Bing: What Happened
By Rik Kirkland/Deputy Managing Editor

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Fans of FORTUNE columnist Stanley Bing know he is already the largest figure to emerge from the world's shallowest talent pool--business humorists. Now comes Bing's first novel, Lloyd: What Happened (Crown, $25.95), a rollicking saga of a megadeal run amok and the poor shlub caught at its epicenter. We liked it enough to excerpt it in this issue, making it the first fiction to appear in FORTUNE in more than 50 years.

The appearance of Lloyd has renewed interest in the true identity of the "real executive" who hides behind the singular pseudonym. Since he's been my friend for a decade, I think it's time to come clean--before someone else spills the story.

Some say Bing was born in a log cabin behind the Wharton School of Business. The truth: Despite his cover story to the contrary, Stanley Bing is actually this man's real name. Yes, he was born in New Rochelle in 1951, the oldest son of local realtor Donald Bing and his lovely wife, Marla. In many ways he enjoyed a classic suburban childhood--with one difference. While other kids liked to pretend they were different people, little Stanley actually believed he was different people.

As a result, until his mid-20s, Bing had a tough time achieving strategic focus. In the end, books led Bing to his true calling--specifically, W. Edwards Demings' tomes on the power of productivity, which whetted his appetite for fiction, and the works of Tom Peters, which opened his eyes to the possibility that a fellow could make a very good living in corporate America by simply having a knack for, well, slinging it with abandon. Oh, and in the unlikely event that you don't completely understand the prose, the accompanying charts should clear up everything.