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Book about Amazon that was trashed by Bezos’ wife wins big award


A book that claims to tell the definitive story of Amazon and company founder Jeff Bezos has won the 2013 Financial Times (FT) and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.

The book – The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Bloomberg Businessweek writer Brad Stone – hit the headlines a couple of weeks back when Bezos’ wife, MacKenzie, trashed the hardcover in a lengthy 930-word review posted on, of course, the Amazon website.

She gave it one star.

An ‘inspirational’ read

The dismal rating clearly had no effect on the judges, who, at the awards ceremony in London on Monday night, described the work as 2013’s “most compelling and enjoyable” business book.

FT editor Lionel Barber called The Everything Store “an inspirational business book which captures the culture of Amazon and the character of its founder Jeff Bezos.”the everything store

Judge Vindi Banga, a partner at equity investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, also praised it, calling it an “inspirational” read for those starting out in business, adding that it was “full of management lessons.”

MacKenzie Bezos, in contrast, said in her review that The Everything Store contained “way too many inaccuracies, and unfortunately that casts doubt over every episode in the book.”

Titled ‘I wanted to like this book’, her review, which was posted on November 4, went on to say that Stone’s account of the e-commerce giant was “full of techniques which stretch the boundaries of non-fiction, and the result is a lopsided and misleading portrait of the people and culture at Amazon.”

‘The Amazon story is a complex story’

Speaking to the FT after picking up the award, which came with a check for £30,000 ($48,000), Stone said, “No author likes to get a one-star review, but had the book been so sycophantic that even folks inside the Amazon bubble had enjoyed it, I wouldn’t have been doing my job.”

He said he’d been “expecting some disruption because the Amazon story is a complex story” and in writing the book had attempted to “find the middle ground and just tell the story.”

At the time of writing, the book has 74 five-star ratings, and 7 one-star ratings, and sits at number 18 on the site’s Business & Investing book chart. Now that it has an award under its belt, it might yet make it to number one. On Amazon.

[via FT, Bookseller]

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