Study Guide

Eric Ingvall in A Hologram for the King

By Dave Eggers

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Eric Ingvall

Boss. Leader. Jerk.

Eric is Alan's boss at Reliant and there is zero love lost between these two guys. For Alan, Eric represents everything that's holding him back in the current marketplace: he knows nothing about manufacturing or people-to-people skills and doubts that Alan has any value in the current project.

Eric is your basic corporate baddie, out to stifle the optimism and upward arc of our hero:

Ingvall was a renowned anal-retentive. When things were not presented the way he like, his face cinched into a tortured pout. He was dissatisfied with Alan's report on KAEC. (IX.3.63)

We want to be on Alan's side. We really do. And Eric is really not a pleasant figure, with his "ugly lips" and pugnacious attitude. But we have to say, there's something to his reservations about Alan. He dislikes Alan's report because it's not based on reality; he dislikes Alan's unfounded optimism because he fears it will cost Reliant the project.

And guess what? It does. So Eggers puts us in an awkward position with Eric Ingvall. He's the boss we love to hate—but he's also not wrong.

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