Book review: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

The Everything StoreThe Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
by Brad Stone
Published by Little, Brown and Company (October 15, 2013)
Buy it at: Amazon

The best trivia

  • Amazon almost had a different name. In addition to Cadabra.com, Bezos considered MakeItSo.com, after Captain Picard’s command in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • The first book sold on Amazon? It’s tough to nail down, but it was probably Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, bought on April 3, 1995.
  • Amazon conducts meetings using six page narratives instead of PowerPoint presentations.

The ultimate big box lives online

If you’ve browsed Trivia Happy, you’ve seen book links that point to Amazon (thanks to a commission the site gets on each sale). That small example is just one sign of the retailer’s ubiquity.

A perfect companion to Bob Ortega’s book about Wal-MartThe Everything Store follows Amazon from its unlikely beginning to its massive, world-dominating success. Though the key players have groused a bit online (Bezos’ wife, MacKenzie Bezos, wrote an infamous one-star review of the book), most reviewers agree that this is an evenhanded portrait of a business that plays hardball, thinks big, and occasionally changes commerce.

Best for business geeks, you’ll get a feel for what Amazon and its industries are like on the inside. Though Stone didn’t have Bezos’ cooperation, he manages to find a lot of great sources and unearth a few scoops (including finding Bezos’ biological father, a feat the Amazon founder hadn’t even attempted).

What the book is

The Everything Store is a well-reported and balanced look at a giant of eCommerce.

What the book isn’t

You won’t find a lot of analysis concerning Amazon’s impact on the economy at large. This book, for the most part, stays inside company walls (a focus that’s evident in its many details). Also, if you’re looking for a screed for or against the retailer, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

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