Saturday, 28 February 2015

Six Business Lessons from Caged Eagle

Rohmer has crafted an exciting and fast moving tale of adventure. Because of his own personal experience in war, the law and business, he is able to bring accuracy and realism to the storyline.
– Cathy Knox, ‘Rohmer's Latest Thrilling and Stimulating’, Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin, 7 March 2003.
The lone review of Caged Eagle was published in the Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin. Other than that, the only mention anywhere came from the author himself in columns written for the very same paper.

“I have a heavy-duty Canadian Search and Rescue [sic] scene in my raunchy new novel Caged Eagle in your book stores [sic] now,” he appends to the conclusion of a 27 September 2002 piece on military rescue.

That no other papers seem to have paid attention is a crying shame because I’ve learned more about big business from Caged Eagle than any other book since Retaliation. No surprise that the lessons come in the form of a meeting. I refer here to Louise Peters' teleconference with the various Peters Group company executives.

(Am I correct that this is the first conference call we’ve had? After nearly three decades of meetings this appears unlikely, but I can't remember another.)

Lesson #1
Unless on honeymoon, last-minute changes to executives' schedules are easily done.

Lesson #2
Company executives will drop anything to speak with an employer’s hated, estranged daughter (even if she is a bitch).

Lesson #3
A lesson first learned in Ultimatum, but one that needs be repeated. When chairing a meeting, lead with something the rest don’t know (“my mother and father were both killed in the crash of a bush plane”), then quickly switch to the familiar:
“As you are all aware, the controlling shares of each of your companies is held in a privately held offshore company based in Bermuda. My father was the chairman, CEO, and with one exception, the only shareholder. As you are also aware my father and I were deeply estranged and so I have no idea what his provisions are in his will as to the disposition of the estate… I assume that with my mother and father both deceased at the same time, the entire estate will fall to my brother and me."
Lesson #4
In the world of big business, it is understood that estates are handed over to offspring, no matter how much they are despised.

Lesson #5
Share confidential details of pending multi-million dollar business transactions, acquisitions and the like with anyone who announces that they are now your boss. Take immediate action when offered direction from same.

Lesson #6
Ego stroking is good business practice:
“As you know, he and I have [sic] had our differences, very strong differences that have prevented us from having any association with one another over many years. We have [sic] gone our separate ways and that suited me very well.”
     Zolt added, “And you’ve done very well doing it your way, Senator. You’ve become one of the wealthiest and most influential women in Canada – and are about to become even more so.”
This last lesson is so important that the author himself does it with "Peter Munk's fabulous Goldstrike open pit mine," and this bit about Allan Waters, who used the author's legal services:
“Your father has been in negotiation with the Waters family in Toronto to take over the entire CHUM group, radio and television, including CITY-TV."
     “That’s Allan Waters and his family, right?”
     “Correct. Allan is the dean of Canadian private broadcasters, an outstanding, straight-as-an-arrow person. He and his kids hold about eighty percent of the CHUM stock.”
And, finally, with this:
     “I am aware that your father was keenly interested in picking up the Globe & Mail. Its profitability has been hammered by Izzy Asper’s National Post.”
Hammered by Izzy Asper’s National Post?

Well, this is a work of fiction.


  1. Doesn't the president have a teleconference with the Russians in Starmaggedon?

    Caged Eagle is an exercise in the awkward challenge of laying pipe. (I mean that in the sit com sense, where "laying pipe" means wrestling thankless backstory into dialogue. Not the gettin' it on sense.) In the first half of the novel -- the war years -- the narrator generally handles the task of barfing up the research, except when Gator first meets Julie and tells her about his latest mission in the sort of detail that should get him shot, for boredom if not treason. It's only in the second half of Caged -- the business years -- that everyone starts every third sentence with "I don't have to tell you..." and concludes it by telling anyway. The first lesson of business: Get a lot of money somewhere. The second lesson: Offer people money in exchange for goods and services. The third: Get everyone on the same page by going over the plan one more time. Fourth: Dinner at the Royal York.

  2. I remember so little of Starmeggedon, and what I do is mixed up with Massacre 747? Is there a teleconference or are people just listening on on the other line? Is the president on speakerphone? The joint chiefs are on speakerphone in Periscope Red, right?

    If Gator hadn't skipped over his entire business career - which so intrigued his fellow inmates - we wouldn't need so much of that "As you know" and "As you are all aware" stuff. Not to say that we would've have had it anyway.

    Of the lessons you cite, the first has got to be the hardest. I still have no idea how to go about it. Rohmer suggests murder, but I'm not for that.

  3. Is Periscope Red the one that ends with the Joint Chiefs refusing to go to war? Our fan fiction has got to have at least one ultimatum per chapter. And the Avro Arrow.

  4. Brian - I want to set this to tune of Step by Step by the New Kids on the Block so future generations can learn about Caged Eagle business practices by singing about it.