‘This is a serious business book. If it’s cheap laughs you want, stick with “In Search of Excellence”.’ So begins this satire of 21st century life disguised as a science-fiction guide to doing business on other planets.
Follow Dave Smart, business studies lecturer, as he leads three business colleagues on a tour of discovery to the Smiling Disc star system, 19 light years from home. Their main purpose is to investigate business practice on Kalista-mm, the larger of the system’s two planets, and gather material for Dave’s new book, ‘Doing Business on Other Planets.’
Visits to a sulphur mine, a old-established bank and a drinks company give the Earthlings surprising insights into the business practices of aliens who have developed along somewhat different lines from us. It’s not only that they have big moustaches and white blood, or that they drink sulphuric acid and lay eggs. The inhabitants of Kalista-mm are the epitome of political incorrectness, and are disarmingly honest about their shortcomings.
Of course, the main benefit of studying a way of life very different from ours is that it teaches us more about ourselves. The group’s observations provide plenty of scope for taking cruel swipes at many of things we hold precious about our own dear planet: government, big business, justice, democracy, climate change, science, religion and do-gooders generally. It all adds up to a hilarious jaunt around a little-known quadrant of the galaxy and a satisfying dig at many of our own sacred cows.
It’s a dedicated man who will travel to another planet when it takes nineteen years – one way – to get there. Dave Smart is that guy. Ever seeking a new way of doing things, he travels to Kalista-mm to learn about their culture and business practices. Unfortunately, what he learns is that no one should emulate those practices. Ever.
The aliens on Kalista-mm are absurdly nonchalant about worker safety and benefits, the environment and everything else that would make Earthlings cringe. Unless you happen to be in such professions as politics, big business or banking.
In William Peskett’s novel, Enhance Your Exports! Doing Business on Other Planets, he expresses his concerns, and the concerns of many, regarding the fate of our world if certain practices are continued. This often witty diatribe against the state of the world leaves very few topics uncovered. He touches on mining practices, air pollution, environmental issues, employee rights and pay, accountability in business practices, government response times, weapons of mass destruction, chauvinism, government bailout of the financial industry, and the list goes on. If you made it through this much of the list, you will have found the thing that made me give the book a lesser star than I would have liked.
I think Mr. Peskett was too ambitious for one book. Where his writing portrays these situations humorously and his perceptions were often dead on, there were simply too many of them. The reader is overloaded. As the book nears the end, the effect becomes lost because the reader has so many things to be outraged by that it becomes difficult to keep adding to the list. I think that Mr. Peskett is an excellent writer and I applaud his efforts. I simply wish all of the world’s woes were spread out over more than one book.
I thank the author for a review copy and I give the book three stars.
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