For 30 years, Gil Schwartz has been living a double life: a corporate publicity exec by day, outside the office he’s Stanley Bing, the snarky, straight-talking business author and former columnist for Esquire and Fortune magazines. He was unmasked by a New York Times writer in 1996, but continues to keep the two domains separate.
Day job: Senior Exec VP/Chief Communications Officer, CBS
What: Author of 12 books, Bing’s latest is “The Curriculum: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master of Business Arts.”
Why: “Most people who are very successful don’t have an MBA — why should everyone have to get one?,” says Bing, who laces his advice on navigating the corporate landscape with tongue-in-cheek takeaways like bar charts on the comparative effectiveness of various male hairstyles.
What’s changed: In three decades, Schwartz says a few things are different. “People don’t drink at the office; nobody’s drinking at lunch. Things were much easier when everyone was slightly plastered. Also, there’s fewer swaggering bullies, and more attempts to be collegial.”
What’s the same: “The underlying essence of business and the workplace hasn’t changed. It’s still about the struggle of people to understand each other and manage each other, and about power.
Last Word: “All the superheroes have alter egos.” Using a pseudonym is “an honorable institution,” Schwartz says.