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21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com | [Mike Daisey]

21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com

Mike Daisey worked at Amazon.com for nearly two years during the dot-com frenzy of the late nineties. Now that his nondisclosure agreement has expired, he can tell the real story - one that blends tech culture, hero worship, cat litter, Albanian economics, and venture capitalism into a surreal cocktail of delusion.
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Publisher's Summary

Mike Daisey worked at Amazon.com for nearly two years during the dot-com frenzy of the late nineties. Now that his nondisclosure agreement has expired, he can tell the real story - one that blends tech culture, hero worship, cat litter, Albanian economics, and venture capitalism into a surreal cocktail of delusion.

In 1998, when Amazon.com went to temp agencies to recruit people, they gave them a simple directive: send us your freaks. Thus began Mike Daisey's love affair with this quintessential dot-com. His ascent from lowly temp to customer service representative to business development hustler is the stuff of dreams - and nightmares. Daisey takes us from Amazon's high point, when the stock traded at $361, to well into its rollercoaster plunge to today's humble two-digit price, all the while reflecting on the very nature of the new economy and the darkly humorous compromises made every day to survive in corporate America. At strategic intervals, the narrative is punctuated by hysterical (in every sense of the word) letters to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos - missives that seem ripped from the collective unconscious of dot-com disciples the world over. No wonder Newsweek has dubbed Daisey the "oracle of the bust."

With a hugely popular Web site and a hit one-man show that has received phenomenal coverage (with stories in Wired, Newsweek, Salon, and elsewhere), Daisey has become the bard of the dot-com boom-and-bust - a smart, imaginative, and acutely perceptive chronicler of our times.

The Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, is the original publisher of 21 Dog Years in hardcover.

Executive Producer: Laura Wilson
Original Jacket Design: High Design
Original Jacket Art: Joyn Tynes
©2002 Mike Daisey
(P)2002 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A modern Dickensian fable of pointless toil inside an industrial madhouse. Too funny not to be accurate, too heartbreaking not to be true. If you are wondering where all the time and money went, this book has the answers." (Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (331 )
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3.6 (42 )
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  •  
    Victoria San Diego, CA, USA 07-29-05
    Victoria San Diego, CA, USA 07-29-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "21 Dogs Years"

    What an amazing listen! It is hard to believe this author is not a professional reader. You actually feel as if you are living through his experience. I recommend for anyone who can relate to the movie ?Office Space? or to anyone who goes to work everyday wondering why they do. ENJOY!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Hoag State College, PA 07-12-05
    Anne Hoag State College, PA 07-12-05 Member Since 2002

    Anne in Happy Valley

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worst Employee Ever??? That's the Point!"

    I tried to read the previous review as if the reviewer was employing a little irony, but somehow I think s/he didn't get the joke. Of course Mike Daisey would be an employer's worst nightmare -- but even bad employees should be allowed to tell their stories, especially when they are so hilarious. I thought this book was wonderful on two fronts: a) it's a cautionary tale for today's corporate employers who create soul-less, morale-defeating, cubicle-ridden workplaces (and I was one so I know from whence I speak); b) it's an insightful, way funny story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Cleveland, OH USA 02-17-04
    David Cleveland, OH USA 02-17-04 Member Since 2000
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    "49 Dog Hours - At least that is what it feels like"

    I've listened to hundreds of audiobooks on all sorts of topics, but this one deserves special mention. It is the second worst audiobook I've ever listened to. I could only take about two hours of the nonstop, self-obsessed whining before I had to turn it off.

    The whole point? Life is hard at a flashy startup and the company is run by a charismatic leader. Imagine that! Struggles and confusion in a rapidly growing company? And how strange to find a charismatic leader ... uh ... leading the company.

    Like the author, I am an actor as well and am also a huge fan of satire, but even professional curiosity could not keep me interested in this work!

    Oh, and don't let the kiddies hear this one unless you plan on explaining to them why a grown man fondling himself on a stage is considered 'art'. What's that you say? What does that have to do with Amazon.com? I have absolutely no idea, but it's in there nonetheless.

    All in all, there are a few interesting moments, but they are certainly not worth the time it takes to get there. This is a book in desperate need of a serious editor with a great big ax.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Aurora, CO, USA 04-27-03
    Mike Aurora, CO, USA 04-27-03
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    "This book is about him, and best read only by him"

    Oh my gosh this book was awful! Normally I love books like this that tell the inside story of a well-known company. But 21 dog years is all about the author, and no offense, but his life is not really all that interesting.

    The author focuses almost entirely on himself and how he felt during his three year tenure at Amazon.com. I am not really all that interested on how he feels; rather I would like to know more about the company and how it treated employees.

    If you are look or an alternative sleep aid, then this book is for you. If you are looking for the inside story on Amazon.com, then keep looking. I sure wish I had.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Garland, TX, United States 01-17-04
    David Garland, TX, United States 01-17-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "7 hours of wasted human time"

    All I can say is that I learned a little bit about the life of customer support person. It really was a waste of my time. I think the author was just trying to justify his pathic life!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jbx2usa MI, USA 08-22-05
    jbx2usa MI, USA 08-22-05 Member Since 2000

    jbx2us

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    "A Hilarious Look at the Early Days of Amazon.com"

    Mike offers an excellent look at the inside of America's sweetheart Internet company. His narrative is delivered with excellence and his material is completely hilarious.

    This book was a very easy read and I found it hard to stop listening.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael San Francisco, CA, USA 06-11-04
    Michael San Francisco, CA, USA 06-11-04
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    "Incredibly Funny!"

    This audio book was not only one of the most funny things I have ever listed to but it was also one of the most interesting. I learned a ton about amazon the flaws of lots of large companies from a mistreated employees point of view. This audio book is why I love this format. I could never imagine reading this book. It would just not be the same at all. It would be like reading the lyrics to your favorite song as oppose to listening to it. You have to hear the music.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl Cravens Wichita, KS USA 06-11-03
    Carl Cravens Wichita, KS USA 06-11-03 Member Since 2002
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    "Hilarious"

    Daisy reads his own work and does a great job of it. He sounds like a "real person" and his revelations of Amazon corporate culture are bizarre, funny, and sometimes scary. I had trouble putting this one down.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angeline Reno, NV, USA 04-30-03
    Angeline Reno, NV, USA 04-30-03
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    "I'm sorry I wasted my book choice on this junk!"

    This book is nothing but whining and babbling by a self-proclaimed (and justly so) pathetic excuse for an employee that any company in their right mind would terminate with cause.

    It is nothing but his twisted, self-absorbed whining. I am two thirds of the way through the book and the only reason I am going to continue is to see how he leaves Amazon. How in the hell he stayed as long as he did is beneath me. He would be anyone's nightmare employee.

    Put me in a room with this annoying cry-baby and I would rather hang myself.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Massey Kennesaw 02-21-03
    A. Massey Kennesaw 02-21-03 Member Since 2001
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    "Very Funny"

    If you had anything to do with the .NET boom (and bust) then this book is a must read. Daisey is a very good story teller and reads his work like no one else could. His experiences at Amazon.com make for a very entertaining story, that really draws the listner into his wierd world.
    If you have ever bought anything from Amazon then I am sure you will find this book funny and well worth the time it takes to hear.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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