(FORTUNE Magazine) – Robert Campeau and Nero -- together, on the same card! What connection could these two possibly have? First, says Stanley Bing, author of Crazy Bosses (William Morrow, $20), both were bosses. Second . . . you guessed it. Bing ambles amiably through a morgue of history's most dysfunctional managers, tugging back a sheet here and there to illustrate pathology. By tour's end, we have met five varieties of crazy boss: Bully, Paranoid, Narcissist, Bureaucrazy (a cross-mating of wimp with fascist), and Disaster Hunter (the shared terminal stage of all four types). Howard Hughes, Ronald Reagan, Woody Hayes, John DeLorean, Napoleon, Donald Trump -- these and others get pricked with Bing's cold knife, as he explains what made each one not quite tick.

Is the modern American office producing as many bullies, say, as 50 years ago? More, thinks Bing -- lots more. Spotted owls and ozone may be in decline, but bent bosses are booming. The times demand them. Restructuring has pushed an unprecedented number of managers to the brink, over it, and down the other side, into behaviors ultimately destructive to themselves, their subordinates, and their companies. Problem is, these same behaviors -- frothing, screaming, and pouting, to name just three -- are wonderful for getting short-term results. Since craziness has grown pandemic (and thus inescapable), Bing recommends sane employees give up all hope of escaping crazy bosses and concentrate instead on learning how to manage them. With a little cleverness, he says, and a great deal of care, the rational underling can topple his crazy boss without himself getting crushed in the process. To that end, Bing provides advice specific for each type of boss, such as the following: Bully: ''Show a little muscle now and then . . . No, don't make it an issue of pride or he'll squash you like a bug . . . ((but)) the bully wants to bully people he respects.'' ) Paranoid: ''Destroy the monster with his own craziness . . . Always bring him fetid tidbits about those he cannot control. You can be instrumental in driving him from a low boil to volcanic heights of irrationality.'' Disaster Hunter: ''Keep on the periphery of the pathology . . . You can't do that if you're sharing his vices and excesses with him in a pathetic attempt to remain loyal. When he offers to share his profligacy, it may appear that he's offering friendship. He's not. He's looking for a partner to accompany him to perdition. That's a role you may politely decline . . . If you must, stick yourself occasionally with the needle of recollection. Remember the time he made you cancel your vacation to attend that stupid productivity seminar?'' Bing's tone, throughout, remains arch, wry. Who exactly is he? Readers of Esquire already know him as the author of a monthly column about business called Executive Summary. ''Bing,'' however, is but a pseudonym for a senior executive with a FORTUNE 500 company. So this book's tips on office politics ring true. Where crazy bosses are concerned, Bing is bang-on.


EXCERPT: ''In a world where . . . the future extends only as far as the next quarter, the crazy man may well seem the only one equipped to manage with confidence.''