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Monday, April 25, 2011

Corporate Analogies: Money-Making as War-Games as a Sign of Boredom

What to do when analogies go over the top. As an aspiring writer, I was chastised by more than one writing tutor for mixing analogies. The device can add color to otherwise drab prose to be sure, but too many colors at once can be daunting to even a captivated reader. Consider, for example, the following passage from Larry McDonald about the management at Lehman Brothers:

“In a way, Lehman was run by a junta of platoon officers . . . I think of them as battle-hardened, iron-souled regulars” (p. 89). Richard Fuld, Lehman Brothers’ former CEO, was “our spiritual leader and battlefield commander . . . surrounded by a close coterie of cronies, with almost no contact with anyone else. . . . I suppose that was fine so long as the place was chugging along without civil war or mutiny breaking out, and continuing to coin money, which is after all the prime objective of the merchant bank” (p. 90). Fuld “worked within a tight palace guard, protected from the lower ranks, communicating only through his handpicked lieutenants” (p. 90).


The full essay has been incorporated into On the Arrogance of False Entitlement: A Nietzschean Critique of Business Ethics and Managementwhich is available in print and as an ebook at Amazon.