21 Dog Years
Mike Daisey
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buy *21 Dog Years* online 21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com
Mike Daisey
Free Press
222 pages
June 2002
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Here they come! All of those dot-com tell-alls are hitting the bookshelves, bombarding book browsers with all the dirt, blaming everyone else because the authors just happened to get in at the tail-end of the new-tech stock market boom and came out of it with little more than a mediocre hourly wage. What better way to recoup some of that promised money than to write a book?

Curled Up With a Good BookMike Daisey is the worst of this kind. He was (and probably still is) a self-proclaimed slacker with no direction in his life whose chief occupation was temp-work. Then one day, he answered a help-wanted ad and, even surprising to himself, wound up with a job at Amazon.com. He's delighted with his new job in customer service, that is until the novelty wears off. Before long, he begins to intentionally screw up. He sends the wrong books to customers. He refunds money and still sends the books he's refunding the money for. He even sends priests copies of The Illustrated Kama Sutra. Why? Because he wants to be promoted to an executive.

What kind of logic is this? Do your work badly enough and theyıll promote you? The really sad part about this is that's exactly what happened. Daisey was promoted to an executive department at Amazon.com. But, as one might suspect, that didn't last long. He quit and went back to doing what he did best, which was basically nothing.

Reading 21 Dog Years is an eye-opening experience. It explains why so many of the Internet companies folded. A generation of greedy technological geeks who felt they should own the world but had no clue how to manage it, threw so many companies up on the Internet during the last few years of the 90s that it was impossible for them all to succeed. Most wanted to follow in the footsteps of Amazon.com, but they were too far behind when they started.

It's difficult to tell who is the antagonist of Daisey's story -- Amazon.com or its founder, Jeff Bezos. Perhaps they are one in the same. The problem with this story is that the bad guys won. Amazon.com and Bezos are still around, selling books and more to millions of customers worldwide. I doubt if Daisey can claim those stats.

When all is said and done, Mike Daisey has the possibility of a great future. He is an intelligent, witty guy, and a very good writer. Hopefully he will have a better work ethic on the other side of the book world. And just to show that his nemesis has no hard feelings, his book is being sold at Amazon.com's website.

© 2002 by April Galt for Curled Up With a Good Book

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