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Showing 1-10 of 883 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,092 reviews
on June 28, 2016
As somebody who has been familiar with Amazon since they began (tech in Seattle is a small world), Amazon has always been in my peripherals so I was already somewhat familiar with Amazon's stigma, especially in this city, as well as what a lot of people have had to say about Amazon. This book only really scratches the surface of the mindset of Jeff and his executive team throughout the course of Amazon's history, but if you can take an objective viewpoint and read between the lines of the book you can get a pretty revealing idea of how Amazon operates and their philosophy behind a lot of what they do. There is a lot to get out of this book that other things are severely lacking (looking at you, New York Times).

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.
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on February 20, 2015
One of the best books I have read all year. Not only does the author provide a look at the origins of Amazon and how it came to be one of the biggest and most influential companies in the world, but it also provides a glimpse into the origins of Jeff Bezos. I was fascinated to see what made him tick and impressed by the insight into his enduring vision for Amazon and how he handled the obstacles that stood in his way. I was particularly captivated by the ruthless tactics the company employed to both survive against the likes of Walmart, Apple, and the giants of the book publishing industry. This is a great read for anyone who wants to understand how "The Everything Store" was built and where this company plans to go in the coming years.
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on June 12, 2017
I was looking for a biography of Jeff Bezos and The Everything Store is about Amazon almost exclusively. The book reveals what a complex entity Amazon is and how tremendously impressive Jeff Bezos is, and that's useful but there may be a little too much detail, and I'd like something more on how Bezos' style has meshed with the presumably independent Washington Post. Also, I 've been wondering about the competition between Bezos and Musk in the area of space ships. Perhaps the book was written before much could be said about either of those two topics. It's interesting to know that Bezos, like Musk and Jobs, all very successful, were pretty rough on those who worked for them and don't seem to have suffered for it.
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on February 1, 2017
"'If [humans] think long term, we can accomplish things that we wouldn't accomplish otherwise,' Bezos said. 'Time horizons matter, they matter a lot. The other thing I would point out is that we humans are getting awfully sophisticated in technological ways and have a lot potential to be very dangerous to ourselves. It seems to me that we, as a species, have to start thinking longer term.'"
Jeff Bezos

Brad Stone did a great job of writing The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. He captured the business incredibly, from its extremely successful start, to its struggles in the beginning of the 2000's. This book was very insightful, and, after reading it, I look at the company as more than just a convenient, "Everything Store."

We have all heard of them - it's more than likely that you have bought something from them - but do you know how Jeff Bezos created this giant of a business?

He started in a garage with an idea, books, and desks made from cheap doors.

After starting out in the garage, Jeff and his associates quickly had to buy an official office space, as well as a warehouse. They grew so quickly that, on May 15, 1997, the company reported a 900% growth in annual sales.

Jeff's idea was extremely successful up until 2000, when the company's stock made a complete U-turn. Its share value would continue to drop in value for 21 months. Jeff Bezos has been up against incredible challenges, and this book has taught me how he came through each of them.

During a meeting in the earlier years of his company's lifetime, Jeff and the other attendees came up with six terms that described what they wanted to be. These terms are:

1. Customer Obsession
2. Frugality
3. Bias for Action
4. Ownership
5. High Bar for Talent
6. Innovation

After being hit by his business's decline in 2000, Bezos came up with three more terms to add to that list:

7. Discipline
8. Efficiency
9. Eliminating waste

If you want to learn more about one of the most successful CEO's, or if you are dying to know how his company recovered from their 21 month slump, I highly recommend that you buy The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon.

This review was originally posted on my blog, along with other biographies, classics, and insipiring nonfiction.
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on December 26, 2013
I'd put off reading this book because Jeff Bezos said it was too early to write Amazon's history and I agreed. There was MacKenzie Bezos one-star review, as well as Andy Jassy's; both insiders with a front-row seat, their opinions had to be respected. (Disclosure: I'm a professional money manager and I own Amazon shares.)

But now that I've read it: This might be the best business book of the year; certainly a must-read for anyone wanting to learn about business. Brad Stone provides source material for professors, enough to fill a semester-long course. Interesting characters fill the book, such as the Riggio Brothers (Barnes & Noble founders), who, all by themselves, cover just about every conceivable way of "How NOT to Respond to a Competitive Threat."

The setting: it's 1995 in a Seattle restaurant (p. 56), still early days for the Internet, and the Riggio brothers sit down for dinner with Bezos and an associate. CEO Len Riggio is described in the book as a "tough-as-nails Bronx-born businessman." The problem: He didn't take Amazon seriously, even though the threat should've been obvious to CEO Riggio, given the cost advantage of an Internet model (no need to build, staff and inventory hundreds of stores).

Riggio's game plan going into the meeting - threaten like a bully, then offer to collaborate - is standard stuff. He told Bezos he would "crush Amazon" once Barnes & Noble launched it's website. Then he offered to work together. Later in the book, Len Riggio completes his clown imitation by dismissing e-books (such as the Kindle), saying the market was "small," and this classic: "when the market is there, we'll be there." (p. 254) Denial, anchoring, confirmation bias, it's all here.

