21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com

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Free Press, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 222 pages
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Boy meets dot-com, boy falls for dot-com, boy flees dot-com in horror. So goes one of the most perversely hilarious love stories you will ever read, one that blends tech culture, hero worship, cat litter, Albanian economics, venture capitalism, and free bagels into a surreal cocktail of delusion.

In 1998, when Amazon.com went to temp agencies to recruit people, they gave them a simple directive: send us your freaks. Mike Daisey -- slacker, onetime aesthetics major, dilettante -- seemed perfect for the job. His ascension from lowly temp to customer service representative to business development hustler over the course of twenty-one dog years is the stuff of both dreams and nightmares.

With lunatic precision, Daisey describes the lightless cube farms in which book orders were scrawled on Post-its while technicians struggled to bring computers back online; the fourteen-hour days fueled by caffeine, fanaticism, and illicit day-trading from office desks made from doors; his strange compulsion to send free books to Norwegians; and the fevered insistence of BizDev higher-ups that the perfect business partner was Pets.com -- the now-extinct company that spent all its assets on a sock puppet.

In these pages, you'll meet Warren, the cowboy of customer service, capable of verbally hog-tying even the most abusive customer; Amazon employee #5, a reclusive computer gamer worth a cool $300 million, who spends at least six hours a day locked in his office killing goblins; and Jean-Michele, Mike's girlfriend and sparring partner, who tries to keep him grounded, even as dot-com mania seduces them both. At strategic intervals, the narrative is punctuated by hysterically honest letters to CEOJeff Bezos -- missives that seem ripped from the collective unconscious of dot-com disciples the world over.

"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.

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21 dog years: doing time @ Amazon. com

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Amazon.com may have made many mistakes since it opened its e-doors for business, but the one it made in hiring Daisey to do "customer service" in 1998 continues to haunt the company in a big way ... Read full review


Freak Parade
Doors for Desks

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About the author (2002)

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, roofer, cow innard remover, law firm receptionist, cold caller, rape counselor, DJ, night janitor in a home for the violently mentally ill, and dot-com wage slave. He lives in Brooklyn.

Visit the author's website at mikedaisey.com

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