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Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs - A Parody Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 18, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
In this tedious parody of the life of Apple founder Steve Jobs, the pseudonymous Fake Steve Jobs (identified in the New York Times this month as Forbes senior editor Daniel Lyons) offers a gleeful sendup of the real Steve Jobs set amid the recent stock options backdating scandal. Throughout, the fake Steve pontificates on everything from his superior management skills (only promote stupid people) to his role in the development of the iPhone (it involves a lot of non-thinking meditation), and is portrayed as a cold, callow narcissist. Blissfully unaware of the legal firestorm raging around him, a mathlexic Fake Steve goes about his daily business, balancing meditation with the firing of employees while the Apple board of directors scrambles to avoid prison time and find a scapegoat. As the fictitious Apple corporation implodes, Fake Steve must decide whether to jump ship or stand by the company. Tech industry watchers who know (or know of) the players will get a kick out of seeing them skewered, but readers who aren't already tuned in to the Silicon Valley technocracy may not quite get it. Fake Steve doesn't really evolve as a character, but as a grotesque caricature, he's fun to watch. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“The most beautiful incarnation of identity theft to date…A hilarious joyride through the headaches and hassles of the super-rich…Lyons has elevated parody to an unforeseen source of humor and joy, and in so doing, he offers a fascinating critique on modern society…Provides all the entertainment a reader could ask for…The perfect hilarity to open the fall season.”
New York Times Book Review, 9/14/08
“[A] funny novel.”
“A really funny and interesting book…written in a very satirical manner…The life of [Steve] Jobs, his family and friends is so surreal, so larger then life you can’t help but be amused and interested…A thoroughly enjoyable book and a definite page turner…I highly recommend this novel to anyone with not only an interest in Steve Jobs and the Apple culture, but also anyone who enjoys interesting characters and an entertaining story.”
“It will make you laugh…[Lyons] has made it his business to nail the Apple guru’s every character tic…[An] imaginative novel.”
Mac Life, June 2010
“Wildly outrageous and highly entertaining.”
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Top Customer Reviews
The Fake Steve blog is a treat to read but I couldn't help wonder whether the style and approach would get old in a book length work. Boy, was I wrong. Daniel Lyons is a genius. He describes events in such fascinating detail that you not only feel you're there but you assume they actually occurred!
My personal favorite is the point towards the end of the book when Jobs meets with Yoko Ono to discuss reselling The Beatles library on iTunes. I won't spoil it by divulging too much here but I laughed out loud more than once while picturing this meeting in my head. There's also a funny twist to the ending, which again, I won't spill the beans on here.
Still not sold? Read this piece from the back cover and tell me it doesn't hit the nail on the head:
"Sometimes I feel like a great chef who has devoted his entire life to monastic study of the art of cooking. I've gathered the finest ingredients, built the most advanced kitchen and prepared the most exquisite meal. So perfect, so delicious, so extraordinary. More astounding than any meal ever created. Yet each day I stand in my window and watch 97% of the world walk past my restaurant into the McDonald's across the street."
The funniest parts of the book, in my opinion, relate FSJ's interactions with Hillary Clinton, Yoko Ono, and a fictional retired chip executive named Misho Knedlik. These exchanges all involve nasty insults being launched by characters against each other (FSJ is typically delivering the rockets, though he is sometimes their target as well). Author Daniel Lyons has a gift for amusing nastiness.
Prior knowledge of the participants at Apple (2005 - 2012) is needed to fully enjoy the book. If you've finished Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography and you want another take on it, read this book.
I couldn't help reading whole passages out loud to my amazingly patient wife while trying not to laugh. While the satire gets more ramped up with every chapter, a lot of the outrageousness is especially funny because it seems so close to the truth.
While I doubt that Steve Jobs has ever had Sting spoon him on a dirty floor while both tripping on ayahuasca, it's not hard to imagine Jobs ping-ponging between believing he is an under-appreciated genius and wallowing in self-doubt and isolation, not just as a reflection of El Jobso, but as one of our cultural obsession recapturing a lost sense of "childlike wonder."
The hilarious cruelty Fake Steve shows on a daily basis on his blog is here in the first part of the book, but is tempered a lot as the story (yes, there's a real narrative and plot) goes on; there are parts that are actually quite sweet and touching.
Options is in the same vein as, and at least as good, to me, as anything Douglas Coupland ever wrote.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
like really really it is so funny
if you like to laugh you will love this book I swear