How Bezos became an asshole, and 7 other things we learned from ‘Amazon Unbound’

How Bezos became an asshole, and 7 other things we learned from 'Amazon Unbound'

Full disclosure: Brad Stone, author of the definitive books on Jeff Bezos’ company (The Everything Store, 2013, and its just-published sequel Amazon Unbound), is an old friend. When Bezos was just a smart, driven business nerd who sold books online, Brad and I would interview him for Newsweek and Time respectively. Fuller disclosure: I’m the guy who nominated the bookselling nerd for Time Person of the Year. Fullest disclosure: I own an anti-Amazon T-shirt made by the HQ2 protestors in Queens (“resist,” it says above a smile logo), and also own an Amazon Echo, Kindle, and Prime account. 

Our relationship with Amazon is as complicated as the company itself. On the one hand, Bezos is an innovator, a genius, a customer-focused obsessive; on the other, anti-union, proto-monopolist, pitiless kingpin who had to be dragged into philanthropy. But in the last four years, the hero side has receded and the villain come to the fore. So it’s a comfort to read Amazon Unbound and know I’m not the only one wondering what the hell happened? Apparently, many of his friends and employees feel the same. “This was clearly not the same old Jeff,” Brad writes of the need to follow a book on the first 18 years of Amazon with a book on the last eight.  Read more…

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