oPtion$: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs

By Daniel Lyons (aka Fake Steve Jobs)

Da Capo Press, $22.95

This book illustrates the danger in trying to transform something that works best as a bite-sized snack (a blog parodying Apple's visionary chief executive) into a dinner entrée (a novel parodying Apple's visionary chief executive). As a faux first-person blog (written by Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes), "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs" offers a hopelessly narcissistic prick's short, amusing, and easily digested rants about "freetards" (Linux lovers) and Beastmaster Bill (Microsoft's Bill Gates). As a 248-page book, however, the rants, although funny from time to time, get old fast. A strong plot would have helped, but oPtion$ doesn't have one. Instead, the story is a fictionalized behind-the-scenes account of the options-backdating scandal — not exactly riveting. The best moments in the book come when other famous people — most of whom are as vain and self-absorbed as Jobs — make fake guest appearances. Bono, for instance, hilariously complains about losing the Nobel Peace Prize to "some banker": "How many times has this guy been to Africa? Has he fathered any children there? Because I have." Oracle chief Larry Ellison, meanwhile, resembles a rich frat boy who goads Jobs into prank-calling former Apple CEO John Sculley and driving Ellison's Hummer to the Tenderloin to shoot transvestite hookers with Super Soakers. Despite these occasionally satisfying moments, on the whole, oPtion$ is analogous to one of those Saturday Night Live skits that unwisely gets blown up into a movie: Funny at times, but not worthy of a full-length feature.

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