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Stanley Bing has a tip for Salman Rushdie: If you want to poke fun at a religion, choose a mellow one and there'll be less fuss. Zen Buddhism, for instance--which, along with bosses, is the object of much sport in the Fortune columnist's management-book parody, Throwing the Elephant (HarperBusiness, $20.95).

It's Mel Brooks meets the bodhisattva. "To labor is to suffer, and probably for too little money." Badda-bing. "The road to wisdom lies in two frequent states of being: sitting and silence. Mostly in meetings." Badda-boom. Bing's borscht-belt sutra looks at a range of topics, including complimenting, trusting, disobeying, and ignoring the boss, or "elephant."

Even at a mere 201 pages, the book may tire some readers. But hold on for enlightening anecdotes and quotes involving figures from Martha Stewart to Jerry Levin to Ralph Lauren, revealing narcissism, callousness, self-deception, and/or ignorance. They'll take you to a higher plane.

By Hardy Green


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