Business owners die, heirs sell, and companies disappear. It happens all the time. But, when Grayson Quinn’s mentor Big Bill passes away – and his daughters quickly decide to sell off their father’s legacy – the burden of saving the company and the livelihood of so many others falls to Grayson.
To succeed, he must accomplish the seemingly impossible. It will take all of Grayson’s ingenuity to overcome insanely bad marketing, negotiate without money, and outwit obnoxious competitors who want to buy the company and steal his business, not necessarily in that order.
Hidden motives drive critical decisions, as Grayson is caught in the middle with little understanding of anyone’s true intentions. Business as usual is his directive to anyone who will listen, but there’s nothing usual about the final days of Martlet Visionary Products.
"A hilariously fun read loaded with relatable characters and laugh-out-loud moments that’s so damn entertaining, you’ll wish you worked with these people. Buckle up for a white-knuckle ride that will remind you of the best companies you’ve ever worked for… and the worst. "
If you have spent any amount of time in the custom electronics world, “Surfing with the Bishop” by industry veteran Jeff Costello is a must-read. It’s not a “how-to” business book, but a novel, which might make it the first-ever book of fiction using the custom AV market as the backdrop. But be careful… as I read the novel, I found myself attaching the names of real individuals in the custom electronics industry to all the fascinating fictional characters in the book. I expect many of you will find yourself doing the exact same thing. Certainly, Costello, vice president of sales at Nortek Control, is well suited to tell the inner-working of the industry. He has spent 30+ years creatively motivating sales teams, interacting with larger-than-life characters, and putting the pedal to the metal to hit demanding goals. In the novel he is able to perfectly capture the hustle and bustle of the daily grind every company faces in this wacky industry with plenty of humor. Many of us don’t realize how dynamic, crazy and interesting this industry is until you read a fictionalized version of what most of you do every day. The book revolves around the central character Grayson Quinn, an ingenious leader of a sales team for a commercial and smart home control hardware manufacturer. (Sound familiar?) Quinn works for Martlett Vision Visionary Products (MVP) and the company is for sale. To help boost the company’s valuation, it’s vital that Quinn and his team hit the quarterly sales goal. And one of the keys to hitting that goal is to outsmart a keen competitor and close a major deal with a large regional AV retailer. (Sound more familiar?) Of course, chaos ensues from outside industry consultants, a range of unique personalities, international distribution woes, product development problems, marketing challenges, shrinking budgets, trade show attendance, party-loving customers, and devious and clumsy competitors. Quinn must expertly navigate it all — using one of the most creative closing techniques ever — to meet his desired outcome. The book will definitely connect with anyone in the smart home industry who has ever managed a sales team. The book will definitely connect with anyone in the smart home industry who has ever managed a sales team. Sure, there are lots of “how to” sales books written by noted business gurus out there, but “Surfing with the Bishop” puts the main character Quinn in a multitude of difficult sales situations that he must creatively solve. Although fictionalized, as you read you can clearly tell that these are based on real-life scenarios with real-life solutions. A quick read, the 296-page book will also resonate with anyone who has ever worked for a company that was for sale or sold. The author delves into the internal culture struggles that can take place among various individuals when a company is for sale and their future is unknown. Through it all, the main character Quinn abides by mantra “Always do your best selling at corporate.” Did I mention the one-liners? The book is loaded with them so will want to keep a pen and paper handy to write some of them down, including my favorite quips when Quinn asks a potential job candidate to describe his greatest weakness. (“I am a terrible dancer.”) So what about the title? What does that reference? It is an ongoing theme throughout the book that you will have to read to find out. They say everyone’s life is a novel and I am reminded of the Rush lyric, “What you live is your own story,” but the fact that Costello was able to put pen to paper describing those experiences in such a humorous way is admirable. I am jealous.
The author did a marvelous job of creating a unique reading experience that focuses on high-stakes business operations while also crafting memorable characters that readers will feel invested in. The amount of detail the author poured into the characters was amazing to see, as the business world felt alive and vibrant in the author’s novel, as did the businessmen and women who brought this company to life. The way the author infused humor and wit into the character’s interactions within this office setting and the issues protagonist Grayson faced were well-rounded and entertaining to see unfold.
Yet it was the tone and world-building the author did that really made this novel come alive. It is such a unique story as it really hones in onto the business theme and had detailed accounts of how the business side of things ran, elevating the characters and their own struggles as the story went on. Layering this into a story of loss and overcoming insurmountable odds, along with the theme of legacy, made this story really shine brightly.
A memorable, original, and highly creative read, author Jeff Costello’s “Surfing with the Bishop” is a must-read contemporary fiction novel. The funny interactions between the characters within this business world and the layered world and character growth the author introduced will definitely have readers enthralled, making this a brilliant feat of storytelling. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!