One of the surprise bestsellers of 1956 – frequently reprinted throughout the 1960s – was an epoch-defining book by William H. Whyte called simply The Organization Man. Those were the blessed days when books didn’t have to have subtitles to tell you what they were about. One of my odd habits is re-reading important books of social commentary from the past. The habit often reveals how hard it is to read social trends, and yet throws a lot of light on what has happened to define our own times.It is about the growth of what today we call managers, but more particularly about how they are happily subservient to the large organizations they serve. The Organization Men, Whyte says, … are keenly aware of how much more deeply beholden they are to organization than were their elders. They are wry about it, to be sure: they talk of the ‘treadmill’, the ‘rat race’, of the inability to control one’s direction. But they have no great sense of plight; between themselves and organization they believe they see an ultimate harmony and … they are building an ideology that will vouchsafe this trust.