Read Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot.Com Juggernaut by James Marcus Online

amazonia-five-years-at-the-epicenter-of-the-dot-com-juggernaut

Employee #55's story of the first five years of Amazon.com, which "brims with fascinating Amazoniana." (The Los Angeles Times)In a book that Ian Frazier has called, "a fascinating and sometimes hair-raising morality tale from deep inside the Internet boom," James Marcus, hired by Amazon.com in 1996, when the company was so small his e-mail address could be [email protected] #55's story of the first five years of Amazon.com, which "brims with fascinating Amazoniana." (The Los Angeles Times)In a book that Ian Frazier has called, "a fascinating and sometimes hair-raising morality tale from deep inside the Internet boom," James Marcus, hired by Amazon.com in 1996, when the company was so small his e-mail address could be [email protected], looks back a decade later at the ecstatic rise, dramatic fall, and remarkable comeback of the consummate symbol of late 1990s America.Observing "how it was to be in the right place (Seattle) at the right time (the 90s)" (Chicago Reader), Marcus offers a ringside seat on everything from his first interview with Jeff Bezos to the company's bizarre, Nordic-style retreats, creating what Jonathan Raban calls "an utterly beguiling book." For this first paperback edition, Marcus has added a new afterword with further reflections on his Amazon experience.In the tradition of the most noteworthy and entertaining memoirs of recent years, Marcus offers us a modern-day fable, "a clear-eyed, first-person account, rife with digressions on the larger cultural meaning throughout" (Henry Alford, Newsday)....

Title : Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot.Com Juggernaut
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781595580245
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 278 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot.Com Juggernaut Reviews

  • Ashley
    2018-12-27 02:13

    "Amazonia" is part memoir amd part insider look at the early days of Amazon.com. Marcus, employee #55, takes his reader through the start-up phase of the company, to the soaring stock prices and subsequent splits, all the way through the tech bubble bust. I found the information on Amazon the most fascinating; as a devoted Amazonian myself, I really liked learning more about the company's younger years and transformations that took place (when I was still in middle school and thus unaware) that made it the site I love today. I did find the author's position a bit frustrating though. He wanted to share how his wealth fluctuated with the soaring and crashing stock prices and his thoughts on the company. Inevitably, the reader was given a glimpse into his personal life. Moreso in the beginning when the author and his wife were struggling with bills, borrowing money from friends, and living with family - as the story progressed, though, there was a noticeable pullback on the more personal details. You infer that he and his wife end up separating and he does flat out state that they eventually get divorced (though this was done in an annoying roundabout way as well). I don't begrudge Marcus his privacy, but you can't really write a book that's part memoir and not share some of the more personal, if painful, details. This left Marcus feeling a bit distant, which affected the story, in my opinion. In a lot of ways, it felt like you were straddling a fence the whole time - on the one side, you know all these personal details about the author (his fluctuating wealth, his fears and frustrations) but on the other side, you can feel that he's holding back. And that kept from making a true connection with the author and his story; he didn't have to lay it all out there, but I think some personal details were needed to truly bridge the two aims I think the author was going for. On the whole, an interesting read. But read it for the content about Amazon, not the author.

