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Publisher's Summary

The irreverent author of the cult classic Syrup hits his target in this satire on the wages of big capital. In Max Barry's hilarious vision of the near future, the world is run by giant American corporations, and employees take the last names of the companies they work for; The Police and The NRA are publicly traded security firms, and the U.S. government may only investigate crimes if they can bill a citizen directly. When lowly Merchandising Officer Hack Nike unwittingly signs a contract that involves shooting teenagers to build up street credibility for Nike's new line of $2,500 sneakers, he goes to The Police, only to be pursued by Jennifer Government, a tough-talking agent with a bar-code tattoo under her eye, the consumer watchdog from hell.
©2003 Max Barry; (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Wicked and wonderful....[It] does just about everything right. Fast-moving, funny, and involving." (The Washington Post Book World)
"Funny and clever....A kind of ad-world version of Dr. Strangelove. [Barry] unleashes enough wit and surprise to make his story a total blast." (The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Dan
  • El Paso, TX, United States
  • 06-10-09

Robo Cop without the Robots

Very strong plot.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not the best work from Mr. Barry

I "read" The Company and truly enjoyed it. This was not enjoyable. There was no lightheartedness fun in this book. One of the reasons I chose it was because The Company really made me laugh. I expected the same. Maybe I shouldn't have. The concept is there, the farreaching idea is there -- but its just not good enough for me to rate it any higher than 2 stars. And that my friends is being generous.

  • Overall
  • Renee
  • Jacksonville, FL, United States
  • 11-03-08

Clever and Interesting Plot

The plot is clever and fast-paced. The narrator was very good but the female voices sounded a bit funny. Overall, I would recommend this book. I work on the computer most of the day and this was an enjoyable audiobook to listen to. I work in the marketing field and it's not too far off the mark on how bizarre advertising think can get!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Government's in the house!

Imagine a drama mixed with suspense; throw in a splash of action and a main character that looks good in a skirt and you have this novel. Jennifer Government makes you wonder who done it, and how did he do that. In addition, you will want to share this book with friends and family, but I highly recommend you tell them to buy their own, as you will never want to give up your copy. This book is a modern day classic and Max Berry deserves all the accolades we can give him.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Bucket of Laughs

I'm sure there's a message to get, but the humor in this gets in the way of the message being too heavy handed. Characters were wonderful and the situations histerical. To see were Max has taken this, visit

  • Overall

Ouch, my ears

I admit I didn't get very far into this book, though I was very interested after having played Mr. Barry's online game and reading the concept behind the story. I was so disappointed! After a while I couldn't listen anymore, it just hurt. The narration was monotonous and dull and the characters were flat and uninteresting. I've read better stories by 8th graders!

  • Overall

Great Escape with Meaningful Warning

Well written and narrated, a story with a meaningful message of what will happen if we allow the the unchecked power of the ultra right in this world and country. At the same time Max Barry uses humor, and an intriguing story, to help you forget for a little while the brutality of puppet Shrub and his Masters.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • Champlin, MN, USA
  • 03-13-05


I was really hoping for a fun read here, but was very disappointed overall. The characters were just a bit too hokey, and there wasn't anyone to really identify with. Toward the end, I was hoping that all of them (except Jennifer's daughter) would destroy each other in some interesting and violent way. But, it was simply more rambling narrative. There were too many points where I thought to myself "who cares?", especially at the end of the chapters. If you're interested in this type of story, look at Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash." It's much more skillfully done.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • CT
  • 02-03-15

God-awful accents, unexamined anti-capitalism

What disappointed you about Jennifer Government?

The story was pretty basic. This guy is like reverso Ayn Rand... has bad feelings about capitalism and monopolies so he wrote a boring story with one-dimensional characters so he could move them around and go, "see?"

Would you be willing to try another book from Max Barry? Why or why not?

I am so confused... I loved Lexicon so much. I guess I would try again, but now I'm all nervous. Thank goodness for Audible returns...

Would you be willing to try another one of Michael Kramer’s performances?

Not even ever. That guy needs to find a different job.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Discomfort and boredom. Sometimes annoyance.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sherry
  • Oakland, CA USA
  • 05-10-08

Great idea, poorly executed

The topical premise of corporations taking over and running society with the goal of profit above all else, including human life, should have been quite intriguing. The book's presentation of privatized police and schools was utterly horrifying, but the story didn't really put forth much of a message to me. Although not quite as blatantly presented in this novel, corporations have already taken over, and it doesn't take much research to find out what many of them are doing out in the world when it comes to human and environmental exploitation (and, yes, even the taking of human lives). Another reviewer said it was preachy, but in a failed effort to be funny and absurd I found it didn't go far enough with it's message of the possibilities of all-powerful corporations.

Of course, that in and of itself wouldn't make for a bad book; however, it was just plain boring. Don't get me wrong: I was looking for a prophetic, cautionary tale delivered in an entertaining and humorous style, but this was a cheesy detective style potboiler with a tedious plot and uninteresting characters with little or no redeeming qualities. No one was likable or sympathetic (except perhaps Jennifer's daughter), and the humor fell flat. I'm giving it two stars for a good idea and the attempt (albeit, a failed one) of it's message.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful