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Publisher's Summary

This program includes a preface read by the authors.

Working Backwards is an insider's breakdown of Amazon's approach to culture, leadership, and best practices from two longtime, top-level Amazon executives.

Colin started at Amazon in 1998; Bill joined in 1999. In Working Backwards, these two long-serving Amazon executives reveal and codify the principles and practices that drive the success of one of the most extraordinary companies the world has ever known. With 27 years of Amazon experience between them, much of it in the early aughts - a period of unmatched innovation that brought products and services including Kindle, Amazon Prime, Amazon Studios, and Amazon Web Services to life - Bryar and Carr offer unprecedented access to the Amazon way as it was refined, articulated, and proven to be repeatable, scalable, and adaptable.

With keen analysis and practical steps for applying it at your own company - no matter the size - the authors illuminate how Amazon’s 14 leadership principles inform decision-making at all levels and reveal how the company’s culture has been defined by four characteristics: customer obsession, long-term thinking, eagerness to invent, and operational excellence. Bryar and Carr explain the set of ground-level practices that ensure these are translated into action and flow through all aspects of the business.

Working Backwards is a practical guidebook and a corporate narrative, filled with the authors’ in-the-room recollections of what “Being Amazonian” is like and how it has affected their personal and professional lives. They demonstrate that success on Amazon’s scale is not achieved by the genius of any single leader, but rather through commitment to and execution of a set of well-defined, rigorously executed principles and practices - shared here for the very first time. 

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Colin Bryar and Bill Carr (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

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What listeners say about Working Backwards

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Look elsewhere to learn about Amazon.

The book started strong with the bios and leadership principles. There are some informative chapters such as the narrative and PR chapters but throughout the book there is a pompous tone. This book is the epitome of your colleague taking all the credit saying they did all the work instead of saying we. Lots of boasting and unnecessary details on promotions, titles, and personal successes etc. The Everything Store is a better Amazon 101 book.

1 person found this helpful

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Very good business book

This book is very good and you should read it/listen to it if you are looking for insights regarding new product introduction and unique hiring practices. There is no arguing with Amazon’s successes and so hearing about how they introduced some of the most successful product lines is incredibly interesting.

But, not all books can be 5 stars. This one is just below the best business books I’ve read.

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Interesting to hear from insiders

The book has a serious structure to the content with plenty of examples of how the organization built it's culture and created an amazing business. While that was interesting, I was disappointed the authors were not more courageous in giving their opinion on the current state of the business in terms of creating a somewhat challenging environment for employees. They took credit for it's creation, and not the responsibility for it's impact.

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great book with great insights

I truly fascinating dive into what makes Amazon the incredible performer that it is over such a long time horizon

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worth reading

I liked a lot of what was shared, but it also made it obvious why Amazon can sometimes be disorganized and not communicate well, but from a software and innovation perspective, it worked well for them with some cost in logistics, but overall they are a solid company. Some of this was really tooting their own horn. That part you can ignore.

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Unexceptional book about the truly exceptional company

Now that I finished the book, I can’t wait to go back and reread it. It’s filled with so much great information not only about Amazon but about how it’s success principles can be applied to others, but I don’t want to miss a thing. This is easily one of the best business books I’ve read in the past few years, and I’ve read quite a few!

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Enjoyed every second of this book...

As a long time Amazon admirer, getting this detailed and well written/read summary of their corporate culture, and some of their biggest successes was fascinating indeed.

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Informative and stories that can be implemented

As a small business owner, I wasn't sure if stories and secrets from one of the largest and most successful companies could be implemented into my business. But I was tuned in and listening closely from the start. I was constantly writing notes and going back to certain sections listening again to make sure I understood completely what they said worked, and what didn't work for them. There are so many secrets and tips that any size business could incorporate into their operation...both short and long term. It's easy to follow along and gives great perspectives from two people who experienced some principles that Amazon still uses these days.

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A template for success

This is one of the amazing book I listened to. Articulated with such conviction that while listening one is forced to evaluate their own role in organization and leadership.
Relentless focus on customer is said very often but in corporate way but this books gives you guiding principles. It is applicable at every level you are at.

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Bible for decoding Amazon’s repeated success

I’ve read a bunch of books on Amazon (everything store, invent & wander) and this book gets to the soul of why Amazon continues to out innovate its competitors. The focus on a few of its breakout successes (Digital, Prime and AWS) provides the listener with depth through a few examples. Must read for anyone who wants to help his/her business get better.