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Bellwether Mass Market Paperback – Jun 2 1997


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; Reprint edition (June 2 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553562967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553562965
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 45 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #170,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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The prototype for all merchandising fads and one whose phenomenal success has never been repeated. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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By Aimee on June 30 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love this book to death! It's marketed as science fiction -- mainly because Connie Willis is a science-fiction author -- but I don't think it really is. It's a novel about science and scientists. It's also a wacky, screwball romantic comedy. It's a great deal of fun! Lighthearted and funny, but it also deals with some deeper issues -- specifically, the nature of scientific discovery. It was a joy to read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Willis' apt observations of fads, crowds, and group behavior were spot-on. I laughed so hard I almost wet myself. Then I felt a little guilty because I was being snobby and feeling superior to all those "sheep" who follow fads. Then I laughed at myself because I am guilty of following fads, too (Rachel haircut, anyone?). Hilarious.
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By V. Pradhan on March 5 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading the Doomsday book, I was not prepared for such a light-hearted and witty book on fads, chaos theory with just a dollop of romance. After the large scale carnage of the Doomsday book, it was a relief to find everybody surviving at the end of this one ( more or less retaining their sanity)!
I give this book 5 stars because I think it is a lot harder to write a funny book than it is to write an apocalyptic one. I also have a deep respect for authors who explore different writing styles and subjects. Can't wait to get hold of another of her books..I'm sure it will be as refreshingly different.
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By frumiousb on Nov. 17 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's hard to whole-heartedly laugh at the humor in Bellwether, as it's probably too close to a nerve for most of its readers daily lives. The way Willis takes on subjects as disparate as corporate policy, the politics of research, fads and trends, and (of course) sheep should be recognizable for many folks out there.
It's possibly a little bit slight, and I didn't think it was as complete as a book like _To Say Nothing of the Dog_, but it's still well worth the time to read. Particularly recommended for people who have read Willis before or people who have a career interest in research.
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By W. A. Livesley on Nov. 12 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Somewhat lighter than her usual style and very funny. Her Dilbertian portrayal of the workplace, and in particular the relationship between those obsessed with their jobs and those obsessed with themselves, is instantly recognizable. One wonders where she worked. I particularly liked the concept of people acting as chaos vortices, again an instantly recognizable concept. My only problem with this book was that at times it is so cruelly accurate that I felt guilty at laughing.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dr. Sandy Foster works for HiTek Corporation, researching the phenomenon of the fad--her current preoccupations revolve around why women bobbed their hair in the 1920s and, more practical to her status as HiTek employee, how to fill out the monstrously huge funding application without flying off the handle at the grossly inept, fad-following clerical assistant, Flip. When she meets Dr. Bennett O'Reilly, a chaos theorist, Sandy thinks she has met the one person immune to the herd instinct who may finally provide the insight needed to crack the fad conundrum. As they embark upon a chance project combining both their strengths observing the habits of a flock of not-so-terribly-bright sheep, Sandy discovers that she is following a fad far older than any of the fads she has previously analysed and hits upon an answer that ties all of the story's strengths and sidebars into a clever satisfying conclusion.

Bellwether is the first Connie Willis novel I have read; I found her style straight humorous and thoroughly engaging. All the characters entertain; even the most stereotypical---Flip, Management, the "time-out" moms and the aghast waiters from Boulder's trendiest coffee shops and restaraunts manage to convey the lemming effect quite realistically and yet imaginatively. Willis' depiction of HiTek's paperwork debacle, use of synergistic phrases as motivation tools and the overkill touchy-feely employee relations meetings typifies real life in big corporation in a way that more frightening than Hallowe'en.

If you are looking for a short novel that satirizes the media effect on modern life, amuses, yet doesn't get too perplexing, "Bellwether" is just such a read. Based on this reading experience and the positive comments provided by the other reviewers, another Connie Willis novel will find its way into my shopping cart again soon. If you are in the mood for fun, do read it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Bellwether is a novel about some of the folks who work at HiTek corporation, a humorously portrayed workplace whose bureaucracy and dysfunctional operations seem to be ripped right from the pages of Dilbert. The primary characters are researchers who scramble to keep up with the changes in the paperwork they are required to file to obtain funding for their projects. They are joined by a hilariously written gofer who does just about everything except the tasks she is given.
Connie Willis hits the nail on the head with her portrayal of our society as a herd mentality bent on following the latest trend without thinking about what they are doing or why. At many points in the story her satire would have had me laughing out loud had it not been so soberingly dead-on. In the midst of this insanity, a researcher attempts to discover where fads originate and becomes intrigued by a coworker who seems to be "immune" to them. Their resulting collaboration injects notions from chaos theory into her fad research and, in the end, yields a clever answer.
There is nothing profound about the conclusion that Willis comes to - in fact, it is as much tongue-in-cheek as anything in this story. She makes some minor points regarding chaos theory and the behavior of nonlinear systems, but nothing earth-shattering - this is far from being hard science fiction. Rather, I found it a clever and very enjoyable tale of the chaos that goes on in our everyday lives, both in the workplace and our personal lives, and how some semblance of order emerges from that chaos.
I you're looking for something light and humorous, yet clever and thoughtful, give Bellwether a read. I truly enjoyed it!
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