Revenge to Riches? 5 Ex-Employees' Scandalous Books

Greg SmithWhen Greg Smith published his rant against former employer Goldman Sachs in The New York Times, a lot of people twittered that he was probably sitting on, or soon to be sitting on, a book deal of epic proportions.

Well, Smith (pictured at left) just got a book deal of epic proportions.

Publishing house Grand Central has allegedly given Smith $1.5 million -- three times his previous annual Goldman salary -- to turn his tale into a glossy, chaptered affair. Smith certainly isn't the first guy to expose a former employer for $14.99 a pop on Amazon.

But if you're thinking this might be a good way to fill your coffers, keep in mind that these authors often spend a good chunk of their advances on lawyers' fees. Employers tend not to look kindly on such books.

That's why some disgruntled ex-employees prefer to lay a thin facade of fiction on top, like Lauren Weisberger in her novel, "The Devil Wears Prada."

But tell-all books are also free speech at its best. It's always nice to know that if your boss is that terrible, your execs that corrupt, and your co-workers that incompetent, you can turn it into a vacation paperback. At least if you work for a company that the country loves to love or loves to hate.

Here are 5 other classics in the turncoat canon.

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Revenge to Riches? 5 Ex-Employees' Scandalous Books

Abby Johnson is the ex-director of a Planned Parenthood in Bryan Texas, and was assisting in her first ultrasound abortion, when she had a flash of revelation, and went from pro-choice women's health provider to anti-abortion activist. And of course that switch was accompanied by a book, "Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned parenthood Leader's Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line."

Johnson claims she was told by Planned Parenthood that fetuses didn't feel any pain during an abortion, and she repeated that fact to other women. But during that abortion, she says she saw the fetus recoil as the abortion instruments approached. To many anti-abortion advocates, Johnson became a "modern-day hero." She starred in ads to defund Planned Parenthood, as well as an anti-abortion documentary.

Planned Parenthood filed a restraining order against Johnson. But the judge refused, and ruled that there wasn't sufficient evidence that Johnson had breached confidentiality agreements.

Of all the employers in the country, the CIA is probably the touchiest when it comes to employees dishing on their work lives in print. Especially if that book has a title like, "The Human Factor: Inside the CIA's Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture."

Ishmael Jones (which is the cover name the CIA gave him from his first training) offers up a devastating critique of a bloated and corrupt Soviet-style bureaucracy, which provides presidents weak or totally false intel on which to make the country's most important decisions. Jones' criticisms are in fact very similar to Smith's; like Goldman, the CIA is apparently only out to stuff the fat pockets of its own.

In 2010, the CIA filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the ex-agent. Apparently deep-cover agents can't publish whatever they want without CIA approval. Who'd have thought?

"Walt Disney is spinning in his cryogenic chamber," wrote one reviewer about Chris Mitchell's book on working at Walt Disney World. Mitchell spent a year as a photographer at Disney World, hanging out with the theme park's cast members, and documenting the sex, drugs and hardcore partying that lies beneath Disney's shimmery, wholesome veneer.

In "Cast Member Confidential," Mitchell also charts the strict employee hierarchy you probably didn't imagine the last time you hugged Mickey Mouse. Face characters, of course, rule the land.

In 1999, Douglas Edwards became the brand manager of an internet startup. When he left it 5 1/2 years later, that startup was one of the biggest and most powerful companies in the world. His memoirs, "I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59" aren't as vicious or damaging as the other ones on this list. In fact, Edwards loved and still loves Google. But he doesn't shy from pointing out some of the flaws that have only grown bigger since.

He describes the intense cultishness of the early days, which went even beyond your standard startup Kool-Aid. "Google did, in some ways, take over my sense of who I was," he writes. "And it was worse for some of the other people who had gone there straight from college." Another friend, he said, could easily retire, but he didn't. "He was scared of not being there."

Edwards also claims that the founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, succumbed ever so slightly to hubris. They assumed everyone in the world was "rational" like a Google engineer, and so wouldn't be upset when ads popped up on their Gmail counts based on their personal scribblings. I mean, it wasn't an actual person reading those emails, so why would they care?

Larry Johnson was the COO of Alcor Life Extension Foundation, which researches. advocates and performs cryonics, preserving dead bodies in liquid nitrogen in the hope of future revival. In his book "Frozen: My Journey Into The World of Cryonics, Deception, And Death," Johnson reveals a bunch of creepy details about the company, like the fact that technicians drilled holes in the skull of baseball star Ted Williams and accidentally cracked it, and that one engineer hastened the death of a terminally ill AIDS patient.


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