B. S. Incorporated
A Novel by Jennifer Rock & Michael Voss
Published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Review by Lorie Steiner
So, you spot BS in the title and immediately snicker. That’s good, you’re already in the right frame of mind, because B. S. Incorporated is one rollicking, irreverent, totally “I worked with these people” kind of read. From the get-go, you’ll be choosing sides, and armchair quarterbacking every convoluted move from the evil ‘transformation’ playbook.
Writing in tandem, Jennifer Rock and Michael Voss draw on their decades of corporate servitude to create the fictional 20-billion-dollar copier and office supply distributor, Business Solutions, Inc. (BSI). Set amidst landmark buildings in the heart of Minneapolis, every detail becomes spot-on familiar – from shop floors in an old flour warehouse, to fave after-hours bar “The Drunken Monk”, right up to the state-of-the-art C-suite Tower. Next, they populate it with a colorful roster of blue collars, white collars, stilettos and scotch, toss in an absurd and eerily believable plot, acronyms galore, and let the game begin…
“Let me tell you where this is going,” Jerry clapped his hands together and raised a single eyebrow. “We need another dynamic internal marketing campaign. I want you to stamp Optelligence on everything: posters, T-shirts, stress balls. Get the troops fired up!”
“Of course.” Will suppressed a sigh. But don’t forget the lip balm. Nothing says “incremental earnings growth” like a branded tube of carnauba wax.
We open with BSI in shambles, and co-CEOs Ron and Jerry desperate for a miracle fix for the company they built from scratch. Enter the shadowy corporate consultants with a dubious strategy ‘Optelligence’ to save the day. As Communications Manager, Will Evans is taxed with promoting a three-pronged concept even he doesn’t understand; his new assistant, Anna Reed, replete with brains, high-heels, and an agenda of her own is another force to be reckoned with.
One disastrous decision after another has the media smelling blood, as BSI begins to sever employee ties: “HR and Legal have agreed to use ‘reduction in force,’ or RIF for short. No ‘layoffs, no ‘downsizing’ and don’t even dream about calling it ‘mandatory retirement.’ Employees of a certain age would sue our socks off.”
With bankruptcy imminent, Will devises a covert scheme to rescue the company’s failing fortunes. The Promisekeepers and Rainmakers are on board, but will Anna take the Hail Mary pass, or bail and let BSI go down in shame?
B. S. Incorporated is a witty, entertaining corporate guidebook of what not to do when disaster comes calling. Highly recommended for your summer reading list; best enjoyed with a glass of Will’s ‘usual’ vodka & Sprite – no fruit. As one satisfied reader puts it:
“I enjoyed the hell out of this book. It harpoons the bloated, mindlessly self-destructive tendencies of American corporations. But it’s also a human story. Which is why – despite the absurdity and arrogance and plain ol’ stupidity on display at BSI – I’d kind of like to work there. Are they hiring?” – Bill Anderson, President, Once Voice Creative Media
Jennifer Rock & Michael Voss spent almost 20 years in the throes of corporate America. As company journalists, speechwriters and communication directors, they survived more than their share of boardroom brawls with humor intact and, as it turns out, a collective cache of book-worthy inspiration.
Both live near Minneapolis, MN where they work as speakers and consultants. They share their best stories during happy hour. B.S. Incorporated is their debut novel. For more information, visit http://www.rockandvossbooks.com/