Corp America March 2017

CORP AMERICA / MARCH 2017 43 , B.S., Incorporated is a novel by Jennifer Rock andMichael Voss that hilariously exposes life in a failing American business. Funny, insightful, and heartfelt, B.S., Incorporated has been named one of the 10 Best Business Books of 2016 – who called the book a “colonoscopy of the contempory corporate world” and “ The Office andmeets The Bonfire of the Vanities .” Life in Corporate America Five Questions for the Co-authors How did you decide to write a workplace novel? Jennifer: We spent a dozen years working together in a big, crazy, global coporation. One Tuesday, after spending more than four hours in the most unproductive, soul-crushing project meeting you can imgine, we escaped to a bar patio and swapped stories about all the insane things we’d seen and the characters we’d met throughout our careers. Mike: It turns out, we’d both kept copious notes – enough material for two or three novels. So we pinky-swore that after we sobered up, we’d actually write that first novel. How much of this story is true? Mike: More than you might think – but less than you’d hope. Did you set out to write a satire of corporate America? Jennifer: We wanted to tell a story readers could relate to – whether they currently hold a corporate job, survived one or avoided the absurdity altogether. And there are so many universal experiences in the workplace! The dreaded first day on the job. The power-hungry boss. The absolute thrill of finding free food in the breakroom. No matter where you work, or what you do, every job comes with a certain amount of B.S. Your book also has been called “surprisingly heartfelt.” Was it important to tell that side of the story? Mike: Yes, we decided early on to balance the humor with heart, because there are many elements of the corporate experience that are all too real and painful: getting swept out the door in a mass layoff, or caught up in office politics or just being overworked and overwhelmed. Those true-to-life examples have struck a chord with our readers, too. What do you hope readers will learn from B.S., Incorporated? Jennifer: A reviewer called our novel “a love story about building and sustaining a company.” Isn’t that amazing? I would love business leaders to find some lessons in B.S., Incorporated about honoring a company’s legacy and not outsourcing its future. Mike: For anyone who is slogging through some part of a corporate job, I hope he or she reads the book, laughs out loud, and feels less alone. I also hope readers remember how important it is to find your “crew” – your workplace family who will have your back, no matter what happens. Those friendships help you survive whatever B.S. comes your way. Synopsis Business Solutions, Inc., is falling apart at the seams. While employees kill time stalking free snacks and rendezvousing in the HQ stairwells, the company’s co-CEOs bring in shadowy corporate consultants to shake up their business in ways even they don’t understand. When Will Evans, warehouse- worker-turned-white-collar- employee, is put in charge of rolling out a dubious strategy the consultants brand Optelligence, he’s thrust deep into a muddle of absurdity and responsibility he never expected. As the plans push BSI to the brink of bankruptcy, Will teams up with Anna Reed, a corporate mercenary with heels as high as her ambition. He needs her cunning and courage to pull off his covert plan to save the company. But can Anna, the consummate job jumper, find a reason to go all-in on BSI? Or is she better off bailing and letting the company go down in flames? Praise “B.S., Incorporated is a spectacular satire that gleefully exposes modern corporate culture.” – Sharon Brown, Business Magazine of Gainesville “One rollicking, irreverent, ‘I worked with these people’ kind of read.” - Business View North America Magazine “Anyone who has sat through a mind-numbing business meeting (and haven’t we all?) will laugh out loud at B.S. Incorporated, where poignancy is mixed with humor.” - St. Paul Pioneer Press “B.S., Incorporated stands with some of the best business novels in its genre.” - Midwest Book Review About the Authors Jennifer and Michael have a shared passion for storytelling that goes back – way back – to when Jennifer published haikus in her first-grade newsletter, and Mike entertained other kids on the school bus with his creative fiction. Not surprisingly, their jones for crafting a tale fueled their career paths, where each held roles in journalism, advertising, public relations, marketing and corporate communications. Jennifer and Michael had the good fortune to work for and with companies that spanned industries and impact – from privately held start-ups to Fortune 50 powerhouses to, now, their own communications agency. Both authors live near Minneapolis 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. K B.S., Incorporated: A Novel by Jennifer Rock and Michael Voss Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, & 1703CA24