"If you've grown weary and frustrated trying to make sense of life's perplexities by reading the hyped-up, superficial advice dispensed in the ever-growing genre of best-selling pop psychology books, relief is here . . . the last self-help book you'll ever have to read."
--Clarence Petersen, Chicago Tribune

". . . takes on every pop business book ever written and wins hands down . . . good for a lot of laughs and more than one reading."
--Peter Key, Atlantic City Sunday Press

The One Minute Maniac
The Fanatic's Guide to Time Management

by Jeffrey Book & Garrett Soden | Published by Andrews, McMeel & Parker | 1987; 140 pages; ISBN 0-8362-1260-6 | $5.95US; Paperback

HOISTING THE BUSINESS FABLE GENRE on its own petard, in The One Minute Maniac Soden (and coauthor Jeffrey Book) skewer purveyors of overly simplistic management advice by telling the tale of one Ernest Fellow.

Employed as a Junior Entity at CanSys (slogan: "We're People Helping Themselves Help Others Help More People"), Ernest searches for the secret to managerial efficiency and eventually finds his guru, the One Minute Maniac. The Maniac's wisdom is dispensed in cryptic advice such as "Three Words Good, More Words Bad," and techniques such as the Minute Hype and Minute Scam, communicated to the enthusiastic Ernest by one inane executive after another.

In one chapter, Ernest learns that one manager's outrageous tirade is actually a technique called a Minute Gripe. "I think I see how Minute Gripes differ run-of-the-mill reprimands," observes Ernest. "If an employee thinks his bad behavior will drive you off the deep end, then he'll toe the line." "That's the ticket!" the executive replies, "I think of it as a deep emotional commitment that my employees and I make to each other."

In another scene, an old business adage is exposed for the nonsense it is:

    The executive folded his hands. "I suppose," he replied, a bit more composed, "that you've heard of the 20-80 rule."

    "Yes, I have. That's where 80 percent of any company's success comes from only 20 percent of its efforts," volunteered Ernest.

    "That's it. Well, we only do the 20 percent that gets results. We skip the rest."

    The young man was skeptical. "How, exactly, do you do that?" he said.

    "We have a special committee that consults on it."

    "It must be a hardworking committee!" Ernest exclaimed.

    "Not really. Only 20 percent of the committee meets because - obviously - that is all that's necessary. And they only meet 20 percent of the time. And, of course, they only finish 20 percent of their work."

    "I think I see what you’re driving at," said Ernest. "It’s simply a policy of doing only what’s needed—and no more."

    "Exactly," smiled Stickley, glad to see the stirrings of a newborn Maniac. "Take my day, for example. I get in at noon and start to work by one, take an hour for lunch and then by two I'm done. I've cut out the useless 80 percent of a normal eight-hour day!"

    "But doesn't that cut out more than 80 percent of the workday, sir?"

    "Very clever! You see, Ernest, that way I'm sure to eliminate the useless part," Mr. Stickley explained patiently.

With sly allusions to Orwell's Animal Farm and Baum's the Wizard of Oz, the One Minute Maniac "deflates a particularly deserving target" (West Coast Review of Books).

Excerpts from the One Minute Maniac were featured on the front cover of USA Today's "Pulse of the USA" section during a week-long series that decried the frantic pace of American life. The authors were keynote speakers at the 1988 American Management Association's annual convention and also appeared on the syndicated TV talk show "Sonia Live."

Click here to read an excerpt from The One Minute Maniac.

marketing | books | articles | biography | contact | home

Copyright © 2006 Garrett Soden