x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

You Can't Fire Everyone: Veteran journalist puts on manager hat

The US journalist Hank Gilman describes life as an "accidental manager" at some of America's most illustrious publications including The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Boston Globe and Forbes.

You Can't Fire Everyone.
You Can't Fire Everyone.

By his own reckoning, Hank Gilman has had "great jobs" at The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Newsweek and Fortune magazine. But in the past he's always avoided writing a book because "there are so many bad ones" out there. He had a change of heart, he confesses, after a night spent at the movies watching Paul Blart: Mall Cop - which in itself probably tells you all you need to know about the general tone and overall ambition of this book.

Don't misunderstand me, Gilman gives good copy - you'd expect nothing less from a "rock-solid, major-league journalist". He paints entertaining (and sometimes toe-curling) scenes, and the depth of his knowledge is evident throughout. But You Can't Fire Everyone suffers from a flaw that Gilman himself identifies late in the piece. Written as a "flow-of-consciousness thing", it all feels driven but directionless, a non-linear memoir arranged around the sketchiest of structures. It's wonderful stuff nonetheless, particularly if you are remotely familiar with the workings of newspapers and magazines, but other and more instructive business manuals are available.