The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

A very well researched and no less well written book about Jeff Bezos, the founder and perennial CEO of amazon.com, that hit the virtual shelves of Amazon just recently, so it's very new and very fresh, an unsortmountable advantage for a business biography – so I hurried to devour it fast in both kindle and audible formats.
 
I never really followed the Amazon stock or story – no, I rather laughed at the sheer craziness of the people who invest in it (today it trades around 600x trailing 12m P/E) – but this book showed me that Bezos was and remains a true visionary behind his business. And I do love that business! Even here in Russia, a country where Amazon is not officially present, I am an avid fan of its products and services.
 
I needed not to go far to understand this – the opportunity, though sad, presented itself – I lost my kindle on a flight last week, amid reading this book, and it sure made me realize how fond I am of it – and iPad kindle app is a poor substitute – though audible.com, an Amazon company, which I re-discovered for myself a month or so ago, helped with a recording that is awesome.
 
In order not to bore my dear readers, I decided to put a short quote at the end of this review – an idea that I like a lot, and that I think is missing from our corporate world today – which is built on the premise that the opposite is holy.
 
Also, at the end of the book, there was the so called Jeff's Reading List, which is a list of a dozen of book recommendations from Bezos himself. Here's a great overview of it on Business Insider, have a look.
 
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At a management offsite in the late 1990s, a team of well-intentioned junior executives stood up before the company’s top brass and gave a presentation on a problem indigenous to all large organizations: the difficulty of coordinating far-flung divisions. The junior executives recommended a variety of different techniques to foster cross-group dialogue and afterward seemed proud of their own ingenuity. Then Jeff Bezos, his face red and the blood vessel in his forehead pulsing, spoke up.

“I understand what you’re saying, but you are completely wrong,” he said. “Communication is a sign of dysfunction. It means people aren’t working together in a close, organic way. We should be trying to figure out a way for teams to communicate less with each other, not more.”

That confrontation was widely remembered. “Jeff has these aha moments,” says David Risher. “All the blood in his entire body goes to his face. He’s incredibly passionate. If we was a table pounder, he would be pounding the table.”

At the meeting and in public speeches afterward, Bezos vowed to run Amazon with an emphasis on decentralization and independent decision-making. “A hierarchy isn’t responsive enough to change,” he said. “I’m still trying to get people to do occasionally what I ask. And if i was successful, maybe we wouldn’t have the right kind of company.”

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P.S. … and now I am thinking whether to write a short complaint to jeff@amazon.com as the whispernet wireless synch between the book and the audio didn't always work😉

 


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