Essay Example on Throwing Elephant: A Guide to Managing Up and Business Life

Published: 2022-12-27
Essay Example on Throwing Elephant: A Guide to Managing Up and Business Life
Type of paper:  Book review
Categories:  Management Business Books
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1509 words
13 min read


Stanley Bing writes the book "Throwing elephant" which is a business book and structures the work in a way that is humorous so as to bring out the way of "managing up". The book is in the category of business and outlines ways that employees can solve problems at work in terms of their business life. The technique of managing a business is as simple as throwing an elephant as explained in this book of how to manage a boss which is the business. All it takes to manage a business is a step-by-step plan, a proper state of mind and sufficient faith.

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Main Ideas

Stanley regards an elephant as your boss and the act of throwing him is to say, managing him. He states that it is not the choice of the employee to choose the elephant or boss that they would like and thus, there is a need for managing them since they all do not suit everyone's definition of the ideal boss. Employees need to work on their business skills which are needed to provide the simple handling of an elephant (boss) and ensuring the daily life is possible.

It is obvious that the majority of people have worked for elephants and the book provides a great way to describe the kind of people they work for. Employees mostly feel that they are stuck with a bunch of elephants to refer to the management levels that they are answerable to and have to watch where they walk as they are careful so as not to get trampled. It is necessary that people be aware of the bosses they are working for and manage them accordingly.

Sometimes a boss may get angry during the working process, being the cause of all that, relax and take a deep breath outing in mind that this life needs breath and face him (Bing, 2002). Some of the bosses should be managed else the business may end up running to make losses instead of profits. One of the sections found in this book talks about an experience with one of the elephants called Martha Stewart.

It is a story of an elephant meeting with a monk who was young. He says that the times that he met with Martha Stewart were not four times fewer until it reached the fifth time when they met whereby she showed some recognition (Ellison & Munro 2010).This is where he got the chance and was able to meet his agency head at around a number of times that totaled to 10 at least. He did the introduction about himself in all the times that they met as if it was the first day when they met. Some of the expiations that he gave were that he was the agency's head. The employee was a man who was large and quiet but every time he got the chance to meet with the elephant when the elephant failed to show any sign that they had met before this cause perplexing in him. They met for some time before he made a decision to make some fun with all this and a trial to a greeting which was new.

When he started introducing himself, the employee decided to give him 'I know that I do work for you' as the answer. This continued for a couple of times and days, the elephant did not show the employee any sign of recognition even after all this. The employee explains that the elephant could not recognize him because he was too much above him. The book called 'It is not who you know, but who knows you' had taught the employee a lot of things including how to use the hard way in order to manage up because maybe the decisions that he had made before about the moves about his career were probably not the best as considered(Gilbert, Hudson $ Strider 2016). He had also met with an elephant was they greatly got along with each, was encouraging him most of the time and this made the employee enjoy all the working he did for him. When the elephant was in the years of almost retiring, elephant s that belonged to him gave another elephant the role of acting as his assistant and go ahead to do his replacement after his retirement. An elephant in this business did not have any say when it came to the matter of about who was supposed to be his assistant (Bartok, & Roemer, 2017). After all this, the assistant and the old elephant did not get along with each other. All the time that he had been working for the old elephant, he had known the assistant as equals but at this time he was the elephant.

The rate at which this employee and the old elephant associated was so intense but did not increase knowledge about his career. Understanding and intelligence was also not helping him. During one of the meetings that were called by the manager, which was considered as useless and frequent, the elephant called this employee by one of his names which belonged to his peers. The new elephant had been able to know the times of the employee's peer for a period of months which were few and he had known his real name for many years made him feel insulted and taken back (Eyre, 2016). He gave him a reply by calling him using the name of the old elephant since his mind was not able to control his mouth in this situation. This was the worst move that he had ever taken in his work. The other manager made fun of how all this turned out to be by clapping the back of the employee after the meeting was completed. They released all the laughter that they had been holding during the meeting time. He then came to learn from the book that this move was not good to do even after the elephant not saying anything afterward that was right not one up the new elephant.

In all the interviews that he has attended, when asked what would make him worth a promotion, he answered that because he had worked for the government, businesses which are private and the consultation sector, the experience that he had was rounded well and this gave him the preparation for challenges that were new. He had believed that this kind of answer was true and really loved it. After giving this type of answer which was home run, he thought about all the elephants that he had worked for and realized that they both had not to work anywhere else before (Eyre, 2016). It was like an insult to them all. The good news turned out to be that he was not able to get the work and promotion. After all this, he got another chance where he attended the same kind of interview for promotion whereby the elephant who was the assistant was included and his ego got bruised by not being chosen for the job. His elephant then made a point of calling him later to her office in order to let him down by the way she went straight to the point by sharing the discussions that went on among the assistant elephant, the elephant, and his elephant.

All this was so open that the assistant and his elephant did not favorably look upon him and he has been working in that job from that time. He has a strong belief that since the elephant has retired, that at the end of this tunnel, there might be some light. The business is searching for the person who is going to replace him after he leaves and for this position, the assistant elephant is likely not to fit in this position. During the working process, some of the elephants are friendlier to him (Detert & Burris 2016). The book about throwing the elephant gave him a lot of memories that were both bad and good. He finally explains that looking back at the elephants that he worked with was so fun using the knowledge that at some point would be thrown at his elephant.


Bartok, J., & Roemer, L. (2017). Remembering-and-Receiving: Mindfulness and Acceptance in Zen. In Handbook of Zen, Mindfulness, and Behavioral Health (pp. 237-250). Retrieved from

Bing, S. (2002). Throwing the Elephant: Zen and the Art of Managing Up (p. 240). Harper Information (publisher). Retrieved from

Detert, J. R., & Burris, E. R. (2016). Can your employees really speak freely? Harvard Business Review, 94(1-2), 80-87. Retrieved from

Ellison, L., & Munro, V. E. (2010). A stranger in the bushes, or an elephant in the room? Retrieved from

Eyre, C. (2016). The Elephant in the Staffroom: How to reduce stress and improve teacher wellbeing. Retrieved from

Gilbert, R. T., Hudson, J. S., & Strider, D. (2016). Addressing the Elephant in the Room. Retrieved from

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