This is a real page-turner, where the author has turned his insider view into a thrilling glimpse of the world of power-wielding strategy.
The trend in the U.S. is inarguably toward larger and larger organizations. In this story of winners and losers, Thomsen has depicted the ravages wrought by mergers on individual lives. His aim was to depict what actually occurs in the acquisition of any large company in human terms. Asked why he chose a fictional form, Thomsen replied, " My hope is that more people will read this type of writing. Mergers are human stories, not just case studies for graduate business schools. They affect the prices consumers pay; they are part of modern life much like satellite communications and computer technology; they form the society around us. And that society should understand mergers' impact upon it."
From James L. Warsher, Railway Age Magazine:
Thomsen...has turned his insider outlook into a thrilling glimpse of the world of power-wielding strategy as focused on three giant western railroads a...real thriller...
From Henry Berry, Turnarounds and Workouts, December 15, 2005:
The book begins with Richard Smith, manager of corporate security of Arrow Corporation, destroying company documents in a "materials shredder" with diamond-tipped mechanical gears that can pulverize typewriters, file cabinets, and tape spools; thus ridding Arrow of office equipment that could be linked to incriminating documents. While musing on how his task of destroying office equipment secures his place in the corporation by binding him to certain ambitious, underhanded top corporate personnel with their shared involvement in criminal acts, Smith is knocked unconscious and stuffed into the shredder himself. >From such suspenseful beginnings the story continues to follow the maze of feigns and dirty tricks, the betrayals and ignorance, the concerns and ruthlessness, the coolly-done crimes and desperate measures of many individuals connected in varying degrees to Arrow Corporation's ambitious goal of acquiring the three largest railroads in the Western United States and merging them into one colossal system under Arrow's aegis. Business executives, housewives, the corporate jet pilot, an outside attorney, an investment banker, and an executive assistant are among the cast of characters helping to shed light on the many facets of the plot.
Thomsen writes about events, situations, and primary and peripheral characters in the business world as convincingly and dramatically as John Grisham does about those in the legal world. Though Merger Takeover Conspiracy has some sensationalistic touches, the novel is not generic, popular entertainment. Thomsen's novel can be read on many levels: as a gripping crime story about brutal crimes; as a narrative of the unfolding of a master plan for a complex, high-stakes merger; as a portrayal of corporate society; and as a cautionary tale about the personal tragedies caused by systematic illegal activity in large businesses.
Although Merger Takeover Conspiracy was first published in 1985, it reflects major stories in today's news media. The crimes of top executives of Tyco, Worldcom, Adelphia, and others cannot but come into the reader's mind. Thomsen goes well beyond the content and personalities of any news stories, however, to shed a critical light on how such events could occur in the business world.
In the convention of good mystery writing, Thomsen keeps the reader guessing until the end. In the end, the guilty are exposed, but, in the larger perspective, there is no single culprit. Instead, the entire corporate culture is indicted. Some of the characters can hardly be blamed since they were simply acting according to the principles and the goals of the environment they were in.
David J. Thomsen has a background in management, entrepreneurship, executive positions and consulting. Much of his work has involved research and he is the author of hundreds of articles.
David J. Thomsen is the founder and director of ERI Economic Research Institute in Redmond, Washington and Baker, Thomsen Associates, a West coast compensation and benefits consulting firm. He was formerly a principal with William M. Mercer, Senior Vice President of American Stores, and Manager of Compensation for Dart Industries. Although semi-retired, Thomsen advises ERI research efforts, various programs, and its Distance Learning Center courses. In addition to Merger, he has written hundreds of articles. He holds a Ph.D. in Management Analysis.