Zenobia: The Curious Book of Business: A Tale of Triumph Over Yes-Men, Cynics, Hedgers, and Other Corporate Killjoys

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Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Jan 1, 2008 - Business & Economics - 100 pages
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Zenobia is a former industry giant bedeviled by paralyzing hierarchies, grossly inadequate communications, and distrust. It is a broken place, a fortress doomed to collapse upon itself.

Enter Moira, a young woman responding to a cryptic help wanted ad that asks her to report to room 133A – but there are no directions, no sign of the room, and nobody seems inclined to help her find it. As she moves through the Zenobian maze, Moira makes some surprising discoveries about the power of teamwork and the qualities that define true leaders. Her story is interwoven with that of a long-time Zenobia employee named Gallagher, who watches and comments as Moira tries to find the ever-elusive room 133A.

Zenobia reminds us that imagination is one of the most powerful, and most overlooked, elements of business success. Like Moira, those who succeed see what is not yet there, keep faith in their vision, take risks to achieve it, and inspire others to join them. This unusual book will move readers to take a fresh and fearless look at their own organizations and to remember that leadership is not determined by title or position. Rather, as the want ad Moira answers puts it, “Creative persistence a prerequisite. A desire for the extraordinary an absolute must.”

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I would reproduce the book’s description from the back cover:
“Written by the CEO of a $14 billion pharmaceutical company and an award winning author and poet, this extraordinary book reminds us
that imagination is one of the most powerful, and most overlooked, elements of business success. Moira, an enterprising young job aspirant, winds her way through a strange, sclerotic bureaucracy, never discouraged by what is, remaining tenaciously true to her vision of what could be. In the process, she inspires those she meets to help in her quest to revitalize the once-mighty but now moribund Zenobia Corporation.”
Well, I agree with the description but have to add that this was a very different book that I ever read. The story of Moira, a young lady going to do something different and change the status quo, is told in a symbolic manner. When I started reading, I found it too weird. But the later part was very perfect and it kept on getting a better read, as we the readers become habitual to the symbols used in the story. It is a story of courage and it is a story of hope. It is a story which tells us that everything can change, just we have to have the right attitude.
Should I recommend it to others? Yes, if you are curious about this curiously symbolic story. It is a small book running into about 100 pages. And it is fun reading.
- Rahul

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About the author (2008)

Beth Kephart's first book was a National Book Award finalist & was named a best book of the year by "Salon," the "Philadelphia Inquirer," & others. Kephart has won a 2000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the 1998 Leeway grant, & the 1997 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts top grant for fiction. Her essays & articles have appeared in magazine nationwide. She lives in Pennsylvania.

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