Options: Superb Mac-iavellian Hilarity

OptionsA short while ago, I finished reading a book that actually had me laughing so hard I was keeping my spouse awake. I’d heard of “Fake Steve Jobs,” aka Daniel Lyons, because he’s gigundous in the blog world, and the blog is pretty darn amusing. Its popularity is well earned. For anyone whose geekdom setting is not set terribly high, Steve Jobs is the CEO and man behind the mirror at Apple. He began to be parodied in blog form on “The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs” back in 2006. Not satisfied with that, Fake Steve Jobs wrote a parody novel, Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs (2007), that explored the stock options backdating scandal that plagued the real Jobs back in 2006 and early 2007.

The novel is hilarious. And while I expected it to have a funny characterization of the leading man, Jobs, it also contains a very tight narrative structure that keeps the novel moving at a brisk pace. But the true fun of the book is in the persona that has been created for the Fake Steve Jobs. It is so over-the-top with narcissism, mixed in the self-pity of the obscenely rich, combined with sociopathic detachment, that there was generally a spot on every page that had me shaking my head with disbelief as I chortled with glee.

A small example should suffice. Here is Fake Steve Jobs’ philosophy on employee performance:

Management gurus also tell you to reward performance, and dole out loads of praise. I disagree. My motto is this: No praise. Ever. You start praising people and pretty soon they start thinking they’re as smart as you. You cannot have this. All employees must know at all times that you are better in every way than they are. Repeated criticism, in the most humiliating fashion, is one way to accomplish this.

The best way to keep people’s spirits broken is to fire people on a regular basis for no reason. Fly off the handle, shout at people, call them names, then fire them. Or better yet, don’t fire them. Let them believe they survived for a few days. Then, when they’re relaxed, call them in and fire them. It’s all part of creating and maintaining a culture of fear.

Only in a parody can someone go that far out on a limb and not crash to the ground. It’s sheer brilliance.

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2 Responses to “Options: Superb Mac-iavellian Hilarity”

  1. Dianna Huff Says:

    Fake Steve Jobs, aka Dan Lyons, accepted the Crunchie award for Apple (bestowed by TechCrunch, the blog). It is hilarious! I’ve watched it three times and laugh each time.
    http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/18/fake-steve-jobs-accepts-the-award-best-gadget-at-the-crunchies/

  2. toddiedowns Says:

    Oh my GAWD, that is way too funny. I will forthwith adopt it as my new template for any awards I may ever receive in the future. Thank you so much for forwarding the link.

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