Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In terse prose that conveys the tensions and pell-mell pace of its business setting, Cox's entertaining new novel (after Zapp! and The Goal ) follows the course of a tumultuous personal and professional year. As manager of a Connecticut video production company, Michael produces industrial videos out of windowless basement offices called The Cave. In addition to camera operator and single mother Tanny Zoelle, his co-workers include audio, editing and engineering personnel with colorful nicknames (Redmeat, Spider, Stoney, Boner, Babe). Michael's second wife, Regan, works at Three-E, the massive electronics firm that is one of Michael's major clients but which is going through a brutal downsizing to which Regan eventually falls victim. When upper management forces Michael to fire most of his staff, he quits and, with Bob Garvey, a former Three E executive, as ally, advisor and strategist, regroups to start his own company. Then his problems increase: his marriage flags; he begins an affair with Tanny; and his business's cash flow is jeopardized by other companies' billing cycles. Brainstorming, restructuring and renaming the company gets him on his feet, and he breaks into multimedia sports equipment with a videobike. Just as the company appears to be up and running, however, Regan learns of the affair and vows to destroy Michael's future. Cox's deft amalgam of business acumen, domestic drama and a believable plot lend credence to this story about the agony and ecstasy of the capitalist life. (June)
Cox (coauthor, with William C. Byham, of the personnel management book Zapp!, Harmony: Crown, 1991) takes an ordinary themestarting your own businessand turns it into a fast-paced, fictionalized adventure. Michael DiGabriel and his entire video production department have been downsized in a large advertising agency. While drowning their sorrows in drink, this small, creative group decide to form their own production company. Cox takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of the real-life pressure of operating a small business, even including lessons on basics such as marketing, business plans, employee motivation, and inneroffice romance. This will appeal to readers in public libraries.Joel Jones, Kansas City P.L., Mo.
A cautionary taleabout an inadvertent entrepreneurthat works neither as fictional entertainment nor as a reliable guide for prospective proprietors, from the coauthor of Heroz: Empower Yourself, Your CoWorkers, Your Company (1994).
Ordered to make personnel cuts in the video-production department he heads at a midwestern ad agency, Michael DiGabriel quits and, with little support from wife Regan (a self-absorbed boomer), goes into business for himself. Despite making every mistake in the book (including unfortunate hires and an ill-advised affair with Tanny Zoelle, a key associate), the former executive (a showbiz dropout) manages to keep his fledgling firm (Archangel Productions) one step ahead of its creditors. In short order, Michael's subordinates come up with an advanced display for users of exercycles. With demand for physical-fitness goods and services booming, orders pour in for the virtual-reality system, and although cash flow remains a problem, Michael gears up for expansion. Meanwhile, Regan, who's been downsized out of a beloved job at a local defense contractor hurt by budget cutbacks, overcomes her depression and signs on to market the so-called Videobike. On a West Coast trip, she nearly sells out the company's prize product to a silver-tongued hustler who quickly enough has her in his bedand in his hand. Michael figures out what's going on in time to stop his wife from handing over programmable chips, and the two part company for good; to his greater sorrow, he loses Tanny as well. For all his lack of female companionship, though, Michael, as we last see him, is well on his way to becoming a millionaire as majority owner of a cutting-edge enterprise.
A thinly written fictionalized tract that's not of much use to anyone seeking either diversion or business inspiration.