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Eat or Be Eaten

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Eat or Be Eaten

Jungle Warfare for the Master Corporate Politician

FT Prentice Hall,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

The corporate political jungle is truly Darwinian: only the strong (and nasty) survive.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


As the book jacket states, "There are plenty of books out there that show you how to climb the corporate ladder by applying the good old-fashioned virtues of honesty, integrity, loyalty and hard work. This book isn’t one of those." In fact, this manual isn’t for the faint of heart. It contains some of the nastiest, dirtiest tricks around for getting ahead, including how to punish your subordinates, take your supervisor’s job and spread vicious rumors. Although the battle imagery can be grating, what the author writes is (unfortunately) usually true. Those climbing the corporate ladder will benefit from his advice. Those already at the top apparently already know everything in this book. Still, it’s entertaining and easy to read - perfect for lunchtime. getAbstract recommends this book for corporate climbers willing to do what it takes.


Welcome to the Jungle

If you work for a big corporation (or even a small company), then you already know working isn’t much different from war. Only the strong survive. Before getting into specific survival tactics, it’s important to know the basics.

  • It’s whom you know.
  • Don’t use the same tactic over and over. Mix them up.
  • Be social and network. Keep careful records.
  • Develop and maintain a professional image. Image makes you powerful, not titles.

Learn to tap dance - that is, master the art of improvising. If you don’t know the answer, fake it. Make it up. For example: Your supervisor asks why the product is late. You apologize, say you’ve had problems with parts, and reassure your boss that you will make up the schedule unless you hit more snags. Throw in some numbers, which may or not be true. Your boss walks away satisfied. If you’re late, repeat the cycle - or blame somebody else.

If you want to play the got’cha game, it works like this: First, you sniff out something bad about another manager’s department, like a missed delivery on a critical part or a program that doesn’t work and never did. Guard this information...

About the Author

Phil Porter has worked at some of the world’s most competitive companies, including McDonnell Douglas, Northern Telecom, Flowers Industries and General Dynamics. His corporate career spans more than 30 years.

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