Rating: 3/4 (Stretched, but hilarious)
Take a sane US Air Force bombardier named Yossarian and put him in the middle of World War II at a tiny island base called Pianosa in Italy. Surround him with people who are almost insane and trash up his life with inane bureaucratic hurdles. What results is Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, a book which is both maddening and brilliant. This is a book which I cannot even describe because there are no words for it. It is a comical insane trip for the mind, at the same time being thought fodder on the current state of the world.
Catch-22 was not an easy read. I almost gave up after the first 100 pages or so, not being able to see where the story was going. In fact, what I had to really do was to just keep reading and to let the extreme sarcasm and insanity of the book to sink in. The book is too long for its subject and the circular logic of Catch-22 in the dialogues are just too many and I felt that it spoils the reading. The last few chapters (starting with The Eternal City) get pretty serious and culminates in a happy ending for poor Yossarian. An escape for him from the asylum.
In case you were wondering what is Catch-22 …
Within the book, catch-22 is a military rule, the circular logic of which most notably prevents anyone from avoiding combat missions:
- One may only be excused from flying bombing missions on the grounds of insanity;
- One must assert one’s insanity to be excused on this basis;
- One who requests to be excused is presumably in fear for his life. This is taken to be proof of his sanity, and he is therefore obliged to continue flying missions;
- One who is truly insane presumably would not make the request. He therefore would continue flying missions, even though as an insane person he could of course be excused from them simply by asking.
Rating: 4/4 (Funny, recommended)
If ten people can complete a project in ten days, then one person can complete the project in one day.
That is just one of the hundreds of tongue-in-cheek tips and techniques for would-be managers in the book Dogbert’s Top Secret Management Handbook. This book by Scott Adams is smaller than The Dilbert Principle and concentrates on grooming the would-be manager for a Dilbertian workplace. Interspersed in the guidelines for becoming a good manager are loads of strips from the comic. The strips are concentrated mostly on the Pointy-Haired Boss and Dilbert. A recommended fun read for the weekend when you’re missing the workplace. 😛
Rating: 4/4 (Funny and entertaining)
In The Dilbert Principle, his book on mis-management, Scott Adams gives us a comical view of corporate culture, bosses, budgets, meetings, projects, team-building exercises(!) and lots of such workplace irritations that bug most employees. Almost every statement Adams makes is substantiated with a funny strip from the incomparable Dilbert archives. In his prose, he is very tongue-in-cheek, provocative and funny. You can expect an average of 2 Dilbert strips or more per page (the book has 336 pages, you do the math). Also, he quotes several of the emails he has received from his fans about the stupid acts of their bosses and management. In the end, he also proposes a new company model: OA5. The core principles being happy employees and efficiency. If you love Dilbert (either because you find it funny or because you actually live in a Dilbert-like workplace), you will thoroughly enjoy reading this book. Highly recommended!
I almost forgot to mention, The Dilbert Principle is:
The most ineffective workers are systematically moved to the place where they can do the least damage – management.
Rating: 4/4 (Hilarious!)
Read a Wodehouse after a gap of many years, The Code Of The Woosters. As always, simple minded Bertie is in the soup. He has gotten on the wrong side of Sir Watkyn Bassett and his close pal Spode for trying to grab a silverware for his Uncle Tom, which Bassett had an eye on. Aunt Dahlia (Tom’s wife) sends him to Totleigh Towers to steal it. Also, at Totleigh Towers, Bertie’s pal Gussie is preparing to get married to Madeline (Watkyn’s daughter). Meanwhile, Stiffy (Watkyn’s nice) is in love with Pinker (another pal of Bertie). When Bertie arrives at Totleigh Towers, everything that can go wrong with the lives of these people, breaks loose. And all of them are aimed at Bertie! Bertie faces all of it with the help of his faithful butler Jeeves and all ends well.
If there were no sitcom on TV, Wodehouse would have invented it! This book is filled with outlandish characters, outrageous dialogues, all set in rich classic Britain. I could not help laughing out loud while reading this book. Between all these stormy characters is the real hero of the books — Jeeves with his cucumber cool air. Wodehouse cannot be explained, his books have to be read. I see a definite (Bollywood?) movie potential in his books. In case you were wondering, The Code Of The Woosters is “Never let a pal down.”