December 31, 2009


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Z.E.O: A Zombie's Guide to Getting A(Head) in Business

By Scott Kenemore

Skyshorse Publishing: 2009


4 / 5 zedheads

“Turn your weaknesses into strengths -- a missing arm or leg never stops a zombie.”

The New Year is a time for resolutions: goals for self-improvement to guide us into a promising future. At this time, people look to inspirational public figures, religious leaders, and even celebrities and sports stars for cues on how to improve their lives, but does anyone think about looking for a role model in the Zombie?

Author Scott Kenemore does. In Z.E.O.: A Zombie's Guide to Getting A(Head) in Business, Kenemore continues the path he started with his first self-help book The Zen of Zombie (2007) to look at zombies from a new perspective. Turning the negativism of “zombie” on its head, Kenemore's refreshing new humor book for wannabe business tycoons shows how emulating the zombie will lead its readers to the head of the corporate table . . . and to the rewarding brains within.

Offering an interesting and satirical approach to zombies and business, Z.E.O. takes the reader on a trip to unleash the inner zombie, culminating in a step-by-step plan for becoming the C.E.O. – or rather the Z.E.O. – of a company by the end of its fourth quarter. There are numerous humorous asides and tips. Also, Kenemore drops references to several well-known and obscure zombie films that shows he's clearly well-versed in zombiedom. It's refreshing to see someone who is clearly a fan of zombies writing about them instead of cashing in on a trend.

Z.E.O. is written as a guide book that instructs its readers in the ways of the zombie – the principles of selfless, antisocial dedication and unrelenting undead efficiency – that, if copied, will lead to corporate success. Unfortunately, like other zombie guide books, Z.E.O. does not have a structure that makes it as compelling to read as a fictional narrative. It's a book you can put down for weeks and then resume reading without feeling a sense of urgency. However, Z.E.O. is a far more intriguing and witty read  than a simple guidebook. Z.E.O.'s approach is quite novel. Kenemore has a gift for taking the qualities that make zombies ridiculous and vulnerable and showing them in a light that makes them noble and powerful. I mean, I love zombies, but I was genuinely surprised at Kenemore's ability to make being a zombie sound so appealing.

The most amusing part of his book is the thoughtful examination of how zombies embody many of the widely-held beliefs about business success and power. For example, you may have heard that it is better to win through actions rather than arguments. Well, as Kenemore points out, a zombie has never won an argument. It has no need to argue – it is a creature of action. Biting, rending, tearing action. Messy, yes, but, they get results every time! And in an economy crippled by waste and inefficiency, perhaps we could use a few more zombie businesses if they are as dedicated and motivated as Kenemore makes zombies out to be.

Unfortunately, the artwork and illustrations in the book are so rough and amature-looking they may dissuade people from picking up the book at the bookstore. The art, which is also on the cover, looks sloppy and rushed. It undermines the credibility of the writing itself and the otherwise effective digest-style design of the book. Don't let the cover fool you; in an overcrowded subgenre where we tend to see more of the same this book is one of the rare inventive, polished, and unique representations of the zombie.

Even if you have no interest in business, start your New Year right with a copy of Scott Kenemore's Z.E.O. “Zombie” has become something of a bad word lately, what with all the talk of "zombie" banks and government institutions in the USA, but "zombie" doesn't have to stay that way. In 2010, empower yourself to be zombie-like as Kenemore describes it. Rise up from the depressing grave of 2009 and forge ahead, united and together, in the unstoppable search for brains or, in your case, whatever you most desire. The world is your brain pan.



Z.E.O.: Official Listing