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.
"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)
Die-Hard Cubs Fan
It's unfortunate this sometimes anecdotally amusing tome is so riddled with the author’s self-indulgent whining. A clever writer, Daisey comes off as a smartass yuppie version of Jean Shepherd and the listener leaves with the feeling that the wine upon which the author got drunk in the final chapter was clearly one distilled of sour grapes.
If you want a mildly entertaining sophomoric anti-corporate rant, buy this book. If you want to learn anything meaningful about how Amazon works, don't.
This guy has a very dry sardonic sense of humor. But as you get into the book you begin to get more and more of his humor. I had several bust-a-gut reactions to this book.
I loved it! I work in the IT industry, and the tech. support horror stories are hysterically funny.
Very entertaining. I have actually seen support pits of this nature, complete with green mowhawk hairdo-types. <I>O tempora O mores</I>
...you will love this book. It talks about the office politics and structure of today's businesses. The best thing about this is that it does not take it serious. It paralleled my business life to perfection.
I recommended this to book to my coworkers and they loved it. One said she had to pull over in the car she was laughing too much to drive with it on. It is a definite read.
When he focuses on Amazon, this is a very informative, gossipy book. His analysis of the failure of Pets.com and how the seat-of-the-pants shell game he plays with his employers parallels what Bezos is doing with Wall Street are too scarily accurate for words. The descriptions of how Amazon toyed with its employees (as it toyed with investors and analysts) sounds depressingly true.
I give this 3 stars because it does go on way too long and I find his humor more often forced than bubbling up naturally from his personality. (You can hear in his voice when a joke is coming.) A good editor would have advised him to tighten up his anecdotes and keep the story moving, for God's sake.
There's also the regrettable fact that, as an actor, Daisy doesn't provide the different characters in his book with enough vocal variety so you can tell who's talking when he recounts a conversation. They all sound like him, and that just isn't good enough when the writer is an actor.
I worked at Alibris.com during the same period of time that MDAISY worked at Amazon. It was really interesting to see another perspective on the world of selling books over the internet during the e-boom times. What a ride.
One of the funniest audiobooks I've ever heard. Could not listen to it while eating for fear of choking.
At the same time it's uncannily insightful, both into the world of customer service and Amazon.com. If you are looking for a traditional business book about Amazon.com, this is not it. If you want to be thoroughly entertained as well as enlighted about what it was like to be in the maelstrom of dot-com frenzy, click here.
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