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on 27 January 2017
Long but worthwhile read on a man we all :) ave an opinion of. Am I a satisfied customer - yes 😀
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on 27 September 2017
Fast paced, occasionally overflourished read on the history of Amazon. It has almost everything, based on what aplears to be an impressive backstage pass
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on 2 July 2017
I found this book to be a very honest and balanced history of the company and its founder. As an Amazon Prime customer, the customer first focus described in this book, is one that I recognize.
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on 1 March 2015
This is an amazing book and I could not put it down. It was very well written and was at times, quite funny. I mean, Jeff's "nutters", are priceless.
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on 21 August 2015
Amazon is becoming so big and so present in our day to day lives that this book end up a must read. The way Amazon grew over the years is incredible and far from conventional, following some tough lessons learned from other stores and new ones created by Jeff Bezos. Have a good read!
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on 13 February 2017
A good, quick read that doesn't fall into the trap of reading history backwards or reviewing the company too positively.
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on 24 October 2017
Just read it
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#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 October 2013
This book is the story of Jeff Bezos and Amazon, from the perspective of a journalist who had plenty of access to employees and ex-employees as well as Jeff Bezos himself. The author makes clear both the faults and the successes of Bezos and Amazon, but limits the book's scope in some ways. While hinting at the devastation caused to traditional shopping (by Apple's iPod as well as Amazon's Kindle and other products), there isn't a lot of discussion here. Fair enough, as there will surely be other books about how Apple, Amazon and others have devastated local communities.

The author also says very little about Amazon's operations outside the USA, although I found it interesting that the reason Amazon haven't yet set up in Russia (the biggest economy still without an Amazon website) is because the infrastructure is inadequate just now. Perhaps that means South Korea will be next, though it doesn't get a mention.

Even within the main story of Amazon.com, a lot is omitted, one effect of which is the simplistic assertion that Amazon serves customers superbly while squeezing suppliers ruthlessly and expecting employees to devote themselves to Amazon without any regard for a work / family life balance. I have heard bits and pieces over the years about the way Amazon treat their employees, all of it reinforced by this book and then some. As for the author's distinction between customers and suppliers, that overlooks the fact that some customers have voluntarily contributed content to Amazon's website in the form of reviews, Listmanias, "So you'd like to ...." guides, tags, customer images and other stuff. The author occasionally mentions reviews in passing (listed in the index under customer reviews), but very few other software features are mentioned. Associates get a mention, as does Mechanical Turk (in its case, far more space than it deserves).

Customers who have contributed such content know that Amazon's attitude towards any problems or complaints about reviews, etc. is, for the most part, far less enthusiastic than their attitude regarding any problems or complaints about orders. Occasionally, a customer may get a fantastic response to a problem or complaint about reviews, etc., but this is a comparative rarity. What Amazon seem unable to understand is that some people who have felt badly treated because of problems with reviews or other content have stopped buying from Amazon altogether. These quitters obviously don't show up in Amazon's metrics that the author sometimes mentions, but they have made themselves heard on forums and blogs. I haven't quit, nor will I, but I am only one customer - and I am addicted to reviewing. Very few customers are as addicted as I am.

The author discusses third-party sellers originally via Auctions, then z Shops, then finally putting the option to buy from third parties in the main "Buy" box. Amazon's 1-Click option also gets discussed, but there was and is so much more to Amazon's software than this book covers.

The author is much more interested in Amazon Web Services and Amazon Kindle, both of which get plenty of coverage, along with Amazon's battles with Google, eBay and Apple. These are not things that especially concern me (yet), but I expected them to be discussed and they are interesting.

Amazon's quest to become an everything store carries dangers that the author does not mention. I remember that when Woolworth UK went bust, it was reported that the problem was that it lacked focus. In other words, it was a victim of the very diversity that had made it successful originally. Amazon's retailing diversity is already far greater than any brick-and-mortar retailer ever was, and it has also branched into other areas such as Amazon Web Services and Amazon Kindle, with the likelihood of more to come. The internet world is still young and none of us can predict the future, but it will be interesting.

My first impressions of Amazon were very positive, but over the years I have learned to be more critical. This book reinforces my misgivings. Despite Amazon's diverse product range, I prefer to buy locally where possible even if the price is a little higher (it's sometimes lower). The devastation caused by Apple, Amazon and others is clear for all to see, and while acknowledging that my reviews may contribute, I know that some other customers also use Amazon reviews but sometimes buy locally.

I have been hoping for many years that a customer would write a book about Amazon from the perspective of a reviewer or other contributor of content. So far, no such book has been written, but I have a feeling that 2014 may be that year.

So this book is fantastic in so many ways in describing Amazon's history from a business perspective, and also plenty of information about Jeff Bezos, even mentioning his e-mail address. I won't be using that again, although I used to use it occasionally a few years ago. When I last mentioned it on a forum, my post was replaced by the message "Deleted by Amazon".

Meanwhile, although this book misses out a lot, it is brilliant at those aspects that it covers. For anybody who is interested in the history of Amazon and Jeff Bezos, this book is well worth reading.
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on 20 August 2015
Read this book while I was working at Amazon and it was a perfect introduction to the company culture and ethos. Although not entirely aligned with the experience I had, learning more about how it grew and the conviction to put customers first made me better understand the startup and innovative culture in the company. While some parts were portrayed Bezos as an unscrupulous businessman and boss, squeezing everyone in the supply chain and Amazon internally to keep prices low, it is honestly that brutal competitiveness that has allowed consumers to achieve the level of value and service quality that is demanded industry-wide today.

I highly recommend this book for any entrepreneur or business person looking to formulate strategies to launch innovative products and differentiate their company from the rest. Amazon has transformed commerce in this age, and regardless of the good or bad that this has brought, it is definitely worth a look to better understand what has made it into the company it is today.
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on 5 March 2016
not a guide but adv
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