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The Everything War summary

Dana Mattioli

Amazon's Ruthless Quest to Own the World and Remake Corporate Power

20 mins
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    The Everything War
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    A bookstore that sells everything

    Whatever you do in your day-to-day life, there’s a good chance that Amazon is a part of it.

    You might shop their online marketplace, where the convenience of low prices and quick delivery became even more essential during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps you unwind with a good book on your Kindle, an audiobook from Audible, or one of the hundreds of movies and shows streaming on Amazon Prime. Maybe you have a device with Alexa’s voice assistance service built in. 

    Even if you don’t realize it, Amazon is everywhere. Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is a heavyweight champion of cloud services, powering the digital backbone for giants such as Facebook, Johnson & Johnson, and Toyota. So, even if you're not using Amazon directly, its services likely underpin much of your digital life. 

    So, how did we get from online bookstore to a company that seems to be everywhere? 

    Amazon was founded in 1994 as an online book distributor working out of Jeff Bezos’s Bellevue, Washington garage. But this sort of grassroots story popular in the tech industry can be misleading. 

    Before Amazon, Bezos attended Princeton University, studying and then working in the financial tech sector. The idea for Amazon came whilst he was working for D.E Shaw & Co, a hedge fund that was looking into a brand-new blossoming technology – the internet. 

    Bezos’s job at Shaw was to evaluate if this so-called “World Wide Web” had any potential as a sales platform, and identify which markets would benefit from an online presence. By the time Bezos left Shaw, he had already identified books as the best product to experiment with online sales. They were easy to store and cheap to ship, plus, he could take advantage of a Washington law which meant interstate delivery was tax-free. 

    But books were always meant to be just the beginning.  From the outset, Amazon was built on a strategy of prioritizing growth and reinvestment over profits. “Get Big Fast” was the companies early mantra. This relentless drive for growth lead Amazon to rapidly diversity its offerings, but left the company constantly tight on cash. 

    When Amazon went public in 1997, it was still operating at a loss. This baffled traditional investors, who were accustomed to evaluating companies on long-term profitability. Yet, Amazon’s stocks were an immediate hit. Bezos was very vocal about his reinvestment strategy, ensuring that Amazon’s stock value continued to climb despite the reported losses. Without making any profits, Bezos was a Billionaire within the year. 

    The re-investment rule meant that Amazon was free to spend its money on infrastructure, technology, and market research. Amazon launched AWS (Amazon Web Services) in 2006. As the first cloud computing platform, it offered businesses a wide range of services including computing power, storage, and databases, all without the need for physical infrastructure. This, along with its advertising branch, represents the majority of Amazon’s current revenue. 

    But critics suggest that it was more than just good business sense and a commitment to reinvestment that has bought the tech giant to where it is today. Perhaps it’s time to look behind the curtain at what it really takes to sell everything. 

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    What is The Everything War about?

    The Everything War (2024) is an investigative exposé revealing Amazon’s relentless strategies to dominate the world’s industries. It details how Amazon uses its vast resources and data to outcompete rivals, often resorting to exploitative practices and anticompetitive behavior. What does it really take to own the world and remake corporate powers?

    The Everything War Review

    The Everything War (2021) delves into the intricate world of corporate espionage and the digital battleground of cybersecurity. Here's why this book is a compelling read:

    • Featuring real-life stories and insider insights, it provides a gripping look into the hidden world of cyber warfare.
    • With a focus on global implications and high-stakes conflicts, it sheds light on the critical role of cybersecurity in modern society.
    • Through its fast-paced narrative and thought-provoking analysis, the book ensures readers stay engaged and informed throughout.

    Who should read The Everything War?

    • Those curious about Amazon’s shady legal and ethical history
    • Entrepreneurs and Business leaders
    • Anyone using Amazon services

    About the Author

    Dana Mattioli is an accomplished journalist who has been with The Wall Street Journal since 2006. She has covered a range of high-profile topics including mergers and acquisitions, and more recently, investigative pieces on Amazon. Mattioli's work has earned her several prestigious awards, including the Gerald Loeb Award for Breaking News in 2016 and for Beat Reporting in 2021, as well as the WERT Prize for business journalism in 2021. 

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    The Everything War FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Everything War?

    The main message of The Everything War is the impact of technology on modern warfare.

    How long does it take to read The Everything War?

    Reading time for The Everything War varies but typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is The Everything War a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Everything War is worth reading for its insightful analysis of technology in warfare, making it a captivating read.

    Who is the author of The Everything War?

    The author of The Everything War is Dana Mattioli.

    What to read after The Everything War?

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