Excellent review of a new biography about Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, here at the New York Review of Books.
The review lucidly explains some of Amazon’s troubling corporate practices, and Amazon’s impact on the publishing industry.
He is not an easy man to caricature. In Stone’s portrait, he is nerdy, dreamy, prescient, and ruthlessly competitive. He aspires to kindness as a personal ideal but sometimes rages cruelly at his subordinates. He demands hard data and has an unusually keen mind, one that allows him to follow complex numbers to whatever business insights they may yield, and to think ahead of his peers. He claims to value books, authorship, and journalism as public goods, and he seems to wish to be remembered as a patron—even a savior—of American letters in the digital age. Yet it is not clear that Bezos’s ideas about the future of reading are driven by any principle other than the maximization of Amazon’s position. Bezos became a multibillionaire because of his insights about books and reading, and yet books and reading have also seemed at times incidental to his personal and financial ambitions.
Vital reading for all book lovers and book buyers.