Who Moved My Blackberry? is a modern epistolary novel, one told entirely through personal written correspondence, about how strange the corporate world can be. We are given a look into a year in the life of Martin Lukes, Lucy Kellaway's fictional creation for the Financial Times, marketing director for ab-global. The company is having some major PR issues, resulting in unfortunate situations like a riot at a homeless shelter when Martin acts as a spokesperson to deliver clothing donations.
Martin believes that he is always right no matter what. He hires a personal life coach, Pandora, to bring him to his next level and constantly questions every bit of advice she has. He takes advantage of his personal assistant and believes his wife incapable of returning to the corporate world for any meaningful employment. Martin skips out on every important event in the lives of his sons, opting to communicate via e-mail from work. He's a drinker, complainer, and gossiper.
What makes Who Moved My Blackberry? such a compelling read is the decision of Lucy Kellaway to present the novel as outbox communications from Martin's perspective. The only consistent break from Martin's two-sided nature - best friend one minute, worst enemy the next - is the motivational e-mails from Pandora. This provides a refreshing break from Martin's unmitigated egotism which cannot be broken no matter what misfortune he suffers.
The writing is dry, quick, and hilarious. Some may balk at the e-mail shorthand used by Martin as less than worthy of novelization, but Kellaway uses it to great effect. Martin believes he is hip, with it, and popular, so of course he will ape - and fail, every time - to copy the affects of modern digital communication. This is a man who sincerely believes that golf is the key to all problems in life and every achievement in life demands immediate recognition.
The novel starts in a very episodic fashion. Martin tackles a business project and puts off family matters. Then Martin tackles another business project and puts off family matters. Soon enough, these issues begin to build on themselves, as Martin's early decisions at work impact which jobs he leads and his familial choices add further complications to the mix. By the halfway point of the novel, the narrative is interwoven with many threads that cannot possibly come together in a good way for Martin. Oblivious to his own ignorance, Martin barrels on full force as if every decision he made was the perfect one.
Who Moved My Blackberry? might be even more relevant to society now than it was at publication three years ago. It is a fast and engaging read as Kellaway perfectly captures the all talk, no action style of an overreaching underachieving businessman.