Adages receives loads of review books in the mail, most of them about marketing and most of them unreadable. There's just not enough time to tuck into a volume with a title such as, "Your Share of Stomach: Developing Entry Strategies and Positioning in a Segmented Package Goods Environment," by the Lotus Consulting Group. So it was with some relief that Adages found, after tearing through a pile of padded envelopes, a slim little parody of the marketing self-help genre by none other than Fortune columnist Stanley Bing. "Throwing the Elephant: Zen and the Art of Managing Up" hits bookstores this week and is an official Adages Book Club selection. "Elephant" instructs in the art of handling otherwise unbearable bosses (elephants) with Zen-like calm. "Zen will enable you to take an object of enormous weight and size and mold it in your grasp like a ball of Silly Putty," writes Bing. "For senior management is, in truth, the silliest putty of all." Bing is the nom de plume of Gil Schwartz, chief flack at CBS, an elephant himself and thus an authority. Gil, as Stanley, spoke to Adages last week about elephant men in the ad industry. According to Stanley, WPP Group CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, is "the biggest little elephant in the business. Sorrell is a small elephant but very powerful, and quite capable. However, small elephants are no easier to throw than the big elephants."
Tossing the little pachyderm
Brian Brooks should read Bing's book. The beleaguered chief human resources officer of WPP Group accepted a job offer as HR director at Interpublic Group of Cos. late last year and gave his boss, Sir Martin, one-year's notice as required by his contract. But that apparently wasn't enough to satisfy the little elephant. Sir Martin is taking Mr. Brooks to court. WPP filed a legal claim in the UK high court two weeks ago to enforce a two-year non-compete clause in Mr. Brooks' contract. WPP Group vs. Brian Brooks will be heard the first week of July. Meanwhile, four WPP lawyers and two Interpublic lawyers spent Feb. 28 cooling their heels in the high court, waiting unsuccessfully to be heard by the barrister on a preliminary matter. WPP was petitioning to have Interpublic's lawyers, who represent Brian, dismissed from the case. That hearing was rescheduled for today. Also, last week, lawyers were spotted in WPP's New York offices going through Mr. Brooks' email and files. Mr. Brooks declined to comment, as did Sir Martin.
It ain't over till ...
Adages ran into Ceslie Armstrong last week at the W Hotel cafe on Union Square. "Talk about larger than life," quipped the plus-size former executive editor of Mode, a plus-size fashion magazine that was folded by half-owner Freedom Communications last year. Ceslie had just returned from Palm Desert, Calif., where she oversaw a shoot for Grace, a new plus-size fashion title. A group of undisclosed investors is bankrolling Grace Media, a private company that will put out its first issue May 14. "We're ahead of the curve," says Ceslie who will be editor in chief of Grace and CEO of Grace Media. Robert Bellone, the former CFO of Mode, will be the publisher, and Jacqui Stafford, another Mode alum, is fashion and beauty director. Ceslie describes Grace as a cross between Mode and Lucky. "It's not just fashion," says Ceslie. "There will be articles about products and lifestyle." The startup's tagline: "Living life to the fullest."
Richard Linnett is glad to be back. Tell him how much you missed him at [email protected]