world. Most of it is stuff I've figured out along the way, thankfully, but it's still a fun and useful read. I would give this to any young person at the beginning of his/her career, especially those who are unrealistically idealistic, or those who tend to be unaware of what is going on, but unspoken, around them ...more
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This is very leveled and cool headed description of corporate America. From the point of view of employers. How they view themselves, how they view their employees and what do they want from their employees.
The book describes common traps and pitfalls. Dos, donts, tricks and shortcuts. This is MUST read for all millennials out there who view themselves as innovators and d'Artagnans that gonna fix corporate life.

And man I wish they've attached this book as a required reading to get a work permi
Shawn Headley
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book that gives advice that cuts away the niceties of polite society and talks about how things really work. This is the morpheus red pill of how companies and HR departments actually operate. It allows you to step into their psychological frame work and see why they make the decisions they do on which employees to fast track and which to relegate to toiling obscurity. Worth a read for any young adult moving into the corporate environment of capitalist America.
Mar 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was a hard book for me to read, mostly because I saw a lot of the things I've done wrong at my previous jobs and thought it was embarrassing to read about. But in a way, it was good to read about them since I now know I'm not the only one that has made those types of mistakes. I feel like I'm the most prepared for my new job after reading this book and getting the advice the author had to share about the many topics they covered. ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'd say that this is required reading for anyone corporate America. It's shocking at times, but after reading it, you'll understand the rationale for why corporate politics are the way they are. Negativity is a career killer. Relationships matter, especially your relationship with your boss. Protect your reputation; it can be more important than your work product. ...more
Michael Nemtsev
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Corporate unspoken rules

A good overview of common unspoken corporate rules from HR perspective. There are also of eye opening facts that become known on executive level and which I wish i knew before to fast track my career
Jun 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, business
probs most interesting tidbit to me was where she mentioned how an external promotion can be easier than internal promotion because everyone has different expectations & the relationship of you with your stakeholders will change. Also, they may be promoting you for you to fail.
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Discussion of layoffs, company values, and presentation of self at work feel a bit outdated, or maybe not as applicable in the tech world. I think a lot of the other tips are good reminders but mostly things I’ve been told already by friends/coworkers/family.
Not entirely sure how accurate the tips are in this book but good reminders/guidance overall on both being an effective employee and manager, especially helpful for those new to the corporate world or don't have a lot of experience. ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
In the know... 1 5 May 14, 2014 06:46AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • HBR Guide to Office Politics
  • Secrets to Winning at Office Politics: How to Achieve Your Goals and Increase Your Influence at Work
  • Designing Data-Intensive Applications
  • Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress
  • Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter
  • Concierge Confidential: The Gloves Come Off—and the Secrets Come Out! Tales from the Man Who Serves Millionaires, Moguls, and Madmen
  • Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models
  • South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias
  • The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression
  • Moto: The Cookbook
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • Wreck This Journal: Now in Color
  • Rx
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cigars
  • Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families
  • The Bible for Dummies
  • Body Language For Dummies
  • Le Code Québec
See similar books…

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »

Related Articles

  Luvvie Ajayi Jones—author, cultural critic, digital entrepreneur—might be best described as a professional truthteller. Her crazily popular...
50 likes · 0 comments
“When you're speaking to HR, no matter how friendly they may seem, you're still speaking to an agent of the corporation, with all that this implies. The very fact that you've chosen to give the information to an agent of the company means the information belongs to the company.” 1 likes
More quotes…