Chapter One is below.
Read the Author’s Preface by clicking here.
I reminded myself that we were in a well-lit office, not a dark alley. No need to get aggressive yet. I relaxed my jaw and tried to keep the fear out of my voice as I replied, “If you pull my people off your project, there’s no way you’ll meet the delivery date.”
My client looked at me blandly, as if he had delivered a weather forecast. In fact, he had devastated my sales forecast. Five fewer of my consultants billing their time to this client meant there was no way I would meet quota to earn my bonus. I needed him to engage with me. I forced a response with a direct question that was also a threat. “Did Juan approve this staffing cut?”
“Why would I check with Juan?” asked the Director of Information Systems Development (ISD) for Billing Systems. He ran his finger down a page of the MCI internal directory as he spoke, “Nobody (more…)
Author’s Preface is below
Also free: Read Chapter One by clicking here.
don’t let your babies
grow up to be corporate cowboys.
Or make ’em be
bankers and lawyers and such.
In the 1980s, I was a minor participant in major trends that would blow up the world economy in 2008, determine the dehumanizing workplace culture of today, and establish the Wall Street plutocracy that still guides governments and blames the poor for the plight of the middle class. Our descent began in the eighties, from endless e-mails to mind-numbing meetings, deregulated banks to defunded pensions, mortgage-backed securities to job insecurity, hedge fund royalty to vanishing loyalty, private equity to income inequality, even Starbucks ubiquity and business books’ vacuity.
I reluctantly admit that I eagerly supported every aspect of it. I ate the dog food and drank the Kool-Aid™. I believed in and tried to practice the free market economics and financial engineering I had been taught at the University of Chicago. I worked nights and weekends at an investment bank to help create a trading platform for one of the first derivatives. I willfully immersed myself in the toxic corporate culture of MCI. I was a true believer who gave thanks to capitalist economists Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan, cowboy capitalists Bill McGowan and Michael Milken, and most of all to cowboy president Ronald Reagan for making the 1980s “Morning in America.”
I was wrong. Now, I am mourning for America. This novel, detailing a descent and incipient redemption similar to my own, is partial penance and restitution. I hope this story encourages my readers to make better choices and a better world than I did.
After experiencing MCI, I began my search for a way of working that encouraged people to produce results while feeling appreciated, connected, and healthy. That quest made me an executive coach and gave me a life dedicated to workplaces of humanity and prosperity.
Lurking amongst the thousands of words in this book are a few dozen that are considered profanity, including certain stalwart Anglo-Saxon four letter words beginning with f and s. Since a major goal of this story is to convey a sense of the time and environment in which events are set, I chose to use herein the exact, if impolite, language I heard and occasionally used. I regret any upset or disturbance this accuracy may cause the sensitive reader but expressing your objection is likely to incite the author to use these very same words in reference to the complainant.
* * *
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Crimes of Cunning
A comedy of personal and political transformation in the deteriorating American workplace.
Click here to see it on Amazon.com
Or, here for Barnes & Noble
Fast-paced, funny, and smart. This novel puts you into the world of a young MBA striving to succeed at a famous high-tech company. Brash and confident yet comically inept, Tony clashes with colleagues, clients, and even his biggest supporters.
He fires his most loyal employee, derails the career of his only friend, and nearly destroys his young marriage before transforming from chilly corporate collaborator to empathetic executive coach. Laugh and learn as his clients turn criminal, corporations collapse, and compassion triumphs.
It should be as much the aim of those who seek for social-betterment to rid the business world of crimes of cunning as to rid the entire body politic of crimes of violence.
–Theodore Roosevelt, 1901
A veteran executive coach draws on his years inside Arthur Andersen, Wall Street, and MCI to share a moving story that explains why your 401k shrank, your house is underwater, and your job stinks. The comedy and conflict illustrate management methods and personal practices that can improve your career and deepen your personal relationships.
Click here to read a free sample.
Click here to learn the source and meaning of the book’s title.
Podcast #16: Tony reads a short sample from his first book: The Courage to Be in Community. The complete audiobook is for sale on iTunes and Audible.
Just click here and either listen on your computer or subscribe through iTunes to have this and all new podcast episodes placed on your device as they become available. You may also set up an automatic “feed” to non-Apple devices by using this link: click here for other devices.
It is rare indeed that people give.
Most people guard and keep; they suppose that it is they themselves and what they identify with themselves that they are guarding and keeping, whereas what they are actually guarding and keeping is the system of reality in what they assume themselves to be. One can give nothing whatever without giving oneself – that is to say, risking oneself.
If one cannot risk oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving.
–The Price of the Ticket:
Collected Nonfiction 1948-1985
by James Baldwin
Expanded 2nd Edition Now on Sale!
Tony’s short book on building community is now available
with an extra chapter and a guide to additional resources.
The new chapter is a simple, practical guide to building better relationships at work and at home. The focus of the book is the importance of compassion and authenticity, while this new section is all about implementation, with specific advice on how to be compassionate and authentic in your day-to-day life.
This expanded edition also includes links to recommended books and articles for further study and practice.
➤ Paperback , hardcover, and Kindle available on Amazon!
➤ Paperback and hard cover available on Barnes and Noble!
Audio version read by Tony Mayo also available.
To hear a sample click here for Audible or iTunes.
The coach whose philosophy I admired most was Amos Alonzo Stagg and he once made the statement he never had a player he didn’t love. He had many he didn’t like and he didn’t respect, but he loved them just the same.
—Coach John Wooden
Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. … Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore, we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.
The Irony of American History
The pace is slow for an online video but Brené Brown’s message is deep and true. Use the extra time to think about your own life, relationships, and desires.
Tony recently published a Kindle version of his talk inspired by Brené Brown’s work. See it on Amazon by clicking here.
we are fundamentally free:
free to view our life,
and respond to it,
as a loving gift
To love or not to love, that is the question. No argument or evidence can strip us of this freedom that lies at the root of our being and is therefore so ineradicable. How we choose to respond to this awareness—the awareness that love makes us whole and that we are free to love or not—seals our character and defines who we are. An awareness of the power of love and forgiveness forms, in John Fetzer’s phrase, “a community of freedom.”
How we choose, in that freedom, to live out our awareness of the power to love and forgive can completely transform our lives as well as the life of, and the lives in, the world around us.
–Lawrence E. Sullivan
Pres. and CEO
in Fetzer Institute News