READ 16 – 17 January 2012
MY RATING 2 / 5
As part of the independent reviewing I would for KBR, I would usually only leave a review if I can rate it three stars or more. Following feedback to the editor, I was asked to leave this review on Amazon to provide balance to other reviews.
Firstly, I’m not a huge fan of non-fiction books, and so my comments and feedback should perhaps be read with that in mind. For me there were two things that meant that this wasn’t the book for me, the characters and the style and tone.
I found the characters quite difficult to warm to and this book seemed to me to be quite self-indulgent in places. What I mean by this is that the book is billed as being about the rise and fall of the company; yet it feels in place to be more like the author’s own biography. eg: there is a section early on where there is a lot of talk and description about the author’s grandparents, and I just can’t see the relevance of this to the rise of the business and therefore I don’t understand the relevance of its inclusion. It doesn’t really add to the story, in my opinion. The characters seemed to me to merge into one, and they come across as laddish blokes who happened to get lucky. I don’t think I really understood how the business developed so quickly; it seemed at odds with the description of the men. For example, the book starts with them in what is pictured as a dingy office overlooking a sex shop but then in a short time they’re sponsoring a large corporate event – I didn’t really understand how they got from A to B.
The style of the book was more, for me, like a story being told down the pub. It felt confused at times and I think that some prior knowledge and understanding of the business and the world of corporate insurance is required to really understand this book. The tone is also quite brash and for me it seemed to be quite arrogant in places; I am sure that a healthy dose of arrogance is needed to make any business succeed, but there is almost an underlying tone to the book that I didn’t like, and can’t quite put my finger on what that tone was.
I’m really sorry that I can’t be more positive about the book, it just wasn’t the right read for me. I think it will probably suit a more local audience who witnessed the rise and fall of the company. I just found it all a bit tricky to follow and create any empathy for the authors.
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