  • Peter
    2019-01-14 08:22

    This book offer's an insiders peak to the rise and fall of Amazon during the dotcom boom years. It details the author's rise from a broke father, to a multi-millionare all the way back down with the rise and fall of Amazon's stock price. What was most interesting to me was, that while this book was about Amazon as a company, I expected it to be much more focused on the company instead it was 65% the company and 35% the author's personal life and involvement with the company. I guess I was thinking it was written by an outsider in the typical investigative journalism sense.With the exception of one chapter that goes off on some literary rant (I think the author probably wanted to write a 'real' book, but knew one about Amazon would sell, so he snuck in this insightful chapter to show off his chops) about Emerson and communes and blah, blah... Sorry, I like my non-elist simplistic view of the world, and when I buy a book about Amazon the company I really don't want to read 30 pages about whatever he was talking about (I would probably be able to explain it better had I not nearly fallen asleep at least 10 times in that brief period)Bitching done, now for the real story. The author was one of the early employees (#55 to be exact), which put him in a very unique position. At the time he was hired, Jeff and by association Amazon, had put a high value on editorial reviews and showing off Amazon's book smarts. The author, being very well read and quite an avid fan of reading was at the top of the world. However, over time and as the MBA's poured in, the author details how those original values deteriorated as the company moved towards a more automated system.In some ways, I can relate to what the author is saying, in many others I think he took things to personally and did miss some important business benefits of the new ways business was being done. As an example, he chronicles how a new automated system was being tested to take control of the front page from him, and had it not been for the fact that his superiors took Harry Potter out of his score, while subsequently leaving it in the automated systems score, he would have beaten the machine in total sales (I think I saw that episode of the office not too long ago). To me, his whining is unjustified, from a business perspective, what would you rather have:A: A single employee who likely has hit or miss results (After all he competed with the system with his 'best' picks), who like all humans is fallible but may occasionally be modestly better and offer a 'personal' touch (IE: sneaking in recommendations for obscure literary texts that appeal to him and 5 other people and that make Amazon appear to have literary merit (but consequently no actual money))Or B: An automated system that can track your customer's recent purchases, and compare those to other people who bought the same books and continually offer them recommendations on new purchases. While not perfect, the system, unlike the human can regularly analyze, test and improve its recommendations and eventually incorporate various levels of personalization down to the individual shopper offering a unique personalized experience for each user. True, it may not expand the reader's vocab of true literature, but I'm sure (as I sure the goal is) it likely expands Amazon's revenue quite nicely.I know as a user of Amazon, I *much* prefer the automated system that shows me new books of a similar taste to recent ones that I've purchased, as opposed to some obscure title, that I'm sure will 'expand my horizons' but, as the same time, will bore me to death.In short, I liked it, I didn't love it, it was interesting, but I was hoping for more business insight, but what I got was a personal complaint about being replaced by a computer.

  • Chris Arndt
    2018-12-30 08:14

    Ok... I'm in this book. Chap 2 and 3. Chris...:)

  • Dogg724
    2018-12-27 03:00

    This almost more of a memoir than a look into Amazon. Marcus applies a dedicated memory to a start-up that goes a hundred different directions before it looks like the Amazon today. Parts are a little funny, you get the idea that many people were expected to work with many things they barely understood. You get confirmation about some of Jeff Bezos's quirks or management style. It's like your spouse unwinding after a long day if that day lasted 5 years.To be honest, I picked it up without any expectations. Because it is just an account of his time there, it's a pretty easy read and you don't have to devote too much brain power. It was a nice book to read between thicker material. The information in and of itself isn't so much "useful" as it may be slightly interesting if you want a peek into start-ups. This happens to be one of THE start-ups, but you won't get insider knowledge on how to structure your new world-encompassing business or anything.There isn't much else to say. It's straightforwardly written and isn't anything more than a personal tale.

  • Drake Tungsten
    2018-12-22 04:09

    I liked this book. It was a good inside view of how Amazon operated and grew.I must admit that it brought back memories of my own experiences during the dot-com boom. During a similar timeframe (about four years), I saw gameplans change frequently and before I left saw the generalist, non-tech people like myself replaced by the techno-elite. These phenomena seem to have been more widespread than I realized at the time.The author does go off on some diversions here and there during the story, but for the most part I was able to get a feel for what it was like to have worked at Amazon during that time.I would recommend this book to others. The writing and language makes it very easy to get thru quickly.

