Lost in the Amazon jungle

AMAZON IS AN amazing company. Its founder, Jeff Bezos, started an online bookseller and turned it into a retailing giant. On the way, the company became a platform for third-party sellers, launched a highly successful electronic-book reader and created a cloud-computing service that allowed millions to store their data. There is a fascinating tale to be told about this transformation.

Unfortunately, a new book called “The Amazon Management System”, by Ram Charan and Julia Yang, a pair of consultants, is not it. In part this is down to editing. The cover offers an early warning, with a reference to “Warren Buffet” (sic). As a rule, Bartleby mistrusts any business tome that misspells the name of the famous investor. As irritating, the authors never use one adjective when seven or eight will do. A typical sentence reads: “Moreover, transparency of such ultra-detailed, end-to-end (cross-silo and cross-layer) real-time and inputs-oriented data and metrics makes the usual uphill battle for cross-functional collaboration much easier.”

A deeper problem is the book’s relentlessly hagiographic tone, no doubt influenced by Amazon’s success. It cites a few product failures, such as the Fire Phone, but that is it. The authors mention criticisms of its labour standards, which are widespread, but add that “We will not be addressing...

via Business Feeds

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