The one-sentence summary

To stand the chance of making any sense you need to avoid using jargon.


  • This is a complete dictionary of business bullshit with over 2,000 entries.
  • Each word or phrase has two definitions  – one that is a genuine attempt to explain what each piece of bull is trying to convey, and the other providing all the ammunition you need to denounce or ridicule it.
  • Here are two example entries:

Bullshit: 1. The excreta of a large male bovine. 2. Technically endless supply of waffle and nonsense uttered in business meetings; cunning wordsmithery that is neither on the side of the false nor the truth; verbal expedience; the entire contents of this book. (see Bollocks, talking; Doughnut rather than the hole, it would be wise to concentrate on the; Obfuscation; Off the top of my head; Static; Talking out loud; Waffle; White noise; Word dump)

Banana, stabbing a seal with a: 1. Using a tropical crescent-shaped fruit to terminate the life of an aquatic mammal of the phocidae or otaridae families. 2. Hopelessly equipped for the job; using entirely the wrong tool to get something done; repeatedly using the same technique again and again hoping in vain for a different result; too dim to change tactics. (see Bark into the wind, up the wrong tree; Grasping at fog; Nailing a jelly to the wall, trying to)

  • Quite a lot of business jargon has its origins in business books, and those who use it really should know where it comes from. Examples include:

~ Stick to the knitting (Tom Peters, In Search of Excellence)

~ Bias for action (the same)

~ BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal (Jim Collins, Good To Great)

~ The Long Tail (Chris Anderson, The Long Tail)

  • Being on the lookout for daft jargon encourages people to speak more clearly in business. This in turn means they will think more clearly.


  • The entries are cross-referenced, so as soon as you latch on to a subject you can find all the phraseology that is related to it.
  • As well as being amusing, anyone new to business can use the book to mug up on what on earth colleagues are talking about, especially in companies that use a lot of jargon.
  • A lot of modern business is effectively conducted in code, and this book deciphers it.


  • If you ever end up speaking like this you’ll either get fired or promoted, depending on your company culture.