Book lovers, you'll enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at the birth of AWS (Amazon Web Services). I'll tell you how Bezos did it, but for context, let me tell you what the market looks like today: AWS completely dominates computing infrastructure, an end market that will eventually be measured in the trillions. AWS is 5 times bigger than the next 14 competitors combined.

Stone's book reveals this: AWS was created from scratch ten years ago based on ideas Bezos obtained from a couple of books! Google, Microsoft, and IBM were much better positioned to capture the infrastructure-as-a-service vertical, it was there for the taking. But here's Bezos, driven by principles articulated in Clayton Christensen's superb series of books on disruption, tying it to a book by video game developer Steve Grand (p. 211).

As Stone reported: "Grand wrote that his approach to creating intelligent life was to focus on designing simple computational building blocks, called primitives."

Bezos took the building block idea and extended it, insisting to his engineers: "This has to scale to infinity with no planned downtime. Infinity!"

In the much ballyhooed confrontation between IBM and AWS for the CIA contract, now part of the public record because IBM sued to block it (and lost), the Judge made it clear - even though IBM had the lower priced-bid - AWS was vastly superior in auto-scaling. Their scaling technology (which is key to their dominance), now we know, is traceable to a book by a video game developer.

Mrs. Bezos one-star rating makes sense in context. Bezos could've come off as more personable in this book (and I'm sure he is), but I'm not sure the world needs a Jeff Bezos Admiration Society just yet. The game isn't over yet, for one thing. On a global basis, Amazon is a distant number two to Alibaba, and a competitive clash is certain to occur.

I don't know, I sort of like Bezos in the feisty, underdog role. Game on.
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on January 27, 2017
Excellent book! Magnificently written. Thanks to Brad Stone's incredible research and clarity in words, not only I will continue to buy in Amazon but will probably spend more! (Note to the author: request a % share in all my future purchases for the great marketing you've given Amazon!!!). Very, very happy to be a Prime member and this book explains in details how resilient Bezos had to be to break through the status quo of the established retailers and turn the model upside down. Bezos was humble enough to take great ideas and concepts from others to create something unique in a way that added much more value, such as the Costco membership idea to become prime. The iPod revolution in the music industry to create the Kindle, etc, etc , but more importantly the long term view from the Oracle of Omaha! Thinking big and long term. The strength, passion and desire for innovation you cannot copy, they are either present in your DNA or not, so those are his own! Finally, I'm a strong believer that for a man to be able to do all this, his partner has to be somebody very special, so having read so much about Bezos, i will research more about MacKenzie. She has to be a unique person to be able to provide the support he must had needed during these 20+ years! I'm now intrigued to see who will be Amazon's disrupter in the retail business!!
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on December 27, 2016
Great read for anyone who wants to know why Amazon is the behemoth it is. Its amazing about how one man wants a company to be everything to everybody, and its coming true right before our eyes. Where most experts state to focus on one goal an be good at it, this book proves that with a a lot of ambition, a clear vision, and the willingness to please the customer, even the so call impossible can be possible. Despite the book being a little dated (the Echo was not mentioned, something that I bought my wife for Christmas), there are a lot of tips and advice to pick up for those who want to start their own business (even if it is not in the same direction of Amazon). Highly recommended.
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on December 25, 2013
The book is not about Bezos or about Amazon but its about the passion that drives any successful venture. A grand vision, building teams and passion to execute is the rarest of qualities in any founder that VCs lookout for. The book simply narrates the same idea over and over again. Not extremely well researched, yet captures the essence beautifully. Ability to generate new ideas is not quirkiness but a much desirable trait in any leader - especially when the venture is trying out new frontiers. Constantly building new teams, focus on customers (and not on Wall street analysts) and clarity on vision helped Amazon (and Bezos) over the years to adapt to the changing circumstances. Would have been better if Bezos could have provided his personal take on various events mentioned and why or why not he behaved in the way - the book leaves a lot to be desired, yet I highly recommend it for underlying message about entrepreneurship and not to be mistaken for biography of Bezos.
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on November 25, 2014
The secret to Amazon's success is that it is customer focused, almost to a fault. In other words, Jeff Bezos has sacrificed everything to give customers the lowest price. Along the way he has beguiled America like a snake charmer; customers and investors have crawled into bed with him despite the fact that Amazon is not the most profitable company. Take nothing away from him; has he transformed how items are sold on the Internet Yet, the way that Jeff Bezos achieved his success reminds me of a quote by Einstein, "It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."
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on July 29, 2016
Even handed history of the raise of Amazon. I am a long time user of Amazon, having first used the service when it only sold books, even then, it differentiated itself due to customer service. I am also a Apple fan, however in recent months found that in streaming services, Amazon is much superior in both selection and interface over Apple TV, (using prime service). The book increased my admiration Jeff Bezos but I know that I would not want to work for him.
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