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One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 27, 2011
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"One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com."
... does it make Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder, the Edison or Bell of today? The answers come in Richard Brandt's enjoyable book, One Click.
... a good story told well. If you want to understand the Bezos phenomenon, this is an easy and efficient way to do it
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The writing throughout was overly simplistic and at times downright bad, i.e. from page 149..."Borders Group, Inc., the second largest bookstore chain, is suffering like a CEO with swine flu." I don't even understand the premise of this statement? Companies apparently live and die by the actual health of their top executive? It is a ridiculous analogy, a sophomoric simile that ends up being an insult to the challenges that any of the big box book stores were going through as the industry they had once mastered changed before they could even understand what was happening. At the end of the day, I guarantee the CEO of Borders only wished he had contracted the swine flu...I am sure that is far less painful than filing for bankruptcy and laying off thousands of hard working employees across the country.
This book's usefullness is limited to being source material for a high school business class essay and not much more.
It's interesting to re-watch Amazon grow up in Brandt's pages, alongside the use of the internet itself. (I placed my first order on Amazon, for Alison Weir's The War of the Roses [I STILL HAVEN'T READ IT!], on October 25, 1997. I had always thought of myself as an early customer, but my bubble has now burst: Amazon was already pretty far along its path, with its initial public offering of stock already in May of 1997, when my book shipped.) And it's nice to be reminded of the things that have changed along the way: Amazon's old logo, A9 search, zShops. There is a weird gap in the book when the author skips from 2002 to 2007. I also would have liked to see some pictures, maybe screen shots of Amazon's front page over the years, a picture of the original logo so I didn't have to look it up online. Perhaps also a timeline to tie it all together. There are a lot of details--stock prices and expansions into new product lines--that some may find boring, however readable the author's prose. Certainly if the book were about any other company on the planet, including Apple, I would not have had patience for the minutiae. But since it's Amazon....
-- Debra Hamel
I found the book to be readable and insightful about Jeff Bezos and Amazon. What I found most intriguing about the book was the clear vision and fearlessness in which Jeff Bezos ran the company. He clearly is a risk taker who really knew what he was doing well ahead of other companies. He was also modest enough to say we do not know everything and have to work harder than everyone else to achieve our goals. This did not work out well for Borders, B&N, and some independents.
One of my favorite quotes at the beginning of chapter 8 is as follows "We know two percent today. I think Amazon.com may know as much as any other company about e-commerce, but I bet we know two percent of what we will know two years from know. This is the Kitty Hawk era of e-commerce, and most of the interesting stuff has not been invented yet." That is Jeff Bezos from 1998.
Another quote which I picture more from Google is "We used to joke that the ideal Amazon site would not show a search box, navigation links, or lists of things to buy. Instead it would just display a giant picture of one book, the next book you want to buy." This quote was from Greg Linden, a former Amazon Programmer.
The book naturally has some good insight on the development and growth of the company, but like books on Google and Apple, it tends to fly at a very high level (not a lot of new insight if you are modestly familiar with the companyA). One will not learn how to run a website from reading this book, but some good "tips". I paused to think about some of the key elements Amazon employed (think One Click, continuous improvement, and the Kindle) if I ever ran or had controls in a company.
Definitely recommended reading for some big box stores or older book stores that need to carve out a real niche to survive. The reminder and moral of the story is to think about how best to serve your companies needs and challenge the status quo. We are definitely past two percent of our knowledge of e-commerce, but a lot more excitement to come.
Most recent customer reviews
I Didn't want to put it down. I look forward to more books from this author.