One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com

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Overview

Amazon's business model is deceptively simple: Make online shopping so easy and convenient that customers won't think twice. It can almost be summed up by the button on every page: "Buy now with one click."

Why has Amazon been so successful? Much of it has to do with Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder, whose unique combination of character traits and business strategy have driven Amazon to the top of the online retail world.

Richard Brandt charts ...

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One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com

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Overview

Amazon's business model is deceptively simple: Make online shopping so easy and convenient that customers won't think twice. It can almost be summed up by the button on every page: "Buy now with one click."

Why has Amazon been so successful? Much of it has to do with Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder, whose unique combination of character traits and business strategy have driven Amazon to the top of the online retail world.

Richard Brandt charts Bezos's rise from computer nerd to world- changing entrepreneur. His success can be credited to his forward-looking insights and ruthless business sense. Brandt explains:

  • Why Bezos decided to allow negative product reviews, correctly guessing that the earned trust would outweigh possible lost sales.
  • Why Amazon zealously guards some patents yet freely shares others.
  • Why Bezos called becoming profitable the "dumbest" thing they could do in 1997.
  • How Amazon.com became one of the only dotcoms to survive the bust of the early 2000s.
  • Where the company is headed next.

    Through interviews with Amazon employees, competitors, and observers, Brandt has deciphered how Bezos makes decisions. The story of Amazon's ongoing evolution is a case study in how to reinvent an entire industry, and one that anyone in business today ignores at their peril.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A cursory overview of the man behind Amazon.com. As any bibliophile knows, the birth of Amazon in the mid '90s represented both a blessing and a curse to everyone involved in the book industry, from authors and publishers to bookshops and readers. It was a blessing because more than 1 million titles, many rare and hard-to-find, were suddenly available to anyone with a modem and a credit card; a curse because man local mom-and-pop booksellers folded because they couldn't compete with the deep discounts and extremely customer-friendly policies Amazon offered. Whether readers view Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos as an entrepreneurial genius or a ruthless capitalist, there's no denying that Amazon has grown from a three-guys-in-a-garage operation to one of the most powerful and recognized e-commerce sites on the Internet. Brandt (The Google Guys, 2011, etc.), a reporter on all things Silicon Valley for the past 20-plus years, traces Amazon's sometimes-rocky ascent by interviewing past employees, mentors and competitors of the site. He also mines Bezos' speeches and interviews to determine the thought process of the man behind the empire. Unfortunately, the result is skeletal and unsatisfying, mainly because Brandt never actually interviewed Bezos directly. The source material is largely what Bezos has allowed into the public realm and seems carefully polished, much like the image of Amazon.com. Suffices as a bare-bones account of a highly successful startup but fails to deliver on the inner workings of a website that changed e-commerce forever.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591843757
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/27/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Richard L. Brandt is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about Silicon Valley for more than two decades. He is well known throughout the technology community as a former correspondent for BusinessWeek, where he won a National Magazine Award. He lives in San Francisco. Visit richardbrandt.com
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 2, 2011

    Readable Bio; Short on Analysis

    One Click is slightly tricky to review in that, it mostly succeeds in what the author set out to do (if not exactly what the jacket copy promises): delivering a quick, readable bio of businessman/computer wunderkind Jeff Bezos. Certainly the polymathic and influential Bezos is worthy of study. The guy is clearly a brilliant standout in at least two highly competitive arenas: business and computers. But from my vantage point, and I suspect for most readers, that's not enough--especially (ironically in light of the internet information explosion of which Amazon is at the vanguard. That is, basic information such as Amazon's corporate history and product developments are readily available on sites like Wikipedia (and by following Wikipedia links). In fairness to the author, he does cover considerably more ground than you can easily pick up online and he does weave the JB story into a well-flowing narrative, so I got value from the book. But he left so many stones unturned, I ended up feeling frustrated. Here's one that quickly and obviously comes to mind: Amazon is dominating the publishing business like no one has since the owner of the first printing press started operations. Obviously, that's a deliberately dramatic statement, but there are serious issues concerning Amazon's dominance of books, the lifeblood of intellectual culture. This is especially true in light of the rise of the Kindle and their new forays into publishing. Amazon has shown it will play hardball with publishers and vendors, though typically very subtly (such as removing "Buy" or "One-Click" purchase options) so as not to come off as a bully to the public. But will their overwhelming dominance allow them to act as outright censors or, more likely, subtle censors that direct customers to buy their books leaving other publishers struggling? Or I've read that they may publish books from prominent authors and not let them be sold on other websites. Bestselling author and lawyer Scott Turow, who is the president of the Author's Guild, has dubbed Amazon the Darth Vader of publishing and says they should be subject to anti-trust legislation [presumably Amazon let me quote Turow and not bury this review?]. I don't know enough about legal issues or monopolies to have an opinion about monopoly legislation, but it's certainly opens interesting questions to explore. But nada. There is no discussion on this topic. This lack of analysis applies pretty much across the board. Brandt doesn't examine whether Bezos's "sprint ahead; profit later" tactics are a viable approach for most businesses or only for those with a genius at the helm with access to lots of capital. I suspect many of Bezos' business strategies are uniquely suited to him, but it would have been nice to explored that issue or at least some similar kind of avenues. The list of unexplored questions could go on for quite a while, but you get the idea.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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