Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ‘Missionary or Mercenary?’, 12 Feb 2014
This review is from: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (Kindle Edition)
I’ve bought a lot of books from Amazon over the past sixteen years – many of the other lines of stock aren’t available for purchase from Australia, which has occasionally dismayed me. Still, whether I can purchase the Deluxe Librarian Action Figure or not, I’ve been amazed at the diversity of products that Amazon sells, and curious as well, about how Amazon has grown and diversified. So when I had an opportunity to read this book, I seized it with both hands.

‘Amazon may be the most beguiling company that ever existed, and it is just getting started. It is both missionary and mercenary, and throughout the history of business and other human affairs, that has always been a potent combination.’

It’s a very readable book even if it is true that, as Jeff Bezos’s wife MacKenzie Bezos states in her one star review, it contains ‘numerous factual errors’ and constitutes ‘ a lopsided and misleading portrait of the people and culture at Amazon’. Having read Ms Bezos’s review, I’d like to read another book (perhaps as yet unwritten) about Amazon that reflects what Ms Bezos would agree is an accurate portrayal. Why? Because Amazon is changing the way we buy stuff, and is changing the virtual world in ways that we could only dream of ten years ago.

This book is about Amazon. But because Amazon is largely synonymous with Jeff Bezos, it’s not possible to try to understand the company without knowing something about the man behind it. I learned something about where Jeff Bezos came from, something about what has motivated him to become such a successful entrepreneur and quite a lot about the growth of Amazon. Clearly, Jeff Bezos is a man with exceptional drive and focus with a capacity to envision a future and work towards delivering it. Clearly, too, timing has been critical: choosing the right ideas at the right time, with the right people (and access to sufficient funds) to implement the strategies chosen is part of the Amazon success story.

I enjoyed reading this book, in learning more about the company and its founder. Amazon’s success story continues, and it will be interesting to see where Amazon Web Services (AWS) takes Amazon next. Clearly – for Amazon - profitability is not the only way to measure success. Whether you like Amazon, or loathe it, see it as a desirable employer or not, agree that Brad Stone has written a good book or not, it’s worth reading about.

I wonder what will Amazon look like in 2030?

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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Location: ACT, Australia

Top Reviewer Ranking: 454