21 Dog Years, by Mike Daisey

Mike Daisey’s website

Subtitled “doing time @ amazon.com”, this is a memoir of Daisey’s two years at Amazon. It’s an entertaining account, starting with his being interviewed at Amazon because he fit their profile of being a freak (or as he more charitably describes himself, a dilettante). He suffers through life in customer service, figuring out how to game the system to make himself look better (to keep his time/call average down, he would just hang up immediately on every third or fourth caller). He eventually manages to talk his way into a position in business development, which he admits he still can’t define. Along the way, he contemplates the “Cult of Jeff” (Bezos, founder and grand poobah of Amazon), the hell of Christmas season, mission statements, the rules that made Amazon work (e.g. The Heisenberg Happiness Principle, “As the uncertainty about what Amazon.com is rises, so rises Amazon’s stock price.”), the joys of One-Click ordering when stuff will get delivered right to your desk, etc. Daisey eventually manages to extricate himself from Amazon (turning down a bunch of job offers from other dot-coms who latch onto his status as a bizdev person from Amazon) and start to try to make his life real again. It’s a quick read, so I’m glad I got it from the library.

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