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Mission Statement for Zephyr Holdings, Incorporated:

"Zephyr Holdings aims to build and consolidate leadership
positions in its chosen markets, forging profitable growth
opportunities by developing strong relationships between internal
and external business units and coordinating a strategic,
consolidated approach to achieve maximum returns for its

Sound like a lot of corporate buzzwords? Confusing business
double-speak? Well, welcome to Zephyr Holdings, a Seattle-based
business where a lot of empty verbiage thinly veils the fact that
no one really knows exactly what the company does. Stephen Jones is
the hapless but inquisitive pawn in Max Barry's hilarious third
novel, COMPANY.

Right from the start, Jones realizes that Zephyr isn't your typical
company. The floors are reversely numbered from top to bottom,
floor 20 being the Lobby: "They say it's motivational," he's told.
The beautiful receptionist, whom he admires from afar, drives a
sports car and yet hardly ever seems to do any work. No one has
ever seen the C.E.O., not to mention the fact that no one has ever
been allowed to meet with Senior Management on the second floor.
Has anyone even been to the second floor? And if you show up for
the Monday morning meeting, and there's no donut for you, well, you
might want to get your resume in order because you're about to be
fired. Jones must suffer co-workers like Elizabeth, a ruthless
sales representative who has been at the sales game a little too
long: "If Elizabeth's brain was a person, it would have scars,
tattoos, and be missing an eye. If you saw it coming, you would
cross the street."

Jones is not about to sit quietly at his desk and take all this in
stride. He wants answers --- answers to questions like "What
exactly does this company do?" But when he tries to probe
deeper into what Zephyr Holding Company actually "holds," what he
finds is anything but business as usual. In a bitingly comic twist,
Barry expertly satirizes the true nature of office work in today's

COMPANY is a must-read for fans of the television show "The Office"
or Mike Judge's 1999 film Office Space, or for anyone who
has found themselves floundering in a sea of corporate buzzwords
and endless meetings. Barry spent years working as a nameless cog,
deep "within the bowels" of Hewlett Packard, and has used his
experiences in this witty, scathingly funny send-up of contemporary
corporate culture.


Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on December 28, 2010

by Max Barry

  • Publication Date: March 13, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN-10: 1400079373
  • ISBN-13: 9781400079377