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Friday, November 23, 2012

The Efficiency Expert by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Written in 1919 and first published in All-Story Weekly magazine in 1921, The Efficiency Expert is a rare non-science fiction book for Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars. I read it on my kindle but if it were a paper book it is estimated to have been about 130 pages.

The Efficiency Expert features Jimmy Torrance, a talented young college student who is a great athlete and natural leader and all around great guy to have at a party but  does not take his studies seriously. When he is almost tossed out of college during his senior year for having no apparent hope of completing the curriculum in four years, Torrance buckles down and somehow passes.

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950)
Having turned over a new leaf, he turns down the opportunity to manage the family factory and decides that he will move to Chicago and make it on his own.

Jimmy's expectation that the world will come knocking at his door because he has a college degree is humorous and a reminder that times have always been tough for those trying to break into business. Jimmy's money quickly dries up and he is forced to accept a series of entry-level jobs that require no education at all. While at the bottom he meets a pick-pocket/safe-cracker and befriends a young prostitute (they have a platonic relationship) who help him climb his way into a factory management position, foil a white collar criminal and meet the love of his life.

While this is certainly not great literature, it was a very enjoyable read. Burroughs has the ability to take his reader into the darkest jungles, distant planets and into post-World War I Chicago with a clear, vivid style. Memorable, likable characters more than make up for a highly unlikely set of coincidences.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: The Efficiency Expert

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on November 23, 2012.

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