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The Everything Store

Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
Written by: Brad Stone
Narrated by: Pete Larkin
Length: 13 hrs
4.5 out of 5 stars (282 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Business/Educational, 2014

The definitive story of Amazon.com, one of the most successful companies in the world, and of its driven, brilliant founder, Jeff Bezos.

Amazon.com started off delivering books through the mail. But its visionary founder, Jeff Bezos, wasn't content with being a bookseller. He wanted Amazon to become the everything store, offering limitless selection and seductive convenience at disruptively low prices. To do so, he developed a corporate culture of relentless ambition and secrecy that's never been cracked. Until now.

Brad Stone enjoyed unprecedented access to current and former Amazon employees and Bezos family members, giving listeners the first in-depth, fly-on-the-wall account of life at Amazon. Compared to tech's other elite innovators - Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg - Bezos is a private man. But he stands out for his restless pursuit of new markets, leading Amazon into risky new ventures like the Kindle and cloud computing, and transforming retail in the same way Henry Ford revolutionized manufacturing.

The Everything Store will be the revealing, definitive biography of the company that placed one of the first and largest bets on the Internet and forever changed the way we shop and read.

©2013 Brad Stone (P)2013 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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highly recommended

loved it. was good hearing what I assume to be honest insights into such a large and sophisticated company and industry.

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Great story of the Amazon empire

Detailed reflection of Jeff Bezos and the rise of Amazon from the viewpoint of a journalist.

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Not as detailed as you'd hope.

I thought there's be more insights into the inner functioning of the company. There's a fair amount of information but everything is mostly surface.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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great book

was very informative and easy to listen to. great book!!

I will listen to it again.

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a nice brief introduction to the company Amazon

Pretty interesting story. spend money to make more money is the way to go. want to also know the workers' experiences at amazon.

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Fabulous story about someone I knew little about

Amazing story about 1 individual who decided to make a difference. And was able to accomplish it. Dreams do come true. in Jeff's case, it took a little more than pixie dust. But he never wavered. Customer experience number one. Of course a lot of bodies littered that road to the ultimate everything store. But as he said in one of his commencement speeches. We are our decisions.

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Inspiring and eye opening

Vision, drive, and an absolute passion for a solution to a problem. These are key behaviours that I will take away from this book.

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Way too dated to be relevant

It is more like a history book right now. So much has happened since 2014 that this book misses out on.

Get it if you want to get some history, but find a better book if you want something more relevant.

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Not Your Typical Business CEO Biography

This book gives you the behind-the-scenes first-hand recount of Jeff Bezo's as the crazy and ingenious tech billionaire. From inside jokes about his laugh to legendary stories about him ripping on poor performers, this story paints a picture of Bezos you just would not expect. Definitely worth the read! #Audible1

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Amazing book about the creation of Amazon

The book was narrated wonderfully with the narrator bringing the story to life. It really provides an inside look into the world of Amazon and CEO's jeff Bezos’s entrepreneurial mindset. The book had several wonderful tips for business to grow … however, a great tip in the book is to always be on the look out for other business new competitive innovative ideas and adapt those ideas if possible to your current business strategy. A great formula for always keeping current and consistently fresh in such a competitive market. Great listen from #Audible1 !!!

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  • Paul
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 2014-01-29

Loved the honesty!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes - tells the story behind a great American company in the context of the past 20 years. Seems to portray Bezos' strengths and weaknesses without exaggeration. Inspiring and frightening.

What does Pete Larkin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Pete disappears in the telling. An easy voice to listen to.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No - but enjoyed it piece by piece!

Any additional comments?

Great story. Starts well and ends well. Comprenhensive!

34 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • Shawn S.
  • 2017-06-29

Very inspiring!

Great book. Very inspiring. The only thing that was a bit challenging was the author kept going back-and-forth through time as he weaved the story. Other than that, excellent book!

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • julie
  • 2013-11-03

an insiders view of the evolution of amazon

Would you try another book from Brad Stone and/or Pete Larkin?

certainly i would, it was well researched

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

perhaps it is because Mr. Bezos prefers to remain an enigma, but it would have been a more enjoyable book if we learned more about Mr. Bezos.

