Consulting Demons: Inside the Unscrupulous World of Global Corporate Consulting

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9780066619989: Consulting Demons: Inside the Unscrupulous World of Global Corporate Consulting

In this gripping and colorful account of the American dream gone astray, Lewis Pinault provides the essential guidelines on how to get ahead and an enlightening perspective on the brutal infighting that can engulf even the most civilized consulting firm. This stunning exposé of some of the most prestigious and respected names in the business leads you into a world where a client's interests are skillfully subordinated to those of the consultants, where money rules the day, and where principles and morals are unwelcome baggage.

Humorous and insightful, this no-holds-barred account takes you behind the scenes of the dehumanizing indoctrination of an academic intellectual into an exploitative -- and exploited -- "global transformation contractor." Featuring new material dealing with the e-consulting industry's boom, bust, and its future, Consulting Demons offers the most complete look at an industry that exacts the highest prices for the most questionable standards of success.

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Review:

With the ubiquitous term consultant now being bandied about as practically every second person's job description, Consulting Demons is a book for everyone. At once an entertaining account of one man's personal odyssey through the various levels and organizations of the corporate consulting world, an informed opinion given to fresh-faced MBAs choosing this profession as a career, and an ominous warning to clients not yet privy to its inner workings, Consulting Demons is a compelling read.

Earning an undergraduate degree in political science at MIT, Lewis Pinault channeled his interests in space development into areas more salable in the late 1970s, namely, ocean engineering and Japanese. Hired directly out of college by a Japanese shipbuilder, he spent the next few years living in the conglomerate's dilapidated dormitories, mastering the language and gaining valuable project management experience. Pinault's introduction to the alluring world of corporate consulting came through company contact with consultants from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and a year later he'd been willingly sucked into the vortex of a fast-paced, all-consuming 12-year consulting career. His ensuing adventures led him throughout Southeast Asia, in and out of BCG, the MAC Group, Gemini Consulting, Arthur D. Little (ADL), and finally Coopers & Lybrand, and through a number of less-than-professional exercises in client scamming and industrial espionage (otherwise known as benchmarking).

Having left the sanctums of global consultancies to pursue his original aspirations in science and the law, Pinault has written an exposé of considerable force. Part autobiography, part cautionary manual, the book presents a dark picture of the world of management consulting; in fact, each of its chapters ends with a "Consulting Demonology" tract, including such topics as "Client Beware: Consultants' Spycraft Charms" and "Red Spots and Other Ruses Consultants Use to Close on Large Fees." Though Pinault's tone is sometimes rather arrogant, it serves to reinforce the nature of the consulting game, one that this book portrays as risky and lucrative for the consultant but extremely costly and often not worthwhile for the client. If you're already a bona fide member of the ever-growing management consultant population, read this book and measure your worth as a successful trickster or unknowing drone. If you're thinking of becoming a consultant, read this book and think again. If you're a client about to sign a pact with the devil (or its demons), beware. --S. Ketchum

About the Author:

Lewis Pinault is vice president of consumer industries at one of the world's leading computer services and outsourcing firms, and he is a research practitioner with the Imagination Lab Foundation established by the LEGO Group. Consulting Demons, Pinault's notorious firsthand, partner-level account of the too-often unscrupulous workings of the consulting industry, led to his intensive exploration and development of new and better means of client engagement and consumer understanding. An MIT graduate, Juris Doctor, Fulbright Scholar and NASA Space Grant Fellow, Pinault combines a unique mix of science and policy perception in developing his exceptional "fun with a purpose" perspective on consumers, play and technology. He lives in London.

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