This guide has the flawed title, stated John Arlidge in The Sunday Times. It isn’t actually about Amazon; its focus is squarely on Jeff Bezos, and “every little thing the corporate’s founder has executed that has made him the richest man in historical past”, price some $190bn.
Having charted Amazon’s rise in an earlier guide (2013’s The The whole lot Retailer), Brad Stone right here compellingly describes Bezos’s proliferating pursuits over the previous decade, from his rising obsession with area journey (which he sees as the answer to the Earth’s environmental disaster) to his conquest of cloud computing.
Among the particulars are “astonishing”. We get the lowdown on Bezos’s $40bn divorce from his spouse MacKenzie in 2019, and his subsequent battle with the Nationwide Enquirer over the journal’s risk to publish his “dick pix”. All of it provides as much as a “improbable portrait”, even when some readers will really feel that it “skates too rapidly over Amazon’s failings”.
There’s little question that Bezos is a “good and visionary entrepreneur”, stated James Bloodworth in The Times. However his takeover of on-line retailing has come at a heavy value. Because of Amazon’s rise, “lots of people have been crushed” – from the unbiased booksellers killed off in its early years to the third-party retailers allowed onto its platform, solely to search out themselves dealing with wreck when Amazon launched variations of their merchandise.
If Bezos is ruthless in his dealings with rivals, he isn’t “a lot kinder to these he employs”. Amazon executives could also be used to their boss’s “blasts of annoyance”, however much less excusable are the notoriously laborious working circumstances on the firm’s “fulfilment centres”. One US examine of 23 Amazon warehouses “discovered that severe accidents had been reported at a fee of greater than double the nationwide common for the warehousing trade”.
Stone might need severely investigated such points, had he not been so in awe of his topic’s wealth-creating powers, stated Simon English within the London Evening Standard. Whereas he praises Bezos’s “huge biceps”, he geese out of answering a query he himself poses: “Is the world higher off with Amazon in it?”
Truly, Stone will get the steadiness broadly proper, stated Andrew Hill within the Financial Times. He attracts consideration to Bezos’s “Bond villain” qualities and his legendary “depth”, whereas additionally giving loads of examples of his administration strategies – similar to his “insistence on two-pizza groups (sufficiently small to be fed by two pizzas)”. This guide supplies “loads of gas” for these searching for to emulate Amazon’s success, “even on a small scale”.
Simon & Schuster 496pp £20; The Week Bookshop £15.99
The Week Bookshop
To order this title or some other guide in print, go to theweekbookshop.co.uk, or communicate to a bookseller on 020-3176 3835. Opening occasions: Monday to Saturday 9am-5.30pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.