Bonehead co-worker is all too real
Amy Joiner - Greensboro News & Record

If you work in an office, chances are you know a T. John Dick.
He's a pompous, clueless company man more concerned with following silly procedures than with serving the customer. He's a klutz, a climber and a crackpot. But, boy, he's amusing.
Dick is the narrator of Augustus Gump's debut novel, "The Management secrets of T. John Dick." (Gump is the pen name for Gavin Sinclair, a Scotsman, who now lives in Conover.)
Imagine if the pointy haired Boss from Dilbert wrote his own version of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," and you have an idea of the type of facetious advice offered in "The Management Secrets of T. John Dick."
Still, it's a laugh-out-loud-funny book because Dick, though meant to be a parody of corporate wonks is all too real. (I unfortunately have worked with people just like him. No one at my current workplace, of course...)
Author Sinclair spent 15 years working as a product manager at electronic manufacturing companies in Europe and Hickory. And that apparently provided him plenty of fodder for his satirical account of life at the top of the corporate ladder.
The aptly named Dick is "an amalgam of all the boneheads I've worked with or for," the author has said. "I've been privileged to know some world class corporate bozos in my life. I don't believe I was unique in this."
T.J. Dick is the marketing manager, and later vice president, for Pumpex-SuperPumps in the fictitious Falling Rock, NC. The company makes industrial pumps, I think. I'm hazy on that because the narrator doesn't really know--or care, for that matter--about the products Pumpex actually manufactures. He's more concerned with the "big picture" and taking a long term view." Dick is also fixated on impressing his bosses with his golf game, his executive mansion and his clean office.)

Dick is so focused  on the big picture that he's oblivious to his employees' disdain for him, his wife's numerous affairs with construction workers and the complete joke he has become at the Pumpex plant.
As the book opens, Dick and several other Pumpex executives have just moved from Boston to North Carolina to oversee the merger with SuperPumps. SuperPumps was doing quite well until Dick and his crew arrived. The new guys renovated the building, spiffed up the executive restroom, painted the wall Pumpex purple and hung modern prints on them. But they provided little true leadership, effective management or professionalism.
Of course, T. John Dick would disagree.
His marketing department is the "beating heart of a forward-looking company," he says. He is a guy with a strategic mind, not someone wrapped up in details such as whether parts actually fit in Pumpex pumps. He truly believes that the bosses and employees are impressed with his vapid new mission statement and complicated meeting room reservation procedures. He believes himself to be a successful leader, citing such qualities as his ability to delegate and his ability to remain calm in stressful situations as proof.
Throughout the book, Dick finds himself in plenty of stressful situations--all of them self-induced. He inadvertently discloses that his boss' wife is being unfaithful. He accidentally kills one company president and locks another in the bathroom. He is discovered naked with a maintenance man during the company's annual sales meeting. He misbehaves at two business dinners and gets kicked out of restaurants. He winds up in the hospital emergency room after several workplace accidents and causes injuries to his wife and co-workers, too.
Just when it seems things can't get much worse at Pumpex-SuperPumps, T. John Dick makes it so.If you work in an office, pick up a copy of this book. You'll definitely laugh. And you may cry too, because T. John Dick is too close to the truth.

Diana Abbot - Hickory Daily Record

get to see the full craziness since, "this is a no-holds-barred account of executive life and I owe it to the reader to pull no punches and tell it like it is."
Gump takes us deep inside T.J's head where the other characters are outlined through his eyes. These characters are well drawn, even though they are not always as T.J. sees them.  They reveal their true selves in dialogue exchanges with T.J. and his character is deepened in how he interprets these remarks.
While laughing though, it's almost frightening to realize that there's a T.J. in almost every company. The arrogant guy, obsessed with procedure and company policy, but having no clue to what the company actually does, claiming to be a "man of vision" and determined to keep up "company professionalism."
After giving clear insight on the business world, the book thoughtfully closes with readers' group guide and discussion topics. These definitely shed light on the tone of the novel with such insightful choices as "T.J's obsession with trivial details such as the Meeting Room Reservation Procedure might be described as a serious personality defect. Discuss some of your own personality defects. Bet you've got some real doozies! You might like to help your co-members by pointing out some of theirs." While Mr. Gump claims that he never actually saw anyone killed by mismanagement, after reading the book and reflecting that it is loosely based on actual events and composites of real people, this statement seems more and more unbelievable.
One sentence pretty much sums up T.J's philosophy on business. "But we can't let customers, of all people, tell us how to run our business."

Hilarity, hijinks and incompetence are true secrets of management.

Any book that begins with a guarantee to teach readers nothing of value or give insight into anything is destined to be a classic. "The Management Secrets of T. John Dick is no exception.
A satirical look at the inner workings of the corporate world, given earnestly by the marketing manager of Pumpex-Superpumps, T. John Dick takes readers on an insane journey through Meeting Room Reservation Procedures, Mission Statements, New Product Development Procedures and all the other important things that make a company tick.
At least once per chapter, T.J. reveals one of his greatest strengths (organization, taking physical discomfort in his stride, mastery of non-verbal communication) as he leads the new marketing department through the transformations of being taken over by the Pumpex Corporation.
T.J. is oblivious to a great many things. The men coming and going from his home when his wife's there alone, the way his staff really feels about him, the way the pumps he is trying to sell actually work. But he doesn't let any of that hold him back in his quest to become president of Pumpex-SuperPumps.
The book is laugh-out-loud funny, as readers follow the freak accidents T.J always seems to be in or near. Luckily we always

Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
"The Management Secrets of T. John Dick" is a sprightly amusing novel about every manager who has blundered his way up a corporate ladder.
T. John Dick pays tribute to British humor of the fifties

as the head of the marketing department at Pumpex manages to Dilbert his way to success. Despite insults and injuries, he expounds his Mission Statement and Total Quality Management idiocies. Some chapter headings including "Fire half of them and see what happens," come from quotes the author overheard. He promises, now that he's a boss, never to say them himself."   

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