9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book. But will I remain an amazon customer?
I bought from amazon pretty much since its inception and became a loyal customer. That's why I enjoyed reading this book (on my kindle, of course) to reconstruct the company's history that I knew from a customer's perspective: the vast book offering at first, then the additions such as "search inside this book", customer reviews, amazon marketplace, the increasing...
Published 3 months ago by Dr Jekyll
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One sided view
The beginning of the book was interesting but my overall view you do not learn enough about how Bezos and other people within Amazon think.
Published 3 months ago by Maarten van den Berg
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!!!!,
Incredibly inspirational and entertaining read. Jeff Bezos deserves to be successful since he and his team have created a wonderful recipe for retailing, especially for those of us who prefer not to journey into town every day.
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful,
Fascinating to learn about the growth of the behemoth. Bezos is a fascinating character but there's something disquieting about the way he runs his business.
4.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to Amazon milestones,
There has been heaps of information in the media about Amazon over the past two decades. I have been remiss in not reading much of it at all. Consequently, I though this book would fill me in on the main threads and events on the life of a huge global force in retail and technology. On this front, I have not been disappointed.
The book is fairly well researched, but does suffer from chronology problems. I think this is due to the selection of the chapters. The end result is that there is quite bit of repetition and is sluggish in parts. The storyline does dovetail broadly over the firm's life but is insufficiently linear to build a good rhythm and momentum for the reader. That said, for someone of limited knowledge on the subject (like me) it was tolerable. For Amazon buffs, this may be a problem.
I found the criticism to be fairly balanced in also highlighting quirky management styles, testosterone, ruthless negotiating, threats to staff that left of their own free will and the financial stinginess. Bezos, was depicted as an intelligent, eccentric, driven, relentless innovator, with enormous dreams. His ego too is not spared criticism, yet the Writer's terms both missionary and mercenary seem most apt.
I would have liked more insights into the thinking and the strategy of the technical heads regards their development and evolving of their information strategy and data mining. (if possible of course) The brains trust that created a computer software network that was sold or rented to big clients intrigues me. Also, the 'scorched earth' style pricing strategy to clear competition and win market supremacy is controversial and would have created many enemies.
Only passing paragraphs are given to companies bought, sold and dumped. Many mistakes were made on the way and the shareholders were notoriously forgiving. Bezos certainly was mooted to have the Midas touch even when losses were relentless.
The book is not sordid or tacky, venting needless gossip. It also doesn't go into depth, as I mentioned earlier, so as a first step into finding out about Bezos, the consumer strategist - this is a book I liked and recommend.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insights into the amazing story of Amazon,
Reads like a thriller at times and full of interesting bits about how Amazon became the behemoth it is today. Must read for anyone interested in the digital world!
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating,
A brilliant tour of the Amazon story and founder, Jeff Bezos - probably the best CEO in technology today. Looking forward to the sequel in 10 years, as Amazon's best years may still be ahead.
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and interesting, but doesn't really explain why Amazon was the online book firm that took off,
Grab an armful of business leadership books from your nearest bookshop and look through them for advice on how to treat staff. I doubt you'll find any of them encouraging business leaders to humiliate their colleagues in public more frequently.
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating,
Interesting background on how Amazon grew from a small book operation in Jeff Bezos' garage to become the world's biggest online retailer. Many of the company's principles still hold true today.
An easy must-read for anyone interested in business and / or retail.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read,
This is One of the best books I have read and I would recommend this to all entrepreneurs or people starting up a business.
4.0 out of 5 stars Yep, they covered everything,
A little hard to follow at times - which year are we in again? The book nonetheless does a good job of capturing the energy and ambition of Jeff Bezos and how he projected this relentlessness onto his company.
5.0 out of 5 stars Really readable,
This is a fantastic insight into Amazon and the owner Jeff Bezos. Although the book is repetitive and quite harsh, it is a great read into both the leader and the company he built. I have a lot of respect for Bezos after reading this story..!
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The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone (Audio CD - 15 Oct 2013)