Book Review: oPtion$ : The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, a Parody

I got the book oPtion$ : The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, a Parody as a birthday gift from my wife, Jodie, in late November.  I was a little bit skeptical of the book, as I had never read the blog of Fake Steve Jobs, although I have heard a lot of people talk about the blog.  I would be one of the first people to subscribe to a blog by the real Steve Jobs, but the concept of someone else writing a blog did not really appeal to me.  I let the book sit for about a month until Christmas time when I picked it up.  Between my birthday, Christmas and work I have got a backlog of about 20 books to read, so I figured I had better  get crackin g on reading.  I am not sure why I picked up the book, but within the first seven pages I was totally hooked and had trouble putting the book down.  As usual, Jodie knows me better than I know myself.

Quick Review

Very easy read that is a nice diversion.  A good book to take on a trip with you (you can knock it out on a long flight).  Overall the book is very funny and that is the light in which it should be read.  If you are sensitive to things that are not politically correct, please avoid this book.

Important Note

Unlike most of the books that I intend on reviewing, this is a book of fiction.  It was written by someone (Daniel Lyons) who had no access to the real Steve Jobs.  It is based around some real events that happened, but please don’t think that anything in the book or this review actually happened the way that it is told.  That being said, the book will make you laugh out loud over the possibility that any of it could be true.  🙂

The book takes place between the summer of 2006 and the announcement of the iPhone in January, 2007.  You might think a lot of it centers around the development of the iPhone, but that is a minor sub-plot (the book does open with Steve Jobs meditating about the circuit board on the iPhone).  The crux of the book is how (fake) Steve Jobs deals with the backdating scandal of the Apple stock options (in case you forgot for a few months it was a big deal – other than this book it has pretty much been forgotten by most people).  (fake) Steve Jobs has a number of adventures and mis-adventures in dealing with the scandal (visits China, gets thrown in Jail and blackmails Yoko Ono to name a few).  All along the book he uses his favorite quote:

Dude, I invented the friggin iPhone. Have you heard of it?

The joke is on Microsoft?  Bono?  Larry Ellison?

One of the things that I appreciated the most were the Microsoft jokes (if you can’t laugh at the company that you work for, then you are taking your job way too seriously).  They are peppered throughout the book, and even the back cover of the book is devoted to a Microsoft joke.  My favorite one was when Jobs is lamenting what would happen if he were removed from Apple:

What happens to the world if the Jobsmeister is suddenly taken out of the game?  Let me give you a hint: Microsoft.  Yeah.  Its Scary.

Most of the funniest moments are not Microsoft jokes, but they involve the celebrities that (fake) Steve Jobs hangs out with.  He paints Larry Ellison of Oracle and Bono of U2 is less that flattering lights, but with hilarious results (He does that with just about everyone in the book).

My only complaint with the book is the ending (which I will not spoil in any way).  It is wrapped up in just a few pages and leaves you wanting more.  With a colorful character like Steve Jobs, I am sure that we will see more, if not in book form then certainly on the blog.

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