Thursday, September 20, 2007

Best Novels about the Workplace

It periodically makes sense to consider which novels present revealing insights on the workplace. Fiction can often provide deeper thought than the standard volume of management lore.

Any list will be arbitrary and limited by the reading of the list-makers. [That's why the floor is open for nominations. I'm guilty of not having read Bartleby the Scrivener.]

My own quick list of nominees would be:

The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe

Something Happened by Joseph Heller

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg

All of those books, however, are dated. Are there any novels published in the past five years that provide insightful or amusing views of the workplace?


Rowan Manahan said...

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, aside from being a rollicking good read has some great descriptions of the tip-toeing around that the principals in a technology start-up have to do so as not to be hit with a negligence suit.

Plus, there is a wonderful chapter outlining a business plan in lamentably familiar, albeit hilarious, terms.

Michael Wade said...


Marvelous choice! Some of William Gibson's novels might also merit listing.

David Weisfelner said...

"E" by Matt Beaumont

Brilliant take on the nonsensical world of advertising agencies.

The entire book are all the emails over a brief period of time at an ad agency while they are pitching the global coca cola business

Michael Wade said...


I've never read that. The format alone sounds fascinating. I'll check it out.