Stealing the Corner Office

Erik Book Review, Personal Development and Psychology, Thoughts of a Mastermind, Work 4 Comments

Why does it seem your manager is so incompetent? What did they do to get them to where they are? What strategies are they using that we can replicate and employ to take control of our career?

Stealing the Corner OfficeHow many of you reading this post go to work each day and feel you deserve a promotion? You put in long hours, you get things done on time, you show passion in your work, and you are emotionally invested in the company; why haven’t you been promoted yet? Why does the gal or guy who seemingly does less work get the promotion? What skills and strategies are she or he using which are helping progress their careers? What can we learn from those people?

Stealing the Corner Office: The Winning Career Strategies They’ll Never Teach You in Business School, by Brendan Reid, explores the dynamics of career advancement in Corporate America. Reid, a seasoned executive, offers a collection of controversial yet effective tactics and strategies for people who want to learn the real secrets for moving up the corporate ladder.


Before continuing on with a more detailed summary and my takeaways, I want to give a shout out to Stuart, a blogger over at Epic Quiver, for suggesting Stealing the Corner Office!

Summary of Stealing the Corner Office

Reid spent 15 years of his working career in middle management. During his time, he became frustrated with his lack of progression. Why was it that people who seemingly were less smart, less “hard-working”, and less reliable moving up the corporate ladder and not him? He was practicing all of the conventional career tactics:

  • Being passionate about his work and ideas
  • Working to the point of exhaustion
  • Vocal and anxious to debate topics vigorously
  • Driven to deliver quarterly results
  • Emotionally invested int he company
  • Demanding of his employees and co-workers

He started to wonder, why wasn’t he the one being promoted and advancing in his career?

It turns out, conventional wisdom is not what will get you to the top of the corporate ladder – we must be tactical and smarter about your career goals and the strategy to achieve those goals.

In Corporate America, there are three players: the Incompetent Executives, the Smart-but-Stationary Managers, and the Poor Souls. Stealing the Corner Office uncovers the strategies of the Incompetent Executives and how we as Smart-but-Stationary Managers or Poor Souls can change our daily actions at work to set ourselves up for advancement.

The 7 Tactics of Stealing the Corner Office

I don’t want to go into too much detail here (as I don’t want to give away Reid’s secrets), but I will give you the title of the 7 tactics Reid covers:

  • Never be passionate about your ideas
  • Embrace the change everyone else hates
  • Learn to promote your products
  • Avoid the farce of results orientation
  • Don’t be part of the herd
  • Find big problems to solve
  • Don’t hold people accountable

You are probably reading this list and saying to yourself, “Really?” Yes, really. Reid walks you through different scenarios and stories which touch on all of the tactics listed above. While going through these scenarios and stories, you can relate and put yourself into the shoes of the managers and employees he describes. It’s a great learning tool and guide to understanding the principles of advancing your career.

Action Steps

With every book I read, I always try to have takeaways and actions steps for me to apply in my life. After reading Stealing the Corner Office, I have 3 things I want to do in my day job to ensure I can continue coming the corporate ladder.

First, I’m going to start connecting with more senior members in my department to figure out their main priorities. Companies are run by human beings; unsurprisingly, human beings like to work with people they like! By aligning my tasks and actions with my senior management’s thoughts and goals, I can better set myself up for advancement.

Second, I want to continue helping my peers to continue to establish myself as a leader in the organization. I’m a natural helper; if someone needs a hand, I’m always willing to lend one. After reading Stealing the Corner Office, this solidifies my understanding that being a helper is a key characteristic to showing you are capable of leadership positions.

My third action step will be to continue to learn about many topics in business. I already have started doing that with my goal to read 75 books in 2017. By choosing a wide variety of books, I’m have been able to widen my perspective, and increase my knowledge of different topics. One topic I want to gain more knowledge in is financial statements and accounting. After reading The Slight Edge (book review), I realized I should be devoting at least 15 minutes a day on this topic. I currently am getting through the book, Financial Statements, by Thomas Ittelson, to help increase my understanding of this topic. After that, I want to learn more about lending, negotiation, emotional intelligence, and general business topics.

My Recommendation

If you are struggling to advance your career in Corporate America, I’d recommend you pick up a copy of Stealing the Corner Office. I’m going to implement the strategies I learned in Stealing the Corner Office next Monday. When I get back to work I’m going to start reaching out to my senior managers. I’m going to keep working with and helping my peers. Finally, I’m going to continue to become more knowledgeable in a variety of areas.

Stealing the Corner Office will help correct your actions which are holding you back and get you on the path to management. I truly believe the strategies in Stealing the Corner Office will help you and me get to the next level.

Stealing the Corner Office

Buy this Book!

Are you looking to advance your career at work? Are you a natural leader or follower? Do you get frustrated by incompetent managers?

Again, thanks to Stuart, a blogger at Epic Quiver, for suggesting Stealing the Corner Office!

Thanks for reading and have a nice day! Check out other book reviews here.




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Comments 4

  1. Hey Erik,

    Great post. You got to me to click with the first line – “Why does it seem your manager is so incompetent?” Haha. That is my feeling often where I am.

    I like what Reid puts forth in this book. I will have to check it out. I’m at point in my career where I could use some ideas to push myself forward and network with others more. Maybe even do a pivot into a different department or something. So, this is very motivating.

    I have an accounting background. You can learn some basics through books, but I would recommend taking a class. You have some free classes online or through places like Khan Academy or Udemy. It’s a subject you really need to sink yourself into a bit to truly understand. Just a thought for you.

    Again, great post. Loving your content!


    1. Post

      I’m glad I’m able to pull you in with my introduction!! I’ve been working on my writing and it seems it’s paying off 🙂

      Thanks for the suggestions for learning accounting. I worked as a bookkeeper for 2 years, so I understand the basics, but I want to have a deeper understanding.

      Have a good day! 🙂

  2. This sounds like a great book to read. I do feel that I am reaching a point in my career that it’s a bit stagnant. It doesn’t really either when I have on average one new manager around every 18 months for the last 10 years. It’s quite difficult to move up when you have to adapt to a new manager every 18 months.

    1. Post

      I’d definitely suggest this one. Even today, I caught myself presenting and saying “I think this” or “I think that”. No one cares what “you think”. I need to work on speaking directly vs. putting emphasis on me.

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