How I Did It

Rated 4.00/5 based on 2 reviews
The future has arrived, but history has come to a hard stop. A well-meaning industrialist named Jasper Jennings has spent several decades creating a highly functional dystopia. Many years after his death, the Jennings family discovers a manuscript that seems to provide a roadmap of how he came to control the world and how humankind may some day chart a new horizon. More

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Words: 45,420
Language: English
ISBN: 9781310477102
About Michael Rich

Hi,

I'm Michael Rich. I was born in Glendale, California in 1962. I've lived in California my entire life and currently reside in Northern California with my daughter. I'm a single parent; my wife passed away in 2011. I have always enjoyed writing and I studied creative writing in college. So far I have published one novel, but more are on the way. I'm currently working on the second novel, which has a working title of "The Preserve." I am also going to publish a series of short stories that are already completed, but need editing and formatting. If you like this first novel, "How I Did It," you can look for the short story collection in early 2015. I also enjoy writing songs (I play guitar and sing), golf, and alpine snow skiing.

My writing is inspired primarily by four writers, in alphabetical order: Albert Camus, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Aldous Huxley and Jack London. I am not as talented as any of those writers, but their writing inspires me, informs my writing in subtle ways, and sets a standard of quality that I aspire to.

If you buy "How I Did It" and you like it, I would welcome a posted review. Thanks for checking out my Smashwords profile.

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Reviews

Review by: Robert Dean on June 09, 2016 :
As SIFI goes, this was a fantastic book. Unique ideas and very gripping. I couldn't stop reading
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)

Review by: WildBlackberry on March 10, 2015 :
The book is a utopia set in the future. There has been a global economic collapse followed by a financial recovery and political restructuring. In the book’s past, in our future, an entrepreneur/philanthropist, living at the time of the collapse, has rescued the world and reshaped it to function better. Not coincidentally, this rescue results in him becoming fabulously wealthy and the de facto ruler of the world. The story takes place after his death, with his progeny retaining enormous wealth and power. In the book’s “now,” the family of the great man decides to release videos of him explaining how he reshaped the world (“how I did it”) and the choices the world must now make.
There are two works of fiction that most resemble this book: The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov, and Walden Two by B. F. Skinner. As in the Foundation Trilogy, a great man from the past reveals truths heretofore only glimpsed by the people. As in Walden Two, society is re-engineered and, within the book, the social engineering only produces good net results.
How I Did It has a simple and appealing structure. There are television pundits who give us the news and trite commentary. There are the revelations from the past. There is an ongoing narrative involving members of the mega-wealthy family and their entourage. They engage in romance and off-camera sex. This pattern repeats throughout the book and provides a comforting framework for the reader to engage in the author’s ideas.
The most interesting and disturbing aspect of the book are genetically engineered animals with lion bodies and bird heads and wings, called gryphons. Mostly these lion-birds are cool pets that people ride around the sky on, but some gryphons kill people. Before the revelations from the past, people believed these killings were by non-domesticated gryphons and were mistakes. We learn that the wealthy family has used gryphons to kill bad guys, usually before the bad guys have done bad. These preemptive killings, in the world of How I Did It, produce a harmonious, peaceful, prosperous world. Even one of the talking head pundits, whose wife has been killed by a gryphon, doesn’t seem to mind all that much, since the tradeoff is stark: the bad old days of the collapse, or the good new days of the new paradigm.
The message seems to be that these preemptive killings, when done right, are necessary and acceptable. This flies in the face of three other works that deal with the same issue: the movie “Captain America and the Winter Soldier,” The Gospel Of Luke, Chapter Nine, Verses Fifty-Three to Fifty-Six, and The Gospel Of Matthew, Chapter 13, Verses Twenty-Four To Thirty. With these sources in mind, one could call How I Did It a dystopia. However, the dysfunction I see has to come from the reader’s own understanding of morality and how things might play out differently and far worse; the dysfunctionality of this utopia is not apparent in the world of the book.
The “opt in” idea that generates most of the progress in this book is definitely something worth thinking about, although I have major qualms about the all-or-nothing, take-it-or-leave-it approach. If you are thinking about what the book has to say, instead of swallowing its ideas hook, line and sinker, you will benefit from reading it, and enjoy the tale along the way. I recommend this book.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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