Book Review: Dancing with the Bull, by Matthew Simon

A humorous, thought-provoking tale of modern corporate life, as seen through the eyes of an incredibly important person who has it all.

A humorous portrayal of the author's career in the corporate world.

Former senior banking executive Matthew Simon’s first book is a humorous portrayal of his career in the corporate world. Disillusioned by his own experiences, he has taken pen to paper to articulate the hazy transition from his position as Master of the Universe to author.

The personification of characters throughout the book is both amusing for the reader as well as informative. Cast names of the characters are the very trait they personify. This uncommon technique assists us to see the stereotypes and is an ingenious method of providing character development.

Luke Glass is the main character; his personality and professional role loosely based on Matthew Simon’s career in companies such as Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan, National Australia Bank and Standard Chartered. For twenty-five years, Matthew worked in the banking industry and at the age of fifty, he left the corporate world after losing faith in the system.

The novel is immediately playful as he describes the events of unexpectedly losing his job as Master of the Universe to become an insufferable Manager of Household Duties. As luck would have it, he eventually finds another job, only to realise that the time away from work has made him a different person. The time off and the inward self-reflections triggered by the phantasm Manifesto, are the seeds that evoke discomfort in Luke Glass carrying out his regular occupation.

At work, the Font of All Knowledge, the Stooge, the Jackal and, the Very Busy People are bothersome to him each in their own way. For those that have worked in banking, it is amusing to note that all of them exist in this realm. Matthew Simon’s satire on the banking world is so uncannily accurate it is almost disheartening.

Each chapter, aptly titled with one keyword, give an indication to the events that are to unfold, from the first chapter of denial to truth to redemption, normality, crisis, anger and exhaustion, it eventually ends with Manifesto’s Test.

The book is not set in the current era of technology however. It is set at a time where illusions are important and a financial crisis has occurred. Even for those that have not worked in the sector, the satirical nature of the book will no doubt provide many a chuckle.

Reviewed by Rebecca Wu

Distributed by: Matthew Simon
Released: October 2017, reprinted December 2018
RRP: $29.95

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