  • Kathrina
    2019-01-14 04:18

    Oh, my big mouth loves to lead me into projects larger than they need to be. Why, why do I complicate my life?! I'm in a class called "Search and Discovery", which sounds like we go spelunking every week, or dig for buried treasure, or compete in World of Warcraft quests, but is actually a rather anti-climactic exercise in culling digital and physical resources for information. Our first assignment is to research an "information producer", from which we were to pick from a list, and investigate how they make their information accessible and relevant to specific users. Straightforward enough. And yet, I just finished this incredible criticism of popular literature culture (Bring on the Books for Everybody: How Literary Culture Became Popular Culture, which I cannot recommend highly enough), and considerable attention was paid to the Amazon phenomenon as a cultural force in lit culture. Firstly, Amazon was the first retail, for-profit online institution that employed a full staff of editors tasked with creating content (producing information) intended to help customers make informed purchasing decisions, and at the same time create an online environment with an atmosphere of informed book reverence (call it snootiness)that encouraged a feeling of intellectual community. As Amazon staked a claim and further defined their online character, the obsession with content fell away, and the trend towards personalization took hold. Customer reviews gained credulity over "professional" reviews, automated preference matchers (If you liked blank, you'll also like blank), and cross-media packages that customers "like" as a sense of personality expression rather than simply product purchase -- all functions with nary an authorial human influence in sight -- became the marketing tools of preference. So Amazon became an information producer twice over, now as an online reference for discovering "your" community -- what media products define you, what are you looking for that you didn't even know you were looking for, that makes you the kind of cultural participant you think you are?Hearing the Amazon.com story from an early participant, who watched this evolution occur, even to his horror, as he was certainly a main factor in the early drive to be the (snooty) intellectual influence that directed the masses rather than served them, Marcus learns the painful lessons of retail -- if you're going to "get big fast" you'll have to leave your opinions of quality at the door, and sell what people want to buy. This is a conflict I've felt for 14 years myself in bookselling at Amazon's archrival -- and I've learned and am still learning how the book market is driven by emotional interaction with a text (the Oprah effect)and community identity rather than academic appreciation of writerly skill or highbrow sensibilities. So now I've committed myself to writing a paper on Amazon.com as "information producer"; Amazon wasn't on the list until I raised my hand. After reading this memoir, I'm grateful to acknowledge the feat can be done, as this is exactly the conflict Marcus faced, in the beginning, as a human content producer, and at the end of his tenure, as an obsolete human, sidelined by automated bots that fashion information through metrics and numbers and faceless phrases spat into the ether by anyman. If I have any gripe with this book, it is 1.) Marcus is such an egghead that I got lost in some of his metaphors and wink-wink asides; is he unwilling to write specifics, or unable to? 2.) and then what?! It's been 8 years and Amazon.com is still going strong. Has anyone filled the gap since then? Amazon grew so fast, with new initiatives on a sometimes weekly basis, that surely there are more evolutions to investigate. Who's writing on it now? I guess this is an opportunity for more Search and Discovery...

  • Louis
    2018-12-20 05:15

    “Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot.Com Juggernaut.” This book is part “my life at Amazon” and part memoir by the author James Marcus who was the 55th hire there. Last year I had read “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon” by Brad Stone and really enjoyed it. So in picking up this book from a library book sale I was excited to read another facet of the story from someone who was inside from the early years. At the time of being hired the author is married and struggling financially. So he takes a job at Amazon as one of the editors. At that time Amazon only sold books and the editors wrote up much of the descriptions and reviews of the books. This was long before reader comments. The book recounts the sudden rise and subsequent fall of Amazon from 1996 to 2001. Of course Amazon did survive after this and that is touched on in an afterwards. Overall I was disappointed in this book. I think my issue is summed up in a conversation with a Wall Street Analyst that is included in the book. The author is asked: You talk about these events as though they’re just happening around you. To what extent is that a literary device, and to what extent was there really a kind of inner cabal at the company, from which almost everybody else was excluded?The author answers with:…I think it’s also an accurate reflection of what it was like at Amazon. As I said before, we at the bookstore tended to feel resentful, because even though we were still generating more than half the revenue,… we were left to fend for ourselves. We weren’t told about things….I was hoping by being written by one of the earlier employees that it would take me closer to the action. It’s sad to think that even in those early days there were already a group of outsiders. The author does a nice job talking about the effect on him as an observer to all this. How Amazon would jump into and out of new areas, from the early days of being asked to work at the warehouse to get packages out during the holidays to the experiments with autobots to generate the content he and his peers were creating. Amazon's continual push building a culture of metrics. Everything will be measured... which can become quite bizarre with MBAs at the helm.But along with being an observer at the company and just reacting, the same occurs in the memoir portion. We never get to see his life. He mentions he is married and farther in the book a sentence is tossed out that his marriage is in trouble and another few chapters, oh and he’s now divorced. Ah, okay. Why mention that the book is part memoir when you really don’t give any focus to it?I worked in a company that at one time had over 300K employees. I know the feeling of being a cog. It’s interesting that the 55th employee can experience the same. In that regards I do appreciate the honesty of the book and the glimpse inside. This is what occurred to him, and I’m glad he shared it. I just wish I could now read a book from maybe an employee that was among the first 15, someone in the inner cabal? And someone who is willing to open up and shine a light on themselves and tell us his/her story.

