From someone who works in this industry, Martin Kihn has hit a lot of nails on the head in the mode of 'Snapshots from Hell' and 'Liars Poker'.
If you are thinking of becoming a management/ strategy or technology consultant read this book before making that decision.
Kihn lifts the lid on the self serving consulting firms, their inability to proffer little more than repackaged data and the clever use of a language and culture to protect their vested interests and hideous cultures.
Companies run by partners and VP's, whom a large proportion are sociopathic and driven by personal greed. Men and women prepared to sacrifice their home lives, health, relationships and quality of life (universal payback) for the Babylonian mirages of money, vanity, status and ego ..
This book is funny and dark too. .. Kihn (former MTV writer and Columbia MBA) joins Booz Allen Hamilton in New York and injects the book with a fresh ironic wit to make his points. His depth of insight is valuable as well as his ability to extract some of the more dysfunctional elements of an industry built on intellectual snobbery, stabbings and shamings. The book is thought provoking and although not written in a moralizing style it contains Kihn's values that are good. He empathises with those would may lose their jobs in the companies the consultants work with. He explains the truth of the devaluation of humanity within this sphere as people are fired and the game is to survive, and not look over your shoulder and consider those whom you have trampled on to do so.
Two other core truths Martin Kihn exposes are
1. Consultants actually don't know much. Therefore there is a series of cover ups and masks used to hide this fact and it is a game of manipulation via smoke, mirrors, vocabulary and image. Then it is about reprocessing data and packaging it nicely for the client... for a lot of money. That only comes about because people BELIEVE in consultants however the majority of these people have a vested interest in the consulting industry or have too much of your money in their budgets (read government departments for one).
2. The demands made on young consultants. The shams and tricks to get young people to work in these firms and with a deluded enthusiasm believe that
a) They are highly valuable contributors to society/ the economy
b) The best of the best (breeding mentality ground for young sociopaths)
It does not make easy reading thinking what consultants have to do in their early years `to make it'. The travel, denial of family, the hours and the ghastly culture in which their teams works. At best you feel a sense of compassion at worst you feel that McKinsey, Accenture etc are worth a visit from Amnesty International.
Basically if you believe the hype of these firms and that they make a valid contribution to industry, society and the lives they touch, you will see this book as a Michael Mooresque expose. You won't get it.. as contempt prior to investigation with see that the book gets swiftly binned.
If you are willing to be open minded or hold a Master in healthy questioning it's a must for the beach or bench...
Thank you Mr Kihn for writing this book......