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The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon | [Brad Stone]

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

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.
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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Business/Educational, 2014

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 listeners 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.

©2013 Brad Stone (P)2013 Hachette Audio

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  •  
    Brock DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain 10-16-13
    Brock DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain 10-16-13 Member Since 2012

    So much to learn, and so little time to sit down and read. Thanks Audible.

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    "An amazing company with an amazing story!"

    I was very eager to get my hands on this book, and it definitely did not disappoint. It was only 18 years ago that Amazon began selling books online, at a time when there were so many doubters. Jeff Bezos was unfazed by the skepticism he faced, as many execs of other companies told him the limitations of selling exclusively online would drammatically limit their potential. I know they weren't the first company to sell online, but Amazon definitely represents one of the pioneers in this industry. I remember Amazon's huge run-up in their early stock prices, and marvelling at the insane amounts of money being bet on a company that had not even been close to making a profit. Then in 2001, when the bottom fell out of all the tech-stock speculation, it looked like they would never survive, but they did, and went on to amazing heights. This book thoroughly covers Amazon's journey from their inception to the present day.

    The Everything Store was incredibly well researched, with over 300 interviews conducted. The story is a great one, of how they broke into online sales with books, and wouldn't stop pushing the limits until they were the online sales leaders in every market possible. Stone does a perfect job of telling the story from start to finish. It never slows down or gets boring. I can't recommend this book strongly enough.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 12-19-13
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 12-19-13 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

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    "Bezos a man with a vision"

    I must admit that over the years I find myself shopping at Amazon more and more. At first it was just to find a hard to find book. The first time I used Amazon was in the early 1990s I was mad because I had been to a number of books store, chain and independent, and was treated rudely as if it was too much trouble to try to find what I wanted. I contacted Amazon after not finding what I was looking for on their list and what a surprise the person was so polite and helpful and in two days called me back after finding the book and shipped it to me right away. That customer experience made me an Amazon fan. I read this book to discover more about Amazon’s founder. I had recently read biographies on Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Steve Jobs. I did note in reading these books all of them had things in common such as total focus on their goal, not afraid to fail, ruthless with competitors and workers as well as problems with dealing with people. The beginning of the book Brad Stone covers the early life of Jeff Bezos and was complimentary but as the book progressed stone seem to concentrate on the negative factors. I found the fact that Bezos thought in the long term and worked for long term goals for the company refreshing, I have found too many companies planning does not go past the next quarter. I can attest to the fact the company is customer oriented. I noted that Bezos only had a one hour visit with the author about the book but did give him access to Amazon staff. I thought it interesting that Bezos asked Stone how he was going to deal with the “narrative fallacy” in writing the book. This theory was first proposed in 2007 by epistemologist Namin Nicholas Taleb in his book “The Black Swan”. The theory says humans use narrative to turn complex realities into soothing but oversimplified stories. In other words people have to find a rational explanation for something that appears inexplicable rather than trying to accept that things happen for an entirely random reason. Stone goes step by step showing how Amazon grew from a low margin book retailer into a technology company that provides basic computer infrastructure such as storage, and computing power to other companies, a book publisher and e-book reader manufacturer, reseller of many items and to streaming videos. I was surprised to learn that Amazon also owns Zappos and Goodreads. I knew they owned a company I use a lot, Audible. It will be interesting to read another book about Bezos in about 20 years or so. Peter Larkin did a good job narrating the story.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael South Gate, CA, United States 10-20-13
    Michael South Gate, CA, United States 10-20-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Amazon? More like amazing"

    This is a great book. I did enjoy it and will listen to it more than once. It's nice to see the inner workings of a giant machine such as Amazon and what makes it tick. This book gives you the perspective of more than just the high level execs and more insight and the driving power of one of the most accomplished business men in our generation.

    Overall great book. I have already recommended it to multiple people.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    julie 11-03-13
    julie 11-03-13

    julie and the kids

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    "an insiders view of the evolution of amazon"
    Would you try another book from Brad Stone and/or Pete Larkin?

    certainly i would, it was well researched


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    perhaps it is because Mr. Bezos prefers to remain an enigma, but it would have been a more enjoyable book if we learned more about Mr. Bezos.


    What three words best describe Pete Larkin’s voice?

    very well paced


    Do you think The Everything Store needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    it needs a follow up book, based on Jeff Bezos, and not so much the company itself.


    Any additional comments?

