Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is the subject of a new tell-all book by Brad Stone called “The Everything Store”, and while the book itself is getting positive reviews and attention on the site, Bezos’ wife felt she needed to clear some things up.
MacKenzie Bezos wrote a lengthy review of the tome titled “I wanted to like this book”, and in it she implores readers to take the contents with a grain of salt. Bezos says that several times in the book, she found inaccuracies that kept her from being able to give it a positive markup on Amazon.com.
“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,” she wrote.
The writing itself gets a critique, as Bezos says that her husband was not interviewed for any portion of the book, yet some of the sections read as though he was.
“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,” she wrote.
Bezos isn’t the only reviewer with firsthand knowledge of the inaccuracies, however; commenter “Rick”–presumably Rick Dalzell, who worked with Jeff for ten years–wrote that Stone completely missed Bezos’ character in his writing.
“I’m currently retired, but spent 10 years working alongside Jeff and the incredible team he assembled, so I have first-hand knowledge of much of the period the book covers,” Rick wrote. “While I found it rather interesting, lots of stories are missing or just inaccurate. Brad painted a one-dimensional picture of Jeff as a ruthless capitalist. He completely missed his warmth, his humor, and his empathy — all qualities abundantly present in the man.”