Author Topic: THE AMAZON BOOK  (Read 982 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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THE AMAZON BOOK
« on: October 30, 2013, 05:05:53 am »
The Amazon Book
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Bob Lefsetz <bob@lefsetz.com>
3:09 PM (13 hours ago)

to me
I'm only twenty percent in (yes, I'm reading it on a Kindle), but I can't recommend it heartily enough.

Because first and foremost it's readable. Content is not king if you can't understand it, if you're not called to it in the middle of the night. If someone doesn't want to hear your record when they can't, it's not a hit.

It starts at the beginning, Bezos's education. It was alternative. Stimulating gifted students to challenge preconceptions and think for themselves. I'll posit our educational system is America's Achilles heel, along with the veneration of empty suits like Kim Kardashian instead of teachers and knowledge workers who contribute, because we treat school as a sentence as opposed to inspiration. Sure, you've got to do the hard work, memorize the multiplication tables and get up to speed on grammar, but it's when you learn to analyze and think for yourself, when you see information is a building block, that you truly become inspired by learning. Blame teachers, blame parents, blame the government focusing on statistics, but until school stops being a sentence, this country is in trouble. But not for the elite. Which is pulling away from the middle and lower classes so fast that our country is turning into a self-perpetuating have and have-not system from the get-go. You can't make it at a good college if you didn't go to a good high school, or most probably prep school.

And Bezos went to Princeton. And worked at a hedge fund. And then struck off in search of riches in the newfound landscape of the Internet.

And made a ton of mistakes. Not initially, but once he gained headway. He bought one loser company after another, he built warehouses he had to close. He was on a learning curve, making it up as he went. Because...

"It's easier to invent the future than to predict it."

Alan Key

How cool is that, how accurate is that. That's why industries/businesses fall by the wayside. They hire people to tell them what's going to happen instead of creating it themselves. And anybody can have an idea, but can you execute?

Then there's "the narrative fallacy."

"The narrative fallacy, Bezos explained, was a term coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his 2007 book 'The Black Swan' to describe how humans are biologically inclined to turn complex realities into soothing but simplified stories. Taleb argued that the limitations of the human brain resulted in our species' tendency to squeeze unrelated facts and events into cause-and-effect equations and then convert them into easily understandable narratives. These stories, Taleb wrote, shield humanity from the true randomness of the world, the chaos of human experience, and, to some extent, the unnerving element of luck that plays into all successes and failures."

In other words, if you're looking for answers, don't. Donald Trump may have had success. So many famous people writing books did too. But if you think you can glean a path from their story you're wrong. Because not only are there hidden factors, like Trump's rich real estate father, but most businesses are misadventures, made up on the fly, adjusting when hitting blind corners, with the intelligence and perseverance of the progenitor the only common thread.

And when you get to the pinnacle of business, you experience bullying far greater than that on the playground. Barnes & Noble tried to intimidate Amazon. But once the playing field has changed, newbies are more nimble. It happens all the time in music, young acts are hungry and break the paradigm while old acts so busy cleaning up on the road and living a heady lifestyle are pushed aside.

But this is the story of our time. Amazon dominates in a way no musician can. Illustrating that publicity and fame are overrated. Because there's not a person alive who wouldn't rather run Amazon than be Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus. Rich and powerful people have no problem getting laid, they always fly private, and they're not dependent upon the hit single.

Well, maybe Apple is. Apple needs another hit.

But Walter Isaacson's "Steve Jobs" book is no match for Brad Stone's Amazon one. Because you can tell he's excited by the story. You're deposited deep in the jungle, figuring it all out as he does. How this wily pipsqueak built an empire that nearly collapsed but is playing for all the marbles.

It's a story better than the "Fantastic Four."

How people worked on both Saturday and Sunday, and Bezos refused to offer bus passes because he didn't want people leaving work for a ride.

It's exciting.

And brutal.

It's not entertainment, where everybody's overpaid and overspends.

It's hard fought nickel by nickel warfare.

As a result, no one lasts long.

Except the company. The company endures. Because unlike the titans of today's music industry, there's not a personal ethos wherein ripping off the enterprise is de rigueur, but a can-do spirit wherein the captain has something to prove, and won't give up until he achieves his goal.

Read it.

"The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon: http://amzn.to/1cpoCes

Read an excerpt here: http://buswk.co/18PINgR

P.S. One more quote:

"Naturally, some of the reviews were negative. In speeches, Bezos later recalled getting an angry letter from an executive at a book publisher implying that Bezos didn't understand that his business was to sell books, not trash them. 'We saw it very differently,' Bezos said. 'When I read that letter, I thought, we don't make money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions.'"

In a world where every record is good, every movie a hit, the customer is left out. He's baffled by this tsunami of hype, and unable to make a decision, frequently opts out. People want information. They want aid in figuring it out. He who helps wins.