SOCIAL SCIENCES

Bezonomics: How Amazon Is Changing Our Lives and What the World’s Best Companies Are Learning from It

Scribner. May 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781982113636. $28. BUS
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This is a wide-ranging, smoothly written consideration of the company Amazon and its basic principles, which, according to Dumaine (Go Long) include an intense focus on customer satisfaction (especially low prices and speedy delivery), long-term management (giving investments time to mature rather than cutting them off if there is little or no immediate returns), and product and service innovation. Amazon is able to do much of this by collecting data on their customers and then using artificial intelligence (i.e., smart machines) to analyze the data. This leads to machines learning more about customers and improving on their recommendations. What distinguishes Amazon is its consistency in following this three-part strategy. The book discusses Amazon’s major innovations as well as some failures. Dumaine clearly admires Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and the way he has guided the company since its inception, and thus thinks Amazon points the way to the future of business. Yet Dumaine is not uncritical. He even has a chapter on how companies can survive and thrive in a business environment dominated by Amazon and its principles.
VERDICT This will appeal to those with an interest in the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in business.

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