What three words best describe Pete Larkin’s voice?

very well paced

Do you think The Everything Store needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

it needs a follow up book, based on Jeff Bezos, and not so much the company itself.

Any additional comments?

The early television ads set forth by Amazon.com, came at a time when many of us could not grasp what this company would become, and come to offer us. Mr. Bezos' ideas were a decade ahead of what anyone else could envision, and after reading this book, you'll come to understand how a visionary thinks and how their accomplishments can bring the rest of us up to their speed. Truly an interesting read, just to see how the company faced it struggles, and persevered with true grit to become king of the hill. It takes you through more of an understanding of the organizational behavioral strategies it faced and how it continued to reinvent itself. A very good read for someone interested in this uniquely positioned tech/ consumer goods company.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • South Gate, CA, United States
  • 2013-10-20

Amazon? More like amazing

This is a great book. I did enjoy it and will listen to it more than once. It's nice to see the inner workings of a giant machine such as Amazon and what makes it tick. This book gives you the perspective of more than just the high level execs and more insight and the driving power of one of the most accomplished business men in our generation.

Overall great book. I have already recommended it to multiple people.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • jamesh-lantern-media
  • Scotch Plains, NJ
  • 2015-03-17

One of my favorite books - you should read it...

I loved The Everything Store... I learned so much about Amazon and Jeff Bezos that was interesting... I loved the research that Mr Stone put in talking to the people around Jeff Bezos, yet it wasn't an autobiography so you got the "warts and all" version... It was just a well-told story on all fronts...

Going in, I had no idea of the warrior mentality at Amazon caused by Mr. Bezos. Jeff Bezos was one of the jerkiest people around, but damned if he weren't one of the smartest and ambitious people ever to walk the planet. I still don't know if I love or hate the guy, but I have complete respect for him... He is up there with Steve Jobs as a person who changed the world...

While I was doing the audiobook version on my commute into work, I would be telling people around me what cool or arrogant thing Jeff did during my commute time reading... And more than one person picked up the book afterwards.

Great book - you should read it

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 2013-12-19

Bezos a man with a vision

I must admit that over the years I find myself shopping at Amazon more and more. At first it was just to find a hard to find book. The first time I used Amazon was in the early 1990s I was mad because I had been to a number of books store, chain and independent, and was treated rudely as if it was too much trouble to try to find what I wanted. I contacted Amazon after not finding what I was looking for on their list and what a surprise the person was so polite and helpful and in two days called me back after finding the book and shipped it to me right away. That customer experience made me an Amazon fan. I read this book to discover more about Amazon’s founder. I had recently read biographies on Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Steve Jobs. I did note in reading these books all of them had things in common such as total focus on their goal, not afraid to fail, ruthless with competitors and workers as well as problems with dealing with people. The beginning of the book Brad Stone covers the early life of Jeff Bezos and was complimentary but as the book progressed stone seem to concentrate on the negative factors. I found the fact that Bezos thought in the long term and worked for long term goals for the company refreshing, I have found too many companies planning does not go past the next quarter. I can attest to the fact the company is customer oriented. I noted that Bezos only had a one hour visit with the author about the book but did give him access to Amazon staff. I thought it interesting that Bezos asked Stone how he was going to deal with the “narrative fallacy” in writing the book. This theory was first proposed in 2007 by epistemologist Namin Nicholas Taleb in his book “The Black Swan”. The theory says humans use narrative to turn complex realities into soothing but oversimplified stories. In other words people have to find a rational explanation for something that appears inexplicable rather than trying to accept that things happen for an entirely random reason. Stone goes step by step showing how Amazon grew from a low margin book retailer into a technology company that provides basic computer infrastructure such as storage, and computing power to other companies, a book publisher and e-book reader manufacturer, reseller of many items and to streaming videos. I was surprised to learn that Amazon also owns Zappos and Goodreads. I knew they owned a company I use a lot, Audible. It will be interesting to read another book about Bezos in about 20 years or so. Peter Larkin did a good job narrating the story.

