Summary of House of Lies

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House of Lies book summary


8 Overall

5 Applicability

9 Innovation

9 Style


This unusual, entertaining business book covers one man’s experience working for an unnamed, but top-line consulting firm. Author Martin Kihn tells unvarnished stories about working with clients who mix ambiguous problems with political infighting. The consulting firms he describes come off as unbalanced organizations with barely functioning teams and aged political hierarchies. Then there are the bleak working conditions and long weeks of travel, described in ways that completely dispel the glamorous myth of the globetrotting consultant. Throughout, Kihn keeps the story moving and funny, even though he sometimes gets too caught up in his own cleverness. Now and then, he seems to restrain his real opinion and the resulting conclusion seems flimsy compared to his other material, but soon he gets back to deflating jargon and popping myths. Even though it is an additional rock being hurled in the hailstorm of consultant bashing, recommends this funny, informative book to anyone working with consultants or considering a consulting career.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What consultants do and do not do;
  • What the consultants’ rules for engagement are;
  • How McKinsey & Co. uses a five-step approach to solve problems; and
  • How to understand consulting through jokes, jargon and unwritten rules.

About the Author

Martin Kihn holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from Yale. His work has appeared in New York, The New York Times, GQ, Us, Details, Cosmopolitan and Forbes, among others, and he has been on the staff of Spy, Forbes, New York and Vibe. Kihn currently works as a strategy consultant at a top-tier management consulting firm.



Promises, Promises
When most people think of consultants, they think of an expensive team of experts who can solve the most complex corporate problems systematically and rapidly. With the exception of being expensive, this is a misconception. Most consultants are not true experts. Nor ...

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    Management Consulting
    When you have to buy advice by the hour, know what you want, who has it, how to get it, and how to make the most of it.

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