Revenge on the ... Bosses?
Are magazine editors Graydon Carter and Anna Wintour really nightmare bosses?
May 22, 2008 — -- Bosses beware: For disgruntled employees, penning a memoir of time spent working under a tyrant may be the best and most profitable way to get back at the boss who made life miserable.
Several former employees have turned authors in just that way, taking their experiences working for top publications or companies straight to the best-seller list.
In the 2003 novel "The Devil Wears Prada," author Lauren Weisberger wrote — fictionally, she claimed — about an assistant's life at a popular fashion magazine.
But Weisberger, who had once interned for Vogue magazine, was quickly treated to a spot at the top of the "New York Times" best-seller list after readers began to assume the main villain in the book was based on the magazine's editor-in-chief, the notoriously tough Anna Wintour.
And the 2002 book "The Nanny Diaries" chronicled the lives of two women who worked as babysitters on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. An obsessive mother and an overly flirtatious father were the duo's eccentric bosses.
Both books quickly became major film projects, released in theaters in 2006 and 2007.
Later this year, yet another film about the inner workings of an office will hit the big screen — this time based on Toby Young's book "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People." The film of the same name chronicles Young's time working for Vanity Fair's editor-in-chief Clayton Harding … which most assume to be a not -so-subtle take on the the magazine's real-life editor, Graydon Carter.
Aside from the intrigue surrounding their high-profile antagonists, industry experts say these stories of workplace nightmares are so easy to identify with that readers and movie-goers just can't keep their eyes off them.
"Pretty much everyone has had a job or has a job with a nightmare boss or in a nightmare workplace situation," said Paul Dergarabedian, the president of box office analysis firm Media By Numbers. "It's just something very relatable and can definitely be made funny.
"Just like any other very specific movie with a specific topic of a relatable sense of circumstances, people like them," said Dergarabedian.
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