Amazon Founder's Wife Writes an Amazon Review of a Book About Amazon, Got It?

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 4 2013 8:07 PM

Amazon Founder's Wife Writes an Amazon Review of a Book About Amazon, Got It?

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Amazon.com Founder & CEO Jeff Bezos poses for a photo before opening The NASDAQ Stock Market.

Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images for Amazon.com

MacKenzie Bezos apparently simply didn’t like the book “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon.” And when people don’t like something, often they will go online to say so. MacKenzie Bezos, who’s an author, is no different, other than she’s also the wife of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. That’s why when she went on to Amazon to review the new book (giving it one star out of five), things got pretty meta.

In her review, titled “I wanted to like this book,” Bezos takes issue with the author’s account, writing: “Everywhere I can fact check from personal knowledge, I find way too many inaccuracies, and unfortunately that casts doubt over every episode in the book.” But an errant fact or two wasn’t her only issue:

While numerous factual inaccuracies are certainly troubling in a book being promoted to readers as a meticulously researched definitive history, they are not the biggest problem here. The book is also 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. An author writing about any large organization will encounter people who recall moments of tension out of tens of thousands of hours of meetings and characterize them in their own way, and including those is legitimate. But I would caution readers to take note of the weak rhetorical devices used to make it sound like these quotes reflect daily life at Amazon or the majority viewpoint about working there.
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The book by journalist Brad Stone is the first deep in-depth account of the company that began as an online bookseller and has generally been well received by Amazon reviewers, if not the Bezos' themselves. Stone fired back in response to the review, telling USA TODAY: "I talked to 300 people to get a picture of one of the most interesting and secretive companies around. I stand by my book. To the extend that I made mistakes I will gladly fix them."

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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