Classic sf, published in 1952, that had somehow passed me by - I thought I remembered a scene where advertising executives were reassuring young politicians that is is just about possible to make a living as a senator, but it's not in this book, so I guess I must have read the sequel written by Pohl on his own decades afterwards.
The satirical future setting, in which corporate interests have taken over the world, is a little heavy-handed ("You know the old saying. Power ennobles. Absolute power ennobles absolutely.") but the basic story of the narrator's redemption holds pretty well. I thought I picked up a couple of nods in the direction of both Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four.
I don't think you could really recommend this as a "gateway" sf novel but I can see why it is still remembered.