Book Review: “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon” by Brad Stone

I listened to the audiobook in some random order for some reasons. This is the first time that happened. Don’t know why. In any case, I was confused by the sequence of event in this memoir. I had to go back to the hardcopy and reread the book.

This book is all about Jeff Bezos and the rise of his grand Everything Store, Amazon. You get to know a little of the history of Amazon and a little of this man Jeff Bezos, his working styles and visions for the company.

What gets me is that he was already pretty well off as an investment banker in a “quants” shop and he decided to quit it and start this company from scratch after catching the Internet fever. Very gutsy!

Something about Jeff Bezos
1. Jeff’s being passionate being customer-centric is admirable. However, convincing the investors to stay with him while he scaled the company up does take some persuasion and good sale job.

2. He flexed his muscle with strong tactics in driving his competitors into being bought at a bargain price when it most counts.

3. His biological father lost touch with him since young age and wasn’t reconnected until after he became famous. He had the same laugh as his father.

4. He burned out many of his early executives because of his hard driving management style and possibly the lack of stock appreciation in those days due to the dot com bust.

Interesting company cultures:
1. Being “cheap” and thrifty sets the tone of the company like Walmart.
2. Reading prose/write-up instead of listening to PowerPoint presentation in a meeting.

3. The interaction with eBay (trying to buy eBay) and Walmart (sold to Walmart) were possibilities that never yield fruits.

4. The Amabot replaced the editorial staff. Why do you need the editorial staff when you have all the customers do the work for you.

In handling the “narrative fallacy,” I believe the author did a pretty good job in presenting the material in the most objective way. The book is worth the read if you want to know what it takes to start a company and make it to a behemoth while facing continuous criticism from the Wall Street about profitability.
I got to know Jeff Bezos, this amazing person.

A fairly good read over all.