Synopses & Reviews
The Four or Five Truths
The incomparable lion-roar of the doctrine
Shatters the brains of the one hundred kinds of animals.
Even the king of elephants will run away, forgetting his pride;
Only the heavenly dragon listens calmly, with pure delight.
You only get what you are big enough to take.
"Jimmy Hoffa Jr."
The ways to find one's way to Enlightenment are many. There is prayer and fasting, and some try that to great effect, but that road is severe, particularly to people with electronic scheduling software and a lot of business lunches as part of the general requirements of their jobs, not to mention drinks after work, and pretty soon fasting, if not prayer, is out the window.The Buddha was quite clear on this subject: if Enlightenment was reserved for those who don't have to work for a living, it would be a pretty unfair deal all the way around.The Buddha said it, and the scriptures make it clear over and over. In work lies Enlightenment just as surely as in wandering around in a bathrobe with a bowl of rice in one hand and a stick in the other. One need not remove oneself from the world to transcend it. One must use the tools that are put in one's path. Perhaps a tale might elucidate this point.One morning the Buddha stopped by a barbershop for a little touch-up. The barber was a voluble and philosophical fellow, as many of that profession tend to be, and he regaled the Buddha with a host of meaningless anecdotes and flippant observations in which the Buddha had no interest.At the end of an especially broad and runny river of drivel, Buddha closed his eyes and took one of those deep, cleansing breaths that afterward became such animportant part of his teaching. The barber at last noticed this and set down his scissors thoughtfully. Oh, Buddha, he said into the gigantic void that was parked, sighing profoundly, in the chair. I notice that I have been speaking without stop for well unto twenty minutes and you have said not a word. Is there something you wish me to infer from this? The Buddha smiled, and the Buddha's smile was indeed a beautiful thing to see, shedding radiance all over the place. Yes, my friend, the Buddha said. Your job is to cut my hair. My job is to sit and have it cut. You see how close to perfection we might be if we each accomplished our duty without distractions. The barber was immediately struck by the truth of this and miraculously said not a word for the rest of the haircut. Buddha got to read the new issue of Car & Driver and left a nice tip.You see? That's how it works. Everybody does what he or she is supposed to do without a lot of fuss and noise and emotion. Things get lighter. The lighter they get, the more enlightened you become. Pretty soon, nothing makes any particular difference. Except the work.In the tree, the nightingale sings;
What else should he do?
It takes but three
To line the cooking pot!
A steelworker makes steel, and in that action lies his Enlightenment. An accountant loses himself in his rows of numbers and may thus find the pathway to his oneness with the Universe. For others, the road to wisdom lies in two frequent states of being: sitting and silence. Mostly in meetings.Sitting. And silence. Both are at the heart of Zen. They are also at the heart of the work we do.Thinkabout it. We are in a meeting. We sit. We are silent. At times, true, there is a verbal duty for us to perform, so we speak. And then, others speak. And while they speak? We are silent.On our way to work, we sit on the train or in our car or we stand staring into the near middle distance like a cow in the field. We are going from here to there. What are we doing? Nothing. In that nothing lies everything.We receive our mail, both electronic and paper, throughout the day. While we evaluate and respond to it, we sit. We are silent. At times, true, others enter our domain and require speech or reaction from us, but when they are gone, we return to our task and while we do so? We sit. And are silent.We sit on a transcontinental airliner, traveling for four or five hours for a meeting whose meat will occupy perhaps ten or fifteen minutes. We stare out the window of the plane, trying to decide whether to watch the in-flight entertainment. We sit and are silent.Between planes, we watch the inescapable CNN feed on the television that is bolted to the ceiling. A portion of our minds is taken up with the interesting story of the dancing bear that was adopted by a family of Bosnian dwarfs. But inside, as we sit with less than 10 percent of ourselves engaged, somewhere within, we are silent.In that silence, there is liberation. There is peace. There is an end of desire, passion, and suffering.We read papers that will shape our destiny. The "Wall Street Journal" thinks our industry is spiraling down into the toilet.Our spirits rebel at what we read, be it newspaper, memo, or E-mail. Inside, we are a riot of feeling. But stop. Look within. Is there not something in there that really doesn't give ashit? Of course there is. In that place, there is silence. There is the Buddha.There is the answer to the management and control of elephants both large and small.Why, look. Here comes one now into our little corner of the village. Owoooo! It raises its trunk heavenward and lets out a trumpeting cry. Perhaps it dances around the area...
Sit down. Breathe deep. This is the last business book you will ever need. For in these pages, Stanley Bing solves the ultimate problem of your working life: How to manage the boss.
The technique is simple . . . as simple as throwing an elephant. All it takes is the proper state of mind, a step-by-step plan, and a great leap of faith. This humble guide provides all these and more. It is Zen that enables one to take an object of enormous weight and size and mold it in one's grasp like a ball of Silly Putty. For senior management, in truth, is the silliest putty of them all.
This comprehensive course walks budding business bodhisattvas through basic skills needed to provide the simple elephant handling that makes everyday life possible, including but not limited to the primary task of following along after the elephant with a little broom and dustpan. Serious students will then move to intermediate steps, from Polishing the Elephant's Tusks to Hiding from the Elephant When It Has Been Drinking and Feels Quite Nasty. Beyond this level lies the land of the practiced Zen masters, culminating in the ability to leverage and then throw the now-weightless elephant--and even play catch with it at corporate retreats.
If What Would Machiavelli Would Do? was the meanest business book since the Renaissance, Throwing the Elephant provides the yang to that yin. Because sometimes you've got to be selfless, compassionate, and completely empty to get the job done.
Stanley Bing is a columnist for Fortune magazine and the author of What Would Machiavelli Do? and Lloyd: What Happened, a novel. By day, he works for a gigantic multinational conglomerate whose identity is one of the worst-kept secrets in business.
If an elephant stomps on your head and there is no onearound to see it, did it stomp on your head at all?
The answer is yes, if that elephant is your boss. Can anything be done about these enormous, gray, and sometimes smelly beasts? The answer is yes, if you know Business Zen. For thousands of years, Zen masters have plumbed the secrets of the universe while wearing comfortable clothing. Now you, too, can learn the wisdom of the ancients and win valuable prizes.
It may be easier than you dare to imagine. Don't you already spend a good part of your day sitting and thinking about nothing for hours on end? That's Zen! You're already doing it!
In this simple little handbook, Throwing the Elephant, Stanley Bing, the master of Machiavellian meanness, offers the nicest possible way to manipulate one's executive elephant to achieve enlightenment -- and power.
The author of What Would Machiavelli Do? provides humorous guidance that considers the advice of the Buddha as if he were a personal consultant, outlining how to transform a stressful workforce into one based on more effective, spiritual practices. Reprint. 30,000 first printing.
A funny, transcendently simple, ultraandndash;enlightening and very Zen guide in the model of What Would Machiavelli Do?that helps you to manipulate and control the large, grey behemoths that run the world, otherwise known as your boss.
This book guarantees personal enlightenment while providing literally dozens of helpful specific exercises and solutions to the most common problems of professional life, all in a compact, attractive package that will strain neither budget, mind nor briefcase. No one who works for anyone else should be able to live without it.
Following a brief grounding in the philosophy and practice of Business Buddhism, we are plunged into a series of pithy instructive chapters designed to walk the untutored, desperate employee through a stepandndash;byandndash;step program that will result in total control over the elephant boss.
A comprehensive course walks even the most simpleandndash;minded through basic skills one needs to provide the simple elephant handling that makes everyday life possible, including but not limited to the primary task of following along after the elephant with a little broom and dustpan.
About the Author
Stanley Bing first made his appearance in Esquire
magazine in 1984, writing scurrilous things about his employers and friends and giving strategic advice to those even more befuddled than he. Rather than risk expulsion from his crabby corporate environment, he created the Bing pseudonym in order to observe and criticize the executive class while at the same time aspiring to its lifestyle. This strategy has for all intents and purposes paid off big-time. Since 1995, Bing has been sniping at the hand that feeds him in the pages of Fortune magazine while functioning as an ultra-haute executive at a huge multinational corporation whose identity is one of the worst-kept secrets in business.
Bing is also the author of the national bestsellers Throwing the Elephant: Zen and the Art of Managing Up and What Would Machiavelli Do? The Ends Justify the Meanness, and of the novels Lloyd: What Happened and You Look Nice Today.