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The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age…

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (2013)

by Brad Stone

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A great book that tells the story of amazon. Assuming everything inside the book is true. ( )
  kicker27 | Jun 27, 2018 |
Jeff Bezos is every bit as revolutionary a figure as Steve Jobs. While acknowledging that any history of Amazon is bound to be skewed by the choice of interviewees, the basic chronology and fundamental choices made are clearly presented. Even a reader knowledgable about merchandising will find gems here about the power of always insisting on customer service above profit on each individual transaction. As a heavy Amazon buyer, individual seller, and Amazon Prime member, I've been quite happy with my own treatment by Amazon. I pay fees to sell and will renew as a Prime member because Amazon offers a great value and convenience.

But Amazon has not been reluctant to use its size and marketing channel to pressure suppliers. Amazon's frugality may benefit the consumer but at what cost to competitors? And at what cost to employees such as those who work without air conditioning in some fulfillment centers? Absolutely fascinating book that the NY Society for Ethical Culture will be discussing precisely because of such issues on April 7, 2014. Is Amazon becoming the online WalMart? Their pay levels don't put its employees on food stamps but still....

Amazon has obviously not reached its peak and continues to innovate. This book offers an intriguing peek at why and how the company works. Definitely a good read for those interested in how successful businesses operate. ( )
  abycats | May 11, 2018 |
The guy who wants to sell you everything. I spotted this when it first came out and thought I'd get around to it eventually. But when word of the Amazon/Hatchette feud, along with this book being unavailable on Amazon.com came out, I decided it was worth bumping up my "to read" list.
And yes, it is definitely worth the read. It's not at all surprising to see Amazon the way it is when you look at the founder, Jeff Bezos, and the story behind it. The book doesn't delve into Bezos' life that much--it's really about Amazon.com, from it's origins to growth to knocking out the competition and expanding to what customers want.
Starting up as a little start up (with its founders and original employees meeting at Barnes & Noble of all places), we watch the store begin to grow from a simple book seller to so much more. While some of the details (Bezos' Wall Street career, some of the details about Amazon's financial numbers) are not interesting, Stone manages to weave it all into a story that flows well.
First publishers see Amazon.com as an answer to their prayers from the monsters that is Barnes and Noble, Borders and soon places like Wal-Mart, Overstock.com, etc. These companies don't really see Amazon.com as a competitor. But boy, does that ever change. Eventually the beast grows and mutates into something none of them could ever imagine. And soon enough Amazon.com begins slaughtering its competition or at least being able to do damage to them. Publishers begin see Amazon.com as a threat. Wal-Mart, Target, etc., all realize Amazon is no longer a little bookstore. Places like Borders bleed too much, can't evolve and die. Zappos.com puts up a fight and eventually sells itself to the beast.
Bezos can be ruthless, as the Zappos story shows. He was willing to pay a certain amount for the company, but the founders wanted to remain independent. So began a war of will and attrition. Interestingly enough, Stone says that while Zappos put up a good fight to a sort of draw (Amazon pays a lot to eventually defeat Zappos and ends up paying a LOT more than Bezos wanted), Amazon eventually wins.
Bezos also doesn't seem to believe in the work life balance or work perks. The text discusses how employee attrition was pretty high, despite Amazon perfectly willing to make it VERY difficult for an employee to leave (suing them if they work for a competitor, for example). While things like free parking and meals (like Google) seem the norm, they apparently were (are?) not at Amazon. A few people are discussed leaving because they want to spend more time with their children/Amazon.com's schedule is not conducive for seeing their families. If we think about the controversy over their treatment of their warehouse employees, it's not surprising that it's a trickle down effect (although I suppose it's somewhat surprising that this appears company-wide, rather than just the low-skilled workforce).
Overall it was a fascinating read about the store, although frustrating too. There's a part of me that didn't want to know--why should I support someone who clearly doesn't care? I realize this is business and there are costs, but I must say, this was a good backgrounder for the negative news stories about the company. But I also have Amazon Prime and have to acknowledge that it really makes things so much easier (especially as I don't have a car) and Amazon.com is very good at providing almost everything that I need (as well as selling items that are not readily available where I am).
Definitely would recommend it, as it's a fascinating read. One thing I felt was missing was that I could have sworn Amazon used to have a search function to search restaurant menus--but that disappeared and I don't know what it was for. The book doesn't seem to mention it (it didn't last all that long) and I was curious if it became one of those food delivery sites out on the web.
Either way, pick this up if you have any interest in Amazon.com ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
Good and sometimes unnecessarily detailed book about Bezos and the rise of Amazon.

Because it's so granular it gives a good understanding of how Bezos came up leveraging the internet to create the best online retail experience for consumers. Relentlessly honest and focused on results, he's a genius that leveraged infrastructure to create one of the best online businesses in existence.

Would love to read a more condensed biography of Bezos to get a better understanding of him as a person. Felt like I missed the thread here. ( )
  shakazul | Jul 3, 2017 |
Even though the author (long time business writer/journalist) includes details of Jeff Bezos' life, & his growing up years, etc. this is really the story of the birth & maturation of his "baby" -Amazon, the "everything store." Really illuminates the farsight Bezos had about the power of the internet but even more the ways he could stretch the 20th century idea of "store" and "business" into a 21st century Amazon - fascinating read. Doesn't pull any punches about the downside of working for Bezos or working at Amazon - ugh. Gotta be the hardest jobs in the world. ( )
  BDartnall | May 9, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316239909, Hardcover)

The definitive story of Amazon.com, one of the most successful companies in the world, and of its driven, brilliant founder, Jeff Bezos.

Amazon.com started off delivering books through the mail. But its visionary founder, Jeff Bezos, wasn't content with being a bookseller. He wanted Amazon to become the everything store, offering limitless selection and seductive convenience at disruptively low prices. To do so, he developed a corporate culture of relentless ambition and secrecy that's never been cracked. Until now. Brad Stone enjoyed unprecedented access to current and former Amazon employees and Bezos family members, giving readers the first in-depth, fly-on-the-wall account of life at Amazon. Compared to tech's other elite innovators--Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg--Bezos is a private man. But he stands out for his restless pursuit of new markets, leading Amazon into risky new ventures like the Kindle and cloud computing, and transforming retail in the same way Henry Ford revolutionized manufacturing.

THE EVERYTHING STORE will be the revealing, definitive biography of the company that placed one of the first and largest bets on the Internet and forever changed the way we shop and read.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:42 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The first fly-on-the-wall narrative account of the world's largest online retailer and its genius creator, Jeff Bezos.

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