    The early television ads set forth by Amazon.com, came at a time when many of us could not grasp what this company would become, and come to offer us. Mr. Bezos' ideas were a decade ahead of what anyone else could envision, and after reading this book, you'll come to understand how a visionary thinks and how their accomplishments can bring the rest of us up to their speed. Truly an interesting read, just to see how the company faced it struggles, and persevered with true grit to become king of the hill. It takes you through more of an understanding of the organizational behavioral strategies it faced and how it continued to reinvent itself. A very good read for someone interested in this uniquely positioned tech/ consumer goods company.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Seattle, WA, United States 01-29-14
    Paul Seattle, WA, United States 01-29-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Loved the honesty!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes - tells the story behind a great American company in the context of the past 20 years. Seems to portray Bezos' strengths and weaknesses without exaggeration. Inspiring and frightening.


    What does Pete Larkin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Pete disappears in the telling. An easy voice to listen to.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No - but enjoyed it piece by piece!


    Any additional comments?

    Great story. Starts well and ends well. Comprenhensive!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trish Virginia 07-02-14
    Trish Virginia 07-02-14 Member Since 2005

    I have always loved to read, and now I really enjoy listening to my books as well!!

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    "Very Interesting!!"

    Our family's first experience with Amazon.com was a disaster!! My son was excited he could order something for everyone online, have it wrapped and shipped to him ready for Christmas giving. It turned out to be a very frustrating experience, and I thought this company would NEVER make it! Of course, watching it subsequently take over the retail world, I just shook my head.

    So listening to this book was incredibly interesting to me. My first surprise was that our bad experience was five years into the company's existence--I would have guessed it was their first holiday season! And the fact that they didn't even have a profitable quarter for the first 6 1/2 years of existence, and still continued to operate (with shareholders by that time) is beyond comprehension. It's one thing for a small business to grow slowly, but this was never a small venture. It started with BIG ideas and admirable principals, and refused to budge just to show a profit.

    I found this story enjoyable to listen to. The narrator was excellent, and the book was thoroughly researched and very well written. My one tiny complaint is that sometimes the writing did not strictly follow a timeline--the time would jump a bit as the author followed a subject he was writing about, and as a listener, I had trouble keeping up with where we were in time. Minor issue for an otherwise excellent and interesting listening experience.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad St. Louis, MO 05-08-14
    Brad St. Louis, MO 05-08-14 Member Since 2006
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    "Fascinating and balanced"
    Any additional comments?

    This is a behind-the-scenes account of the growth of Amazon. The author covers the company in a balanced way, noting Jeff Bezos's fanatical focus on customer service even to the point of using bullying tactics towards competitors and treating employees poorly. I came away with a little more wariness towards making so many of my purchases at Amazon.com. A fascinating read, especially for those interested in business or technology.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mario 04-22-14
    Mario 04-22-14
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    "Liked the information in the book"
    What did you love best about The Everything Store?

    I liked this book, didn't love it, but should be expected since it's an overview of the company and actual events. Author did a good job of stringing everything together to explain what happened in real time.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, it got a little boring toward the end so I had to listen in spurts to get done with it.


    Any additional comments?

    Good book that should be read for anyone working in tech or for a large company. Much of the way Amazon is being run and the attitudes are being integrated into other companies so it's a good explanation of why things seem to be shifting in the way people run their businesses.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shamu from New York New York 12-07-13
    Shamu from New York New York 12-07-13 Member Since 2012

    Interests in Design/Engineering, Architecture, & History

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Did you know how bad it is to work for Amazon?"

    I love Amazon. Seriously. Amazon has improved my life. As a parent of young children, I spend no time driving to stores for diapers, I can shop late at night, I can get things cheap.

    Little did I know the "price of cheap." In order for Amazon to deliver the best prices, they've seemingly done almost everything on such a slim margin, you almost feel guilty as a customer for what is happening for their employees. From the Fulfillment Centers to the executive offices, everything is about being cheap and frugal to the point it's a bit disturbing how little I was aware of it : No air conditioning in a hot summer warehouse (although they would have an ambulance on hand for employees who suffer heat stroke) - Execs traveling in economy - sawhorse door desks - no free parking for employees - a boss that expects you to have no work/life balance - no unions... it goes on...

    I do appreciate how Jeff Bezos behaves as an agent of the consumer, fighting for the benefit of the consumer, but all the cheap stories made me feel like asking Jeff to not fight so hard, to just lay off and get his employees some air conditioning. It's like you call the police to arrest a guy who's stolen your car, only to have the police come and proceed to bludgeon the burglar to within inches of his life in front of your eyes. That's how it felt at times.

    This book does do a good job presenting the most successful .com retail company and charting the roots of its success, it serves as a role model for anybody seeking to understand the world of internet retailing through the lens of the biggest, baddest, internet retailer out there right now.

    10 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blaine Moore Maine 09-25-14
    Blaine Moore Maine 09-25-14
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    "Interesting Story About Amazon"
    What did you love best about The Everything Store?

    I enjoyed some of the early details about Amazon that I hadn't heard about before.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Sell Everything


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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