  • Tom
    2018-12-19 03:03

    I just finished reading this great memoir written by James Marcus, which details the 5 years he spent working for Amazon.com from 1996-2001. The book is a great read, as James clearly knows many more words than I do, and uses them all cleverly to describe the sights, sounds and spirit of early Amazon. From there, he talks about the amazing phenomena of watching Amazon grow to manage 1% of all book sales, the perceived threat of Barnes & Noble, payola for home page book placements, and the decline towards the end of his tenure, where certain ventures Amazonian didn't quite turn out.I felt as though I was sitting next to him as he watched the influx of the MBA's, when he recounted the growing pains of the Amazon auction site. A few passages:On MBA's and the jargon (p130):Perhaps the first sign that the wind had shifted was the mad profusion of jargon. Sure, you had always heard the odd bit of economic Esperanto: the price of an item was its price point, and the tasks you needed to accomplish were deliverables. The copy we editors so diligently produced was verbage, a corruption of the already insulting verbiage. The more common burn rate indicated the wads of cash we were spending. These phrases at least had the advantage of simplicity. But now entire sentences had to be translated back into English. Pulling on revenue levers meant making more money. If we leveraged our verbage correctly, the division would soon reach an inflection point (translation: we would make more money). The main thing in any case was to monetize those eyeballs. Yes, that last operation had a surrealistic ring to it - it suggested a visit to Salvador Dali's optician - but it actually referred to making the most of our enormous customer base.On the cracks in the early Amazon auction algorithms (p181):Let's say you wanted to buy a copy of Peter Gay's Mozart. In a prominent spot on the detail page, you found links to several related auctions. Alas, the composer's quill pen and peruke were not up for sale. Instead you were invited to bid on a silver pendant in the shape of penis. If that didn't tickle your fancy, there was also a collection of old magazines, with titles like Thrust, Blueboy, and Cummin Up. The third item seemed to be a jar of lubricant. There was, I confess, a certain thrill to solving these mysteries. In this case we had the author's surname to thank. It was some time before I could bring myself to look at the detail page for Moby-Dick.All in all, it is a great read. I was particularly drawn to the depiction of founder Jeff Bezos. Also, I have had the distinct pleasure over the past year working directly with James at AOL, and while James was working at Amazon.com, I was working at the Evil Empire, also known as Barnes & Noble. Small world, eh?

  • Jesse
    2019-01-12 09:19

    There's probably a great cultural history to be written about the role of Seattle, 1988-2004 or so. Consider: Microsoft, Starbucks, grunge, Amazon.com--the tech frontier, the cultural frontier, and then their containment/assimilation into the suburbanization of the nation. Taylor Clarke's dumb-ass Starbucked (maybe 50 pages of good material, drowning in bad jokes, repeated tropes about 4-dollar coffee, and restatements of his main thesis: much like a famous chain's big lattes, come to think of it) doesn't get there. Michael Azerrad's Come As You Are covers the rock scene well, and I would bet his indie-band survey does too. You could call it...I dunno, Even Flow or an unfamous Nirvana lyric, or, to be properly indie, some obscure lyric from a Mother Love Bone song, so people in the know could get that whole warm feeling of being hip once more. (Knowing the degree of hipster cred available, I get like a C+: I know of MLB and know their lead singer OD'd before they got big and a bunch of the other guys then formed Pearl Jam, but don't know any MLB songs, much less lyrics.) Which is not at all Marcus's problem. Written more in sorrow than in anger, it's about how he moved from edge-of-poverty desperation (multiple credit cards maxed out, ratty car) to I-coyly-won't-say-how-much money from being employee 8 at Amazon (but less than you think, apparently: reminds me of a friend who worked at AskJeeves after grad school and was a millionaire for 10 minutes when it went public). He really thinks Amazon can be a force for good in the lit world (keeps quoting Emerson to suggest how) and keeps pushing to promote good stuff, but commercial exigencies shove that to the side, and then automatized reviews and recommendations take over, and the poor guy ends up with not much of a job. Amazon creator Jeff Bezos comes off as a pretty decent guy, and there aren't too many absurdist tales; in fact, he's not too good at it--the one composite character whose villainy we're supposed to boo comes off as a fairly typical managerial type. (Also, cameo by one of the Mom's of my son's classmate in preschool, which is somehow slightly reassuring. Don't really know her, but she seems cool. Wonder if she knows any Mother Love Bone lyrics?) As a story of dotcom excess, it's pretty restrained. But as a serious-minded tale of the literary life now, useful, and not as scary as I might have feared.

