Surprising to recollect that his grand career "climb" required only three years, taking him from a salary which was the most money he'd ever heard of to one which was four times that much. That it wasn't that difficult, without that many compromises of principle, requiring mostly that he work his ass off, learn what needed to be learned, and smile a lot, particularly when he didn't want to.
More surprising perhaps to discover the endemic ineptitude of the milieu, the context which made that rapid ascent possible. That the best of the mangers were mediocre, and the worst, helpless. So that by contrast his basic competency appeared more like genius.
To me, the irony is the origin of his managerial skills: the grassroots movements for social justice, where for years and years and years he made $500 a month, or less, or was paid in books, or meals, or not at all. Where he learned to get things done, to do it by building simple communication structures, by fostering consensus, and by volunteering when nobody else would. As if the road through Cubicleland were paved with red bricks.