Sarah Gilbert selected some of the hottest business topics for today’s youth in her newest additions to the sixteen-title, nonfiction series, Built for Success. Each book in this bright, visually appealing series takes one world-renowned corporation and documents its history, starting with the idea people who were determined to see their vision come to light. The books follow the same simple format: five chapters, all ending with a short section that features an interesting story behind the company, a glossary, a selected bibliography, and an index. The chapters are written in an engaging narrative style. Jeff Bezos may have started Amazon.com in his garage, but today this bookseller has diversified into an online department store and an electronic-reader developer. A big focus in this title is the problems a company faces when trying to keep up with its rapid growth. The subject of business is often a dry one, yet Gilbert provides engaging narratives. The four newest books in the Built for Success series keep to the same consistency of topic, style, and presentation of the earlier works. The books avoid the popular, but misleading, “rags to riches” overtone that usually accompanies business stories. Some readers will struggle with the narrative approach to the books, preferring titles that break up the chapters into smaller chunks for easier skimming; however, the bright, well-chosen photos, appropriate length, and captivating narrative will attract students and teachers in business, consumer economics, and current world issues classes. (Built For Success) Ages 11 to 18.
- Sylvia Firth
Modern companies of the digital age are changing the way the world operates. Certainly Amazon.com is one of them. Launched in the Seattle, Washington area in 1995 by Jeff Bezos, the company began as an online bookstore. Success came quickly, but that also brought many problems. The most troubling was their financing and a need for large warehouse space. Fortunately, new investors enabled continued expansion and by 2000, Amazon.com became the online shopping source for almost any product a consumer anywhere in the world wished to purchase. More troubles, as well as more achievements, developed. Selling more than fifty-five million copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in 2003 contributed greatly to the company's profitability. All information is presented clearly and honestly. A bibliography, glossary, and index are included. Sharp, clear, colored photographs add much to the book's appeal, but the mixture of type sizes and design is distracting. The black pages containing small gold print are difficult to read. If other books in this series, "Built for Success," are in demand by teachers and students, then this title could be considered for purchase. Reviewer: Sylvia Firth