  • Lucas
    2019-01-15 07:22

    The book is called a memoir, but throughout the book the author vacillates on how much of his personal life to inject into the narrative and I would have preferred either none at all or something much more honest and forthcoming. Instead we get two sentences about the separation and divorce from his wife and another about getting involved with someone else who is pointedly not located in Seattle (perhaps to deflect speculation on workplace romance), but he has nothing to say on the bearing of this on his work at Amazon or vice versa. Even along purely professional lines it's not clear what the author did after quitting and moving back to New York other than writing this book.The literary background and ambitions of the author are occasionally obvious and irritating, what could be said more plainly is instead tortured into the obscure and metaphorical/poetical. But I would have liked to see more deriving from his love for books- he mentions plenty of titles and author names in the context of trying to promote them through Amazon but nothing about their content. But there is a single section on Ralph Waldo Emerson that integrate well with the rest of the book.The quality of the laughter of Jeff Bezos is mentioned many times, along with a few embarassing/humanizing anecdotes about him from company recreational outings. Blue Origin is mentioned not by name but as a 'space initiative' Bezos was spending money on along with investing a great deal in Segway.

  • DW
    2019-01-13 03:07

    This book was was an easy and interesting read (except for the chapter about Emerson). I knew that Amazon started as an online bookseller, but I didn't know that they even employed editors at the beginning to handpick featured books and write book reviews. (The editors were outmoded before I started using the site myself). I liked the stories about him having to handle customer phone calls and pack books in the warehouse during the early days of the company.The book feels uneven because the author spends so much time at the beginning of the book talking about his family life and giving details of his financial instability, but then he says gives no details about his failing marriage. He should have just kept all the family details to the minimum. He includes those details because wants to establish himself as a regular Joe, but the unequal treatment makes the book amateurish.The author is understandably upset by the automation that takes over his job designing the homepage and picking books to feature. And I'm sure I would be insulted too if my job was outsourced to the general public, the way Amazon's customer reviews have taken over editors reviews. But as a customer of Amazon, I think it is clear that the company did the right thing by going in the data-driven direction.

  • Andrea
    2018-12-30 05:03

    This was a highly readable, and really interesting look at both the book business, and the growth of an incredibly profitable company. Jeff Bezos undeniably moved Amazon.com from a small start-up in his garage to a massively profitable company with thousands of employees, how? Marcus joined Amazon in its early years, and although he didn't really work directly with Bezos he definitely seems to capture the feeling in the company's early years. It's a heady combination of insider/outsider, the feeling of being part of something bigger, of being part of something both exciting and new, and the faith he and his coworkers had in their leader with his visionary ideas and practical talents. It takes a candid look at the problems as well, the growing bureaucratization and efforts to quantify everything in terms of dollars and cents. It is also a fascinating look at the trial and error aspect of business, what they bought and tried to sell, what worked and didn't work. And throughout a humorous and reflective evocation of what it means to work in the corporate environment when you have stronger loves then that of turning a profit.

  • Deirdre
    2019-01-10 02:58

    An interesting account of the rise and fall and rise and fall and rise of Amazon from a small company to a huge juggernaut of a store, the triumph of accountants over the book people and the triumph of Jeff Bezos' vision of an online book marketplace that has moved away from books and diversified.James Marcus spent five years, starting quite early in the company's story, with amazon and he details a lot of what happened from his point of view. It's interesting and you can see some of the pangs of regret as his job takes over his life and his life suffers.I was an early adopter of amazon and remember early days of shopping there but some of what he is proud of and remembers from then really didn't filter through all that well to my level. A shame really, but then again it was an interesting thing to watch from the outside then and interesting for me to watch from the inside now, looking back. Where amazon is going to go is anyone's guess but it has certainly carved a niche for itself in the world of books.

  • Ronald Wise
    2018-12-20 01:53

    The memories of an Amazon.com employee during the incredible growth of the company from 1996 to 2001. Of particular relevance to me is that the author was living near me on Queen Anne Hill and working near me in downtown Seattle at the time. He shared many of my perceptions then — from the incredible wealth flowing into Seattle, to our experiences of the Nisqually Quake in February 2001. His narrative saddened me to again realize the missed opportunites for almost instant wealth that surrounded me at that time. I learned of this book through an interview with Marcus (30 June 2004) on KUOW's The Beat.

  • Peebee
    2018-12-28 03:10

    Confession: I didn't read this book all at once...my ebook library checkout expired when I was in the middle of it and it took several weeks to get the book back...but even still, there was a lot of name dropping without that much substance. The cast of characters just wasn't that interesting, aside from Jeff Bezos (but we knew that already). I found it hard to remember who everyone was, much less care about their fate. And all the events described in the book have been eclipsed by further technology development -- maybe they would have been more interesting had I read about them when the book first came out -- but it just all felt very dated to me.

