Synopses & Reviews
In 1998, when Amazon.com began to recruit employees, they gave temp agencies a simple directive: send us your freaks. Mike Daisey slacker, onetime aesthetics major fit the bill. His subsequent ascension, over the course of twenty-one dog years, from lowly temp to customer service representative to business development hustler, is the stuff of both dreams and nightmares. Here, with lunatic precision, Daisey describes lightless cube farms in which book orders were scrawled on Post-its while technicians struggled to bring computers back online, as well as fourteen-hour days fueled by caffeine, fanaticism, and illicit day-trading from office desks made out of doors.
You'll meet Warren, the cowboy of customer service, capable of verbally hog-tying even the most abusive customer; Amazon employee #5, a computer gamer who spends at least six hours a day locked in his office killing goblins but is worth a cool $300 million; and Jean-Michele, Daisey's girlfriend and sparring partner, who tries to keep him grounded, even as dot-com mania seduces them both.
Punctuated by Daisey's hysterically honest fictional missives to CEO Jeff Bezos, 21 Dog Years is an epic story of greed, self-deception, and heartbreak a wickedly funny anthem to an era of bounteous stock options and boundless insanity.
"21 Dog Years has the wry sensibility of David Sedaris." Nick Wingfield, The Wall Street Journal
"A well-written, fast-paced piece of gonzo biography...elegiac and wry." Glenn Fleishman, The Seattle Times
"[A]n interesting look from an insider's perspective at the preeminent dot-com....Coming from the mind of a confessed bad employee, filtered through hindsight, the account is humorous and highly entertaining as well." Gavin Quinn, Booklist
"Daisey's raucous tales of a self-professed dilettante inside the Internet pressure cooker...possess the ability to provoke horror and cosmic giggles, especially among those who reside outside dot-comland." John Marshall, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Imagine a memoir by a grunt worker at the Ford Motor Company circa 1910, or from Monsanto circa 1950. Then imagine that memoirist as neurotic and very funny. Mike Daisey has done us a service by revealing the dorky, scary truth about Amazon.com before it's too late." Neal Pollack, author of The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature
"What saves the book from being an exercise in shooting fish in a barrel is Daisey's sharp eye: he renders even banal corporate moments with energy and wit." Publishers Weekly
"A brilliant, honest, and side-splitting account of the strangest company the world has ever seen. Mike Daisey is the tech world's answer to Tom Green, Michael Moore, Spalding Gray, Jean Shepherd, and Mark Twain." Bill Lessard, coauthor of NetSlaves: True Tales of Working the Web
"[A]n exhilarating ride through life on Internet time....21 Dog Years is so funny, fast-paced and well-crafted that it could easily zip by without your realizing that its underlying message is dark, serious and even subversive." Joshua Tanzer, OffOffOff.com
"For those still nursing a New Economy hangover, Mike Daisey's funny and evocative memoir serves up the hair of the dog that bit them." Andy Borowitz, New Yorker and New York Times humorist and author of The Trillionaire Next Door
"21 Dog Years is more than just one man's adventures in Webland. It's a farce, a confessional, and a love story; laugh-out-loud funny and surprisingly poignant." Robert Spector, author of Amazon.com: Get Big Fast
"A modern Dickensian fable of pointless toil inside an industrial madhouse.
Too funny not to be accurate, too heartbreaking not to be true." Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air
Step aside, Dilbert. In this satiric excursion into the bloated underbelly of the New Economy, Mike Daisey exposes a corporate world too absurd for the cartoons. Daisey, who labored for 21 dog years (almost two human ones) at Amazon.com, chronicles with lunatic precision his ascent from lowly temp to customer service rep to business development hustler from the lightless cube farms where he rebelled by sending free books to Norwegians to the halls of BizDev, where the higher-ups insisted that the perfect business model was Pets.com, the company that showered all its assets on a sock puppet. Wickedly funny and alarmingly true, 21 Dog Years is an epic story of greed, self-deception, and heartbreak an anthem to a bygone era of bounteous stock options and boundless insanity.
About the Author
Mike Daisey's one-man shows include 21 Dog Years, Wasting Your Breath, and I Miss the Cold War. They have been performed in unheated garages, hotel ballrooms, unused hallways, and Off Broadway. He has worked as a security officer, web pornsniffer, high school teacher, blood plasma seller, archivist, telemarketer, roofer, cow innard remover, law firm receptionist, cold caller, rape counselor, DJ, freelance writer, accountant, night janitor in a home for the violently mentally ill, and dot-com wage slave. He lives in Brooklyn, and may be found on the web at mikedaisey.com.
Table of Contents
2: Freak Parade
3: Doors For Desks
4: Geek Messiah
5: Our Physics
6: College Years
Subject: transformers, dreams
7: Gorillas vs. Bears
8: 1-Click Christmas
9: Mission Statements
Subject: to tell you
11: Supervillain Lair
13: Fiscal Wonderland
14: Exit Interview
Subject: au revoir
15: Museum of Ham
Subject: laugh with me
16: Field Trip