Review

Who Moved My Soap? the Ceo's Guide to Surviving in Prison

by Andy Borowitz



I didn't have much hope for WHO MOVED MY SOAP? The CEO's Guide to
Surviving in Prison. At first blush it seemed that Andy Borowitz
was playing to a limited audience, constructing a kind of lampoon
of the bestselling WHO MOVED MY CHEESE? while skewering
white-collar criminals. Nothing really much to laugh at. But that's
why we read the books. And WHO MOVED MY SOAP? turns out to be
interesting, well-done, and very funny.

WHO MOVED MY SOAP? is intended as a satirical guide for the CEO who
finds himself going to prison. It is written in the voice of a
convicted CEO who has survived prison and is now sharing his
expertise with others who find themselves in similar straits. By
"prison," Borowitz is not referring to the minimum security
facilities where inmates spend their day tending to well-manicured
lawns or reading in spotless libraries in between trips to the
salad bar and conjugal visits from the Mrs. No, Borowitz is talking
"prison" here, Oz territory, where the issue of "Who moved
my soap?" can become quite important.

Admittedly, it does take Borowitz a few pages to get things moving.
Given that WHO MOVED MY SOAP? is less than 100 pages in length, he
does not have many to squander. Accordingly the first third of WHO
MOVED MY SOAP? is more of a warm-up than anything else, with
Borowitz putting a tongue-in-cheek positive spin on the executive
going to prison.

It is in the second third of the book, however, that Borowitz
really begins to shine. His chapter dealing with prison slang
is...well, it's a riot, but it really serves to get the blood
moving for the chapter dealing with meals. "Prison Food: Don't Pick
Up the Check" begins with a hilarious --- and, let's face it --- an
accurate comparison between prison mess halls and five-star
restaurants. Borowitz really takes off though when he reviews the
mess halls of various prisons, Zagat-style. Anyone familiar
with that particular guide will be howling at Borowitz's viciously
accurate send-up of it.

This is followed by a chapter entitled "Seven Habits of Highly
Effective Prisoners," which is yet another parody within a parody,
containing recommendations to "Be Proactive," "Think Win/Win," and
the all-important "Sharpen Your Saw." There is also a chapter
dealing with "Prison Cell Feng Shui," which includes such
commonsense but often-overlooked suggestions as "(a)rrange your
bunk so that you face the bars, not away from them." Borowitz
concludes with chapters dealing with that up-and-coming problem of
female CEOs in prison and those all-important exit strategies,
including the planning and execution of what is known as fence
parole.

Borowitz has a breezy, conversational writing style and if he has
an occasional tendency to reach too quickly for the obvious joke he
is also quite capable of formulating an insightful, original jibe
and exploiting it to its fullest potential. I'm not entirely sure
who, or where, the audience is for WHO MOVED MY SOAP?, but it
certainly deserves one.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 24, 2011

Who Moved My Soap? the Ceo's Guide to Surviving in Prison
by Andy Borowitz

  • Publication Date: May 27, 2003
  • Genres: Humor
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 0743251423
  • ISBN-13: 9780743251426