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The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon Paperback – Illustrated, August 12, 2014
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"Mr. Stone tells this story with authority and verve, and lots of well-informed reporting.... A dynamic portrait of the driven and demanding Mr. Bezos." -- Michiko Kakutani, New York Times―-
"Engrossing.... Stone's long tenure covering both Bezos and Amazon gives his retelling a sureness that keeps the story moving swiftly." -- New York Times Book Review―-
"Jeff Bezos is one of the most visionary, focused, and tenacious innovators of our era, and like Steve Jobs he transforms and invents industries. Brad Stone captures his passion and brilliance in this well-reported and compelling narrative." -- Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs―-
"Stone's account moves swiftly and surely." -- New York Times Book Review, "Editor's Choice"―-
"The Everything Store is a revelatory read for everyone--those selling and those sold to--who wants to understand the dynamics of the new digital economy. If you've ever one-clicked a purchase, you must read this book." -- Steven Levy, author of Hackers and In the Plex―-
"A deeply reported and deftly written book.... Like Steven Levy's "In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives," and "Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry -- and Made Himself the Richest Man in America" by Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews, it is the definitive account of how a tech icon came to life." -- Seattle Times―-
"Stone's book, at last, gives us a Bezos biography that can fit proudly on a shelf next to the best chronicles of America's other landmark capitalists." -- Forbes―-
"Stone's tale of the birth, near-death, and impressive revival of an iconic American company is well worth your time." -- Matthew Yglesias, Slate―-
"An engaging and fascinating read.... An excellent chronicle of Amazon's rise.... A gift for entrepreneurs and business builders of the new generation." -- Business Insider―-
About the Author
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316219282
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316219280
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.25 x 8.25 inches
- Publisher : Back Bay Books; Illustrated edition (August 12, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #28,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Like other people have mentioned, this book paints Jeff in a little bit of a strange light, only focusing on his ruthless approach to business and e-commerce and spending little time talking about the fact that he is indeed human and has a wide range of emotions and isn't actually Darth Vader incarnate.
All in all, I enjoyed the book thoroughly. The pacing is quick, but not thin, and the author spends just enough time explaining situations to provide context without risking crafting a dense editorial. The language is smart, but not aloof, and the progression of the writing makes it easy to continue reading for long stretches of time unlike a lot of other books like this one.
I enjoyed reading this book; I learned a lot about Amazon’s history and culture. I always find the “backstories” interesting. Of course, I think you have to take any single article or book with a grain of salt; we humans tend to be subjective, myopic, and one-sided, even if our intentions are good. And, I don’t think the author actually interviewed Mr. Bezos, so that seems like a significant miss to me. But all in all, I don’t think the book comes across as either for or against Amazon, and it is a very easy read. If you’re trying to learn about Amazon, don’t limit yourself to this book, or any other single source of information. I’d particularly recommend reading the book's reviews written by Mackenzie Bezos and Andy Jassy.
One really interesting tidbit was the story about Jeff having an open seat in meetings, where the “customer” is seated. Some people may think it a bit silly, but I don’t. I can’t think of a better constant reminder. I’ve found that I actually seem to have a lot of the same quirks and philosophies as Mr. Bezos, which is kind of cool. Like, frugality is one of my mantras too. It’s hard to find fault with much of anything, when Amazon has been so successful.
Top reviews from other countries
The author, Brad Stone, is a well respected US journalist with a strong pedigree in this arena, and with The Everything Store he really delivers. The book appears well researched with lots of rich history, from the amusing to the serious technical details, and introduces the reader to a lot of the key players in the business.
As a longtime Amazon user I thought I knew a lot about it, but it turns out that Amazon is like an iceberg and we only see a small percentage of the real company on the surface, the rest of the behemoth is under the surface, away from view.
This book is very readable, Stone has turned what could have been a quite dry subject into a fascinating read that keeps you turning the page. Some books in this genre are heavy going, but this one has just enough story-telling weaved through the cold facts to keep you interested to the end.
If you're interested in Amazon or the way that billion dollar businesses are built and run this will make for a great read which I highly recommend.
After reading the biography of ELON MUSK and now this, I can now safely say that, you need to be low on empathy if you want to run a bold and thriving business. (Correct me if I am wrong & recommend a contradictory biography )
Yet one of the most memorable stories in Brad Stone's account of how Jeff Bezos made such a success of Amazon is just such an encounter with a senior manager. They were giving answers that Bezos did not believe about the speed with which the phones were being answered by the customer service team. So in the middle of a meeting with senior managers, Bezos put a phone on loudspeaker, dialed Amazon's customer service number and started ostentatiously timing how long it took to be answered. He'd been told that calls were being answered in less than a minute, but the meeting had to sit in excruciating silence as the minutes ticked up before finally the phone was answered.
A devastatingly effective way of making a point, true. But how do you combine such a brutish attitude at times with an ability to recruit, retain and motivate the sort of brilliant staff you need, especially when Amazon wasn't paying high wages? The mystery is deepened by the grimly humorous collection of stories of other technology CEOs and their abrasive behaviour that Brad Stone presents in the book.
As with Steve Jobs, reading about Jeff Bezos and all his quirks in dealing with other human beings (not to mention Amazon's huge sums spent on failed takeovers) leaves you wondering for much of the time if you're reading an account of a brilliant success or a tragic failure. Clearly the path Amazon has taken shows he - like Jobs - is the former.
But whilst Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs does answer the question of how Jobs and Apple ended up so successful despite his manner, in the case of Bezos and Amazon, Brad Stone leaves that question only partly answered. Early on in the book Amazon is but one amongst many online book selling startups. Stone explains well why traditional bookselling firms found it difficult to move into the online business, constrained as they were by their heavy investment in offline stores. Why, though, did Amazon triumph from all those different online startups? That Stone doesn't tell us.
The more successful Amazon gets, the better Stone's book does explain its gathering momentum, especially thanks to Bezos's insistence on using Amazon's scale to drive prices as low as possible. There are two types of company, Bezos says. Those that looks to charge as high a price as possible (think Apple) and those that look to charge as low a price as possible (think Amazon). Amazon's low prices may have kept its profits down, but they have hugely boosted its size and, while Apple's high margins have attracted big competitors eating into its market, Amazon's low margins have kept competitors out of the market, leaving more space for it to grow even further.
It's a shame though that the initial crucial breakthrough remains unexplained even by the end of an enjoyable book.
Clearly in all the above, Amazon has been massively successful. Yet it has faced criticism over tax and some of its employee policies, and as Brad Stone, and many past employees point out, Amazon has no culture of work-life balance and different teams working together: Bezos appears to believe that creative tension creates progress and drives up standards. There is a powerful feeling across the political divide in the US that Amazon has got too big and is exercising a distorting effect on many markets (though some of this is caused by political jealousy, for example Trump's dislike of the liberal Washington Post newspaper, also owned by Bezos). Brad Stone is apparently writing an updated version of this book, which should be an interesting read. Certainly, barring some unforeseen catastrophe, Amazon's capacity for forward-looking thinking and not resting on its laurels seems set to ensure it continues to evolve and play a key role in online retail for many years to come.