A Knights Code of Business tells readers "how to achieve character and competence in the corporate world." Author Gene Del Vecchio has held several executive-level positions. He has also seen every employee personality type imaginable.
In this business manual, readers are taken back to a time of good knights, evil barons and a chivalrous code that ruled the land. Del Vecchio refers to today's business world as a "kingdom." His four-part model addresses competence/experience and moral character. Executives are referred to as "good knights" or "evil barons" depending on their intentions. Employees at lower levels are called "squires-in-training" or "henchmen-in-training" depending on their actions.
These four personality types are examined in several aspects of business, which are headlined in chapter titles like "indecency," "lack of a visionary," and "mediocrity." Del Vecchio draws from a survey of executives as well as his own career to provide examples of good knights and evil barons within the corporate world. A section at the end of each chapter titled "And Other Advice" details the expectations of each of the four personality types.
Del Vecchio peppers his work with "failure tales" which are actual misadventures in the business world. He also draws from the employment experiences of others. These anecdotes, though insightful, make up the bulk of the text and overshadow the true message.
Many portions of A Knight's Code of Business are written with an editorial tone. The timely release of the book allows the author to give his opinion regarding the most recent corporate scandals. Readers can indirectly learn valuable lessons based on these events, but clear guidelines are not present.
Del Vecchio often refers to the Survey of 100, composed of 100 pre-selected mid-level marketing executives. Statistics from this survey are peppered throughout the book, but charts of extensive results would have painted a clearer perspective. The majority of anecdotes and side tales come from the marketing and advertising worlds.
A Knight's Code of Business discusses broad aspects of corporate morality. There is no single focus to the book and the most practical advice is relegated to the back of each chapter. Del Vecchio provides some great corporate boo-boo stories, but his book lacks the cohesive, simple organization and presentation of a true business reference manual.
For another perspective, please see Jonathan Vaden's review of A Knight's Code of Business at Townhall.com.