Goodreads ratings
3.74 / 5

"Company" Summary

By Max Barry

fiction | 338 pages | Published in NaN

Stephen Jones is a shiny new hire at Zephyr Holdings. From the outside, Zephyr is just another bland corporate monolith, but behind its glass doors business is far from usual: the beautiful receptionist is paid twice as much as anybody else to do nothing, the sales reps use self help books as manuals, no one has seen the CEO, no one knows exactly what they are selling, and missing donuts are the cause of office intrigue. While Jones originally wanted to climb the corporate ladder, he now finds himself descending deeper into the irrational rationality of company policy. What he finds is hilarious, shocking, and utterly telling.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A satirical novel that delves into the absurdities of corporate life through the eyes of a newly hired employee.


"Company" is a captivating novel written by Max Barry that explores the world of corporate culture and the boundaries between personal and professional lives. This satirical and thought-provoking book takes readers on a thrilling journey through the inner workings of a fictional corporation known simply as "Zephyr Holdings."

Brief Synopsis

Set in a modern corporate environment, "Company" focuses on the lives of several employees at Zephyr Holdings, a company that specializes in producing and marketing consumer goods. The story unfolds in an unnamed city, where the company's headquarters are located.

Main Characters

Character NameDescription
JonesThe protagonist of the story, Jones is a new recruit at Zephyr Holdings who quickly rises through the ranks. He is ambitious and driven, but also becomes increasingly disillusioned with the company's practices.
MertonA long-time employee at Zephyr Holdings, Merton is initially supportive of the company and its values. However, as the story progresses, he becomes more skeptical and begins to question the morality of the company's actions.
AmandaAmanda is another employee at Zephyr Holdings who forms a romantic relationship with Jones. She provides an insider's perspective on the company and its inner workings.
EricAs one of the top executives at Zephyr Holdings, Eric represents the face of corporate power and embodies the company's cutthroat culture. He is willing to do whatever it takes to maintain the company's success, even if it means sacrificing the well-being of his employees.

Summary of Story Points Over Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction to Zephyr Holdings

Jones joins Zephyr Holdings as a low-level employee and is quickly introduced to the company's competitive culture and high-pressure environment. He is determined to succeed and rise through the ranks.

Chapter 2: Rising through the Ranks

Jones impresses his superiors with his innovative ideas and exceptional work ethic. He begins to climb the corporate ladder, earning promotions and gaining more influence within the company.

Chapter 3: The Dark Side of Success

As Jones becomes more involved in the inner workings of Zephyr Holdings, he begins to witness the unethical practices and disregard for employee well-being. He grapples with his own moral compass and the pressure to conform to the company's expectations.

Chapter 4: The Power Struggle

Jones forms a romantic relationship with Amanda, a fellow employee who shares his concerns about the company. Together, they attempt to expose the corrupt practices within Zephyr Holdings and incite change from within.

Chapter 5: The Battle for Truth

Jones and Amanda face numerous obstacles as they try to uncover the truth about Zephyr Holdings. They face opposition from higher-ups and encounter the company's complex web of deceit.

Chapter 6: The Final Showdown

In a dramatic climax, Jones confronts Eric, the company's ruthless executive, and reveals the truth about Zephyr Holdings to the public. The company faces public backlash, and Jones must decide whether to continue his career in the corporate world or pursue a different path.

Main Events

  1. Jones joins Zephyr Holdings and is introduced to the cutthroat corporate culture.
  2. Jones rises through the ranks and gains more influence within the company.
  3. Jones becomes disillusioned with the unethical practices at Zephyr Holdings.
  4. Jones forms a romantic relationship with Amanda and together, they try to expose the truth about the company.
  5. Jones confronts Eric, the company's executive, and reveals the truth about Zephyr Holdings to the public.
  6. Zephyr Holdings faces public backlash, and Jones must decide on his future.

Themes and Insights

Corporate Culture and Ethics

"Company" delves into the moral complexities of corporate culture and the pursuit of success. The book explores the tension between personal values and the demands of a cutthroat business environment. It raises questions about the lengths individuals are willing to go to achieve success and the impact of corporate practices on employees and society.

Identity and Individuality

The novel also examines the loss of personal identity and individuality within a corporate setting. It highlights how the pressure to conform to company values and expectations can erode one's sense of self. Jones' journey reflects the struggle to maintain personal integrity in the face of corporate influence.

Power and Corruption

The theme of power and corruption is central to the narrative. "Company" exposes the dark underbelly of corporate power and the willingness of those in positions of authority to exploit employees for personal gain. It sheds light on the unethical practices commonly found in large organizations.

Reader's Takeaway

"Company" offers readers a captivating and thought-provoking exploration of corporate culture and ethics. The book challenges readers to question their own values and the impact of their actions within a professional setting. It serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining personal integrity and the potential consequences of compromising one's values for success.


Max Barry's "Company" is a gripping novel that shines a light on the world of corporate culture. Through a cast of compelling characters and a well-crafted plot, the book provides insights into the moral complexities of the corporate world. "Company" is a must-read for anyone interested in exploring the dynamics of power, ethics, and personal identity within a corporate setting.

Company FAQ

  1. What is the book 'Company' about?

    The book 'Company' by Max Barry is a satirical novel that takes a humorous and critical look at corporate culture and the power dynamics within a fictional company called Zephyr Holdings.

  2. Who is the author of 'Company'?

    The author of 'Company' is Max Barry, an Australian writer known for his satirical and dystopian novels.

  3. Is 'Company' a standalone novel or part of a series?

    'Company' is a standalone novel, not part of a series.

  4. What genre does 'Company' belong to?

    'Company' is a satirical fiction novel that combines elements of humor and social commentary.

  5. Is 'Company' suitable for all ages?

    While 'Company' is generally suitable for adult readers, it may contain mature themes and language that may not be appropriate for younger audiences.

  6. Are there any sequels or prequels to 'Company'?

    No, 'Company' does not have any sequels or prequels.

  7. Are there any movie or TV adaptations of 'Company'?

    As of now, there are no movie or TV adaptations of 'Company'.

  8. Where can I purchase a copy of 'Company'?

    You can purchase a copy of 'Company' from various online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and bookstores.

  9. Is 'Company' available in ebook format?

    Yes, 'Company' is available in ebook format for those who prefer digital reading.

  10. What are some other notable books by Max Barry?

    Some other notable books by Max Barry include 'Jennifer Government' and 'Lexicon'.