I just finished The Everything Store, the history of Amazon.com by Brad Stone (@bradstone). I pre-ordered the book around 6 weeks ago when I heard Brad Stone moderate a panel discussion on the future of retailing at a GeekWire event in Seattle.
Stone asked interesting and thought-provoking questions of the panelists. I thought his book on Amazon might be an interesting topic given the company’s role in creating the internet experience we all have today. I didn’t think reading the book would be the “popular thing to do.” I don’t do a good job of following the herd.
Well, the book certainly didn’t disappoint. There was plenty of information on Jeff Bezos’ single-minded focus on the customer experience as he established and lead Amazon from the garage roots to the corporate leadership role it has today. A number of stories weren’t flattering of Bezos; he seems to have a bit of a temper and uses and leaves by the wayside both employees and corporate partners.
Still, the book also has a number of asides showing the amazing vision Bezos had in leading Amazon while also growing as a person. While I’m certainly happy that I never worked at Amazon, I’m equally certain that we’d have a much less vibrant and impactful internet if Bezos hadn’t been the leader of Amazon. And I don’t think that would have made us better.
Back to my comment on reading this book being the “popular thing to do.” When I started this article, the book was #59 on Amazon’s list of best sellers. As I’m finishing, the book is now #57. As I’ve said, I enjoyed the book. But how much of the bump is due to Bezos’ wife MacKenzie and former Amazon executive Rick Dalzell panning the book on the Amazon website because of technical inaccuracies. They point to incorrect dates, or missing information to call into validity everything in the book. Interestingly, Dalzell still gave the book 3 stars out of 5.
Personally, I didn’t read the book expecting it to be the definitive guide to Amazon.com. There’s a lot more left to write in that story. I wanted to experience the flavor of the man and the company he’s lead into such a position of prominence. In that, the book was very successful.
You can find the Kindle version of the book The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon