A Comic Novel of
The Downside of Up is a great business case study of how to turn a failing company around, tracking the best current management and leadership presence theory. Yes, it’s a novel. Yes, it’s funny. And yes, it’s a business book. It also happens to be a real page-turner and great airplane reading.
Downside tells the story of Paul Lavallier, a 43 year old corporate speechwriter, who makes a joke at a cocktail party that his dream job is to be a failed CEO, since that’s where the real money is. To his surprise, someone takes him up on it. To his (and everyone else’s) surprise, it turns out he’s pretty good at it. All he has to do is go down with the ship and collect his big payoff. But when he discovers the deal will cost thousands of people their jobs, he can’t help himself: he starts trying to rewrite the script. But fixing things might kill the deal and powerful people can’t let that happen. The question is, does he have the leadership chops to do it?