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Amazonia : Five Years at the Epicenter of the dot.com Juggernaut
The entertaining story of the first five years of Amazon.com, recounted by employee number 55.
"Americans with an eye cocked toward the markets were asked to believe that Amazon, a two-year-old bookseller, was worth more than the combined values of Sears and US Steel."--from Amazonia
James Marcus was hired as a senior editor at Amazon.com in 1996, giving him a ringside seat for the company's explosive rise and dismal wallet-busting swoon. Now--as the e-commerce giant makes an astonishing comeback--he tells all. Unlike the recent crop of dot.com memoirs, this is no tale of a bankrupt and brokenhearted entrepreneur. Marcus came aboard as a self-described "token humanist," and his take on the new economy juggernaut is predominantly a cultural one. Why, he asks, did Jeff Bezos's brainchild become the key symbol of Internet euphoria? How did the company change as it morphed from a miniscule start-up to a global, multibillion-dollar leviathan? Was the Web breaking more promises than it kept? And finally: What could an editor do to resist being transformed into a hyperventilating shill?
In answering these questions, Marcus takes us to meetings, job interviews, trade shows, and corporate retreats. We spend a freezing holiday season at the warehouse, and a considerably warmer afternoon at the company's summer picnic--where Bezos himself mans the dunk tank. Amazonia is a work of rare wit and razor-sharp observation, and a superlative guide to America's lost world of the nineties.
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The New Press
April 04, 2011
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