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addabook - 21 Dog Years
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21 Dog Years
A Cube Dweller's Tale
Mike Daisey
read on April 9, 2011

I haven't read any books about Amazon ever, but I really wanted to for a while. I'd love to have some insight into how the company works, what the senior execs are like, what the vibe was during the early days, etc.

This book was none of that. It was pretty terrible. Imagine if Andy Richter got stoned, had zero motivation, ambition, or education, and then got a job at Amazon in customer service - and then wrote a book about how much it sucked there. Yeah, of course it sucked there - when you're a loser deadbeat your job is going to suck. Daisey doesn't really try to hide this - he introduces himself as a loser deadbeat, but still.

To be fair, I think Daisey is just going for humor anyway, and at times the book is indeed pretty funny. But it's distractingly hyperbolic and disparaging. He really pushes the cult-ish feel of the early days, but just makes it sound crazy. It's an interesting look at his life, and how his head works, but it's really not a fair look at Amazon at all. I'm quite surprised, and frankly disappointed that he lasted there as long as he did.

Edit: No surprise to me that Daisey's career has since cratered after it turned out he lies in order to craft more compelling stories.

Author Bio:

Mike Daisey (born January 21, 1976) is an American monologist, author, and actor. His monologue The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, about the labor conditions under which Apple devices are made, was used as the basis for a widely shared episode of the radio program This American Life, but the episode was later retracted for its factual inaccuracy after it was discovered that Daisey had lied extensively about his experiences.