The everything store – the story of Amazon

Amazon almost ended up being named MakeItSo.com. Browse.com, relentless.com, and bookmall.com were all possibilities under consideration, but ultimately the company’s founder settled on naming the online store after the world’s largest river. The tale behind the founding and growth of Amazon.com is recounted in an absorbing fashion in Brad Stone’s book, The Everything Store.

When the retail giant began in 1995, it was an online book store based in Seattle. According to The Everything Store, the start-up was so small that “a bell would ring on Amazon’s computers, and everyone in the office would gather around to see if anyone knew the customer” whenever a purchase was made.

Although it started with books, the business branched out into electronics, movies, and more, an expansion which helped it survive the financial turmoil at the end of the millennium. Stone’s book details how the retail giant became a competitive platform for third-party sellers, much like EBay, and how it outgrew existing book selling chains like Barnes & Noble.

This is not the first book to detail the founding and evolution of Amazon, but it is the most thorough. Stone even manages an interview with Bezos’ estranged biological father, a retired circus performer. With a plenitude of business lessons and a large helping of interesting backstory, The Everything Store is a good pick for your To-Read list.