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The Six Sides of the Black Box is a novel about transformational ideas. Its lessons will help your ideas take shape, bring clarity to nebulous thoughts, and guide you through ambiguity. But you'll have to work for it. Actually, you'll want to work for it. The Black Box will not lay out a formula for success. It will take you on a journey toward a specific destination - the transformational idea. A transformational idea is one that will change the form, the structure, the shape of your organization, your team, your brand or you as a person. It will move you beyond where you are to where you want to be.
The story is structured as a first-person account of a road trip taken by two men who work at the same advertising agency. But it is relatable on a very human level and really serves as a broader parable about life and work. The two men could not be more different: our narrator is a career ad guy who is a bit burned out although he used to be driven by his passion for ideas and creating good work based on his gut feel of the business. His traveling companion it a young man of privilege who is a by the book numbers guy that likes to measure twice and base his decisions on the results.
The Black Box is a novel about their road trip from Chicago to Las Vegas. The men are driving at the behest of Mel Zaddick, the Chairman of the Board of the advertising agency they work for. Mr. Z, as he is known in the agency, is an enigmatic figure that is the instigator of their journey, and he is the one who entrusts the Black Box to them. This Box contains his "philosophy of life" and the answer to how they can keep their client and ultimately their careers at the agency. The problem is that there are no instructions and the box does not seem to have any point or purpose to either of them.
The two men - Brax & John - work together as the Account Director and Creative Director respectively at a once-great ad agency for a large fast food chain that is struggling with their business on all fronts - childhood obesity, bad sustainability practices, new competition, rising food costs, etc. Brax & John have one shot to save the client's business (and their jobs) and they have only the duration of this road trip to do it. Oh yeah, and along the way, they must decipher this mysterious Black Box. Their personal differences, mistrust and general dislike of one another will have to be laid aside if they are going to learn the lessons of the Box, solve their client's issues and save their jobs.