The Man Who Has Everything
A look at Jeff Bezos’s relentless drive to master all phases of Web commerce
The Everything Store:
Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
by Brad Stone
Little, Brown and Company
$28.00 List Price
The Everything Store, Brad Stone’s reverential biography of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, isn’t a book you should feel obliged to read. It doesn’t bristle with character development, narrative arc, or unexpected lessons. To be sure, Stone, a tech correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek, gamely plays up minor dramas and speed bumps that studded Amazon’s path: the stock price dipping and soaring; sagas of hiring and firing; battles over how to phrase direct-marketing e-mails or whether to offer free shipping. But we all know where that path is heading: world domination. Almost two decades after its fledgling, janky website went live, Amazon is now one of the most formidable corporations out there, clearing more than $60 billion in sales in 2012.
It is both depressing and unsettling to read a book about the absolute triumph of a man who cares about nothing but winning, and that’s what The Everything Store is. Stone offers surprisingly few insights into his protagonist’s personality beyond a relentless drive to crush all competition and the single-minded fulfillment of this aim once it’s repurposed into a company-wide mission. (Relentless, it turns out, is one of Bezos’s favorite words; go to www.relentless.com and you’ll be redirected to Amazon’s home- page.) By the end of Stone’s code-to-riches story, Bezos has become the twelfth-richest man alive, worth an estimated $25 billion. In addition to properties in New York City, Beverly Hills, and Aspen, and a twenty-nine-thousand-square-foot lakefront mansion outside Seattle, Bezos owns a ranch in Texas more than one-third the size
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