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Inside the Giant Machine: Confessions of a Former Amazon.com Technologist Kindle Edition

28 customer reviews

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Kindle, Kindle eBook, January 6, 2014
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$2.99

Length: 126 pages

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Product Details

  • File Size: 1220 KB
  • Print Length: 126 pages
  • Publisher: Center of Artificial Imagination, Inc.; iBook v2.95 edition (January 6, 2014)
  • Publication Date: January 6, 2014
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004RJ42JA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #635,735 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Kalpanik S. was born in India, or thereabouts, a long time ago. OK, so it wasn't really all that long ago, but it's not very recent either.

He came to the USA on a fellowship from the University of California in late eighties to do graduate level studies in Computer Science. After completing his studies, Kalpanik chose to stay back and serve the Software and Internet industries at West Coast's High Tech corridor - Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Southern California

He has been writing a journal about his "journey" through the US from the time he landed at the San Francisco Airport more than twenty years ago. Finally, some years ago, he finally gathered enough courage to get it published. Boy, are we glad he did!

Kalpanik (pronounced as KAAL-pah-nik) means "imaginary" in Hindi. Yes, it's a pen name. Author uses a pen name to allow him to separate his literary identity from his professional identity.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This short e-book taught me things I didn't know about Amazon.com, my favorite website The author was born in India and has lived the American dream as a computer technologist, first in Silicon Valley and later for Amazon.com. He and his family moved to Seattle after a long and grueling interview process. He was paid well but the job required as much as 80 hours of work a week. He describes Seattle well, its' warm and bright summers and its' cold and rainy winters. He also describes the impact that living there had on his wife and children. Especially interesting to me was the Amazon.com working culture, which was indeed hard on the employees as Amazon created the mammoth business that it is today.

The book is fast-paced and easy to read, the author a likable guy. Amazon is a hard place to work for and many of his opinions are certainly not complementary although I could easily see the business genius of Jeff Bezos. Eventually, Mr. Kalpanik left the company but his recollections depict a time and a place and an industry that is indeed unique and will certainly be applauded as a business model for many years to come.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Anne Bardo on April 22, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Humorous and entertaining, the author has a unique view as he describes his journey to the reader. He shares the path he weaves from the Silicon Valley, to Amazon in Seattle, and beyond in a distinctive way of storytelling. I found this easy to read book witty, and his funny stories about Amazon more than a little entertaining. His mood and tone easily transfers from the pages, and I have to admit I caught myself smiling. Wonderful Book! I would highly recommend it to other readers looking for a lighthearted book with personality, amusing observations on Amazon, and smiles along the way.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Nick Vanmatre on November 20, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This inexpensive book was written by a former Amazon employee who worked in the Silicon Valley prior to Amazon. The writing is easy reading, very entertaining, and certainly sounds authentic. What was surprising to me was that the author began with a pretty positive description of Amazon that suddenly turned very sour and negative. Something must have happened to destroy the author's situation with the company. I really valued learning about how Amazon was created. Not surprising that the CEO expected extremely hard work. Would you say that the author became a "disgruntled" ex-employee? Thank you for the book AND photos!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Jones on October 30, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was really looking forward to reading this based on its intriguing name - "inside the giant machine" and "confessions". I was expecting another angle on the Amazon story, when in fact the book was nothing more than a poorly-constructed narrative of the author's life around the brief time he worked at Amazon.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By The Kindle Book Review on January 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Inside the Giant Machine: Confessions of a Former Amazon.com Technologist by Kalpanik Talreja is a quick and entertaining read about being recruited and working for Amazon.
This book reviewer gives this book 3.3 stars (rounded down to 3 stars).

The story is about the author being recruited and then working for Amazon. He does a good job describing his experience working with the software technology that truly drives Amazon. Don't expect a detail description and history of the entire Amazon workplace. This is just the story of the author's time at Amazon (which is relatively brief).

Especially for the person with a tech background, this is a quick read and worth the $0.99 cover price.

Anthony Wessel - Owner of DigitalBookToday.com and reviewer at KindleBookReview.com.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Chujiang Xiao on November 7, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a non-technical book about a very technical company. Reader can really get a sense on how Amazon operates without having to deal with all the technical jargons. The author unveils what drives the success of Amazon by using personal experience and humor.

Being an ex-amazonian, I can relate to many of the stories told by the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mandeep on July 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gives you amazing insights on how Amazon actually works from the inside, the author has a great sense of humour and brings out the ills of working with Amazon out in a funny yet not to be taken lightly manner.
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17 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lekas on December 22, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book shared very little of what it was like inside Amazon. Instead, it is a collection of vignettes from the author's life around the time he was employed with Amazon. I was disappointed that the book did not deliver on the title.

Breaking down the content of the book, you have (in order of amount of content from most to least)

- stories about the author's charming family
- impressions of Seattle
- retelling of public information about Amazon (profitability, sales, A9)
- anecdotes of getting hired and working at Amazon.

The book reads more like excerpts from a blog than a story. I had many problems with the narrative: There is no consistency to the voice, leading to a choppy and variable read; chapters start with an interesting idea but do not resolve, leaving the reader to wonder what happened. As to the Insider perspective, there were holes I did not expect. For example, the author never states his title (though he explicitly gives his former and next titles); he refers to his team in Merchant Services without ever talking about Z-Shops, and couches his actual work under unimaginative code-names (whither "Project X"?). There are some anecdotes about his job that ring true, but they are few and far between. In the end, I feel the author never fully invested in Amazon - his tears after quitting seem more about himself than his job.

The author's best writing comes when he describes something he loves: his wife and daughters, dancing on Capitol Hill. Unfortunately this rarely coincides with his "Inside Amazon" experiences, so if you want to know what it's like to work there you'll have to look elsewhere (
...Read more ›
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