The Everything Store

by Brad Stone

The Everything Store is everything you want to know about Jeff Bezos and the age of Amazon. 

Oh, how I appreciate this book! Brad Stone, veteran business writer and long-time follower of Bezos and Amazon, delivers a carefully crafted, honest, and enlightening volume. Stone shows us Bezos the brilliant and belligerent. He reveals the tech/retail entrepreneur as the master of long-term thinking even as he unveils the emotional meltdowns and berating that accompany his demanding leadership style. 

If you think The Everything Store only concerns the birth and spectacular growth of the online giant, you think incorrectly. Stone's work highlights the power of technology, the collaborative potential of extremely smart people, the perils and rewards of long-term thinking, and particularly the payoff that accompany Jeff Bezos unrelenting will to "raise the bar across industries, and around the world, for what it means to be customer focused." 

5 takeaways from The Everything Store:
Read the book. I think you will be intrigued with "Jeff Bots," the birth of Kindle, evolving metrics, Prime, "think weeks," parental influence, the power of books, gut calls, the mistakes of Kodak and Borders, as well as single-minded focus. In addition to all that, here are five takeaways:

1. The power of disruptive ideas for those who harness them. Bezos saw the potential of the internet long before others, and harnessed it as others ignored it. Within his company, his "six-page narrative" approach was a game-changer as a disruptive idea within business. 

2. Every leader is a limited edition of one. Okay, this isn't new but reading how Stone describes Bezos as one many would call "micromanaging" realizes that for him -- and for Amazon -- it works. Bezos empowers, but he sure expects empowered people to deliver -- his way.

3. How much failure he endured on the way to "success." I am cataloging all the Bezos failures on the way to his laser-focused goal of building Amazon. Wow! And he never let it deter him from relentlessly pursuing his dream.

4. How to handle criticism directed to others. Buy the book for the chapter 5, "Rocket Boy." Stone chronicles Bezos quest for space travel. How Jeff Bezos handled criticism directed to NASA was spectacular. Criticize him for how he handles some of his employees, but give him a gold star for this letter. Spectacular.

5. Patience and long-term thinking. Amazon is the story of one really smart, really determined guy who surrounded himself with multitudes of really smart, really determined people who focused, gambled, and won -- in large part -- by taking the long view.