37 of 44 people found this review helpful

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  • Mario
  • 2014-04-22

Liked the information in the book

What did you love best about The Everything Store?

I liked this book, didn't love it, but should be expected since it's an overview of the company and actual events. Author did a good job of stringing everything together to explain what happened in real time.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, it got a little boring toward the end so I had to listen in spurts to get done with it.

Any additional comments?

Good book that should be read for anyone working in tech or for a large company. Much of the way Amazon is being run and the attitudes are being integrated into other companies so it's a good explanation of why things seem to be shifting in the way people run their businesses.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • K.
  • 2013-11-15

Jeff Bezos is a superman

Would you try another book from Brad Stone and/or Pete Larkin?

I realize that Jeff Bezos is a uniquely talented individual with unmatched list of accomplishments. I also realize that Jeff Bezos is very private person and does not reveal his struggles to outside world.

Problem with the book is that Jeff Bezos is presented as a comics superman character. Even Ayn Rand's hypothetical business titans had more emotions and struggles than Jeff Bezos in this book.

It seems there only 3 emotional states for him:
- cold calculating machine, who can school math PhD's on why their algorithms would not work
- wrath expressed in a vein on a forehead, which happens the moment an employee said something less than a genius. Usually happens right before he "bites his head off" or makes someone a "second asshole".
- diabolical laugh.
I would love to see Marvell's take on it.

I'm also concerned about the way story describes early days of amazon. It seems that all it took is some code to build a first version of a web site.
As long as you have a website and you can send a link to a few friends, you "purchase announcement" bell will start ringing.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Shamu from New York
  • New York
  • 2013-12-07

Did you know how bad it is to work for Amazon?

I love Amazon. Seriously. Amazon has improved my life. As a parent of young children, I spend no time driving to stores for diapers, I can shop late at night, I can get things cheap.

Little did I know the "price of cheap." In order for Amazon to deliver the best prices, they've seemingly done almost everything on such a slim margin, you almost feel guilty as a customer for what is happening for their employees. From the Fulfillment Centers to the executive offices, everything is about being cheap and frugal to the point it's a bit disturbing how little I was aware of it : No air conditioning in a hot summer warehouse (although they would have an ambulance on hand for employees who suffer heat stroke) - Execs traveling in economy - sawhorse door desks - no free parking for employees - a boss that expects you to have no work/life balance - no unions... it goes on...

I do appreciate how Jeff Bezos behaves as an agent of the consumer, fighting for the benefit of the consumer, but all the cheap stories made me feel like asking Jeff to not fight so hard, to just lay off and get his employees some air conditioning. It's like you call the police to arrest a guy who's stolen your car, only to have the police come and proceed to bludgeon the burglar to within inches of his life in front of your eyes. That's how it felt at times.

This book does do a good job presenting the most successful .com retail company and charting the roots of its success, it serves as a role model for anybody seeking to understand the world of internet retailing through the lens of the biggest, baddest, internet retailer out there right now.

49 of 60 people found this review helpful

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  • Brock
  • Poulsbo, WA
  • 2013-10-16

An amazing company with an amazing story!

I was very eager to get my hands on this book, and it definitely did not disappoint. It was only 18 years ago that Amazon began selling books online, at a time when there were so many doubters. Jeff Bezos was unfazed by the skepticism he faced, as many execs of other companies told him the limitations of selling exclusively online would drammatically limit their potential. I know they weren't the first company to sell online, but Amazon definitely represents one of the pioneers in this industry. I remember Amazon's huge run-up in their early stock prices, and marvelling at the insane amounts of money being bet on a company that had not even been close to making a profit. Then in 2001, when the bottom fell out of all the tech-stock speculation, it looked like they would never survive, but they did, and went on to amazing heights. This book thoroughly covers Amazon's journey from their inception to the present day.

The Everything Store was incredibly well researched, with over 300 interviews conducted. The story is a great one, of how they broke into online sales with books, and wouldn't stop pushing the limits until they were the online sales leaders in every market possible. Stone does a perfect job of telling the story from start to finish. It never slows down or gets boring. I can't recommend this book strongly enough.

28 of 34 people found this review helpful