Think Like Amazon — 123 Verified Customer Reviews; Here Are My Favorites

by | Sep 3, 2020 | Blog

Think Like Amazon: 50 1/2 Ideas to Become a Digital Leader was released just over a year ago. The book, as of September 3, 2020, has 123 verified customer reviews. 93% of the reviews are a “4” or a “5” and the average is 4.7.  Here are my favorites.

BUT FIRST, here is the worst, most critical review the book has gotten. Just like at Amazon where you feature the problems, I start by featuring a dissatisfied reader.  You have to read this..

  • “I was eager to read this book after hearing an interview from the author. I expected to learn and incorporate ideas that could benefit my small business. My reality is that I am not looking to become a digital leader .”

If you didn’t want to be a digital leader, WHY DID YOU BUY THE BOOK???  It’s in the title.  Anyway, customers are great because they are divinely discontent!  Regardless, if that’s the worst review Think Like Amazon gets, I’ll take it.

Onto my favorites…

  Easily, I’d buy 10 copies minimum because its that fantastic!  Hands down- best business strategy book I’ve read in many years! In fact, I like this so much I’m reading it a second time- twice in one month. As I was reading the book I started texting everyone I knew in Silicon Valley and telling them to get this book.I even suggested my family members who are senior managers at DotCom companies to get several copies and share this with their team. Easily, I’d buy 10 copies minimum because its that fantastic. While I have limited knowledge about the author, I do have much knowledge on business leadership, visionary leadership and team management. This book nails all three points with great insight.

Looking through the handbook with 50 ½ answers I see places were these Amazon secrets were implemented. For me, it resembles treasure book of historical events. I’ve watched Amazon grow and participated in many of their concepts.

I’d recommend this book for managers, visionary leaders, business owners, and business coaches. It crosses into every commerce concept and isn’t limited in scope. These ideas can be implemented by any person with a desire for success- in any business. Game changer! Kudos to the author for attention to detail and the excitement that flows from making things and ideas work.

Informative, transformative and inspiring  As a team member of a Fortune 200 company going through “Digital Transformation” with some direction and strategy, I felt it was necessary to be knowledgeable on John Rossman’s “Think Like Amazon.” So on a road trip from Las Vegas to Napa, CA to visit wineries I thought it would be perfect to listen on Audible. This book was informative, transformative and inspiring:

1. Informative: Becoming aware of additional Amazon operations like Amazon Flex…and intrigued by possible future services like an Amazon Mobile Network for Prime members. FYI: I’m slightly upset I’ve never been asked if I’m an Amazon Prime member at the Whole Food checkout (that is feedback by the way). Being that I was visiting Napa…I thought Amazon Vine was Bezos’ winery.

2. Transformative: I really loved that the author shared cultural mindsets like “Day 1” company – the feeling of coming to work like you just cut the big “Grand Opening” red ribbon. I thought it was cool that I could relate to the “Two Pizza Team” structure—this works; drives employee retention. I was surprised and curious by the leadership expectation for meetings—6 page narratives vs slide deck presentations.

3. Inspiring: Probably my favorite part of the book was Rossman’s various ways of explaining that innovation at Amazon is only possible after failure and refinement. I totally forgot about the Fire Phone. I appreciated the explanation of how the 14 Leadership Principles is their formula for dominance.
I listened to the whole thing and loved 85% of it. I would have liked to hear more humor…the small spurts of humor were laugh out loud moments (reference to IT nerds was great and reason why leaders love bureaucracy). The 3rd quarter of the book felt like I was listening to a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) being read to me. I have shared some of these mind provoking ideas with my own two pizza team…who now wants to also read/listen to Think Like Amazon.

Great insights for individual contributors too  I was wondering if these insights would be helpful to individual contributors too… and they are! I have been volunteering in a University Research lab. John’s book and insights are JUST AS HELPFUL here as they were when I was in a much larger team. The truth is that the book makes me think. Really think, and re-think the best way to do things. That means I am finding ways to help accelerate our progress to eradicate disease. Because being mission & customer (patient) obsessed, constantly innovative, and focused on metrics that MEAN SOMETHING to those customers applies here as