  • Sarah Ewald
    2019-01-13 03:56

    Interesting take on the early years of Amazon.com, by employee #55. In the beginning, Bezos brought in literary people to review books and create buzz. It was with a personal touch that emails went out to customers of the literary-bent. This was before today's computer-generated emails that think that just because you like one author's book, you will want the next ad-infinium. It must have been a great place to work in those early days... Then came the MBA's and the personal touch went downhill. It became all about numbers... Marcus created a great book that I enjoyed reading. I loved his wry sense of humor.

  • Stephanie Walden
    2018-12-23 04:22

    I find it pretty entertaining that I'm rating a book that generally talks about an Amazon book editor's fall from glory due to the general public's input...Interesting to learn about how the company changed and grew in Seattle over the years. Although I'm definitely a fan of Amazon, hearing about how the company is so dead-set on always finding more ways to get the public to buy more - thereby making more money for Amazon - doesn't make me happy. America's consumerism is a problem, and Amazon definitely doesn't seem to help people watch their wallets.

  • Tony
    2018-12-19 02:59

    Five stars for how much I enjoyed it, rather than how abstractly “good” I think it is. The quality of writing is substantially above that of most of these corporate memoirs — as might be expected from someone who was effectively Amazon.com's lead editor, responsible for the content of the homepage until the algorithms took over — but I'm not sure how much it would resonate for people who didn't live through that late '90s e-commerce world.

  • gargamelscat
    2018-12-21 04:04

    Well written pacy coverage of employee# 55's five years at Amazon. Though enjoyable it did feel as if it was written by an outsider looking in - no real insight into strategy and technology and the political battles that must have been waged during this tumultous time.So not a business-tech book then but well worth a read.

  • Deb
    2019-01-11 04:08

    I was hoping this would give facts about how Amazon made it to what it is today. Unfortunately, it was a book written by a past employee who I think tries to make jokes through-out the book but fails to be even mildly entertaining. It's basically about the authors 5 years of working there and not much knowledge is gained from his insights.

  • Mark
    2018-12-30 02:23

    Amazon is a fascinating company and this book was a very good read. Having read Isaacson's bio of Steve Jobs, I think I set my expectations too high for this book. I was hoping for even more access than Marcus provided which is a tad unfair. Fun read, would recommend to anyone remotely interested in Amazon or the dot.com bubble.

  • Andy
    2019-01-18 03:03

    Ok coverage of behind the scenes at Amazon during the early days. I was looking for an understanding of Amazon as a technology company but in fact this book provides more of an insight in to the role of classic editing and book reviewing inside the internet book seller. Well written but isn't quite what I expected

  • Patty
    2019-01-09 08:20

    I think I understand amazon.com a little better now after reading Marcus' book. His account of the early days of the company was interesting. It would have been an even more interesting book if he had been more open about his personal life to give the work more context but it was still an enjoyable read.

  • Susan
    2019-01-06 07:04

    This is a really interesting account of the 5 years that James Marcus spent as employee #55 at Amazon.Com. I've worked at startups and dot coms and I can see the headquarters of Amazon.Com out my living room window so possibly, I had a bit more interest in the topic than your average reader, but I think it has broad appeal.

  • Kathleen
    2018-12-31 05:22

    A really interesting look at what it was like to work at Amazon in the early days, written by a former employee. According to the book, a bell used to ring in the Amazon office each time a purchase was made. Ha!! And employees who are just waiting it out until their stock vests are called "resting and vesting."

  • valentina
    2019-01-09 04:15

    Normally I judge the language by the number of times I had to open the dictionary. This book crammed with phrases like "... a few additional chinks in Jeff's vaunted amiability..." surely bamboozled me a lot. But it's witty and made me discover "a few additional chinks" in the cult of Technology.

  • Marceline Smith
    2019-01-01 08:14

    Got this from Microcosm too as a) it was in the sale, b) I love Amazon and c) I love reading about inteweb startups. It’s not mind-blowing, but a nice look into the early days of Amazon and how it went from crazy geeks to corporate globalisation.

  • Felice Lam
    2018-12-22 07:01

    Interesting memoir from an early editor (employee #55) before the company became a huge success. Entertaining light read and amusing in some parts. Insightful for anyone interested in Amazon or for those who work(ed) there.

  • Ryan
    2019-01-18 03:22

    An okay book on the early days of Amazon. I didn't find it particularly engaging, but now having worked at Amazon for a couple of years, it was interesting to learn how Bezos interacted with employees like he was just a regular guy.

  • Ben Krueger
    2018-12-19 07:58

    Not as much inside info on the makings of Amazon the business, more by way of personal journey and autobiography of the author. I recommend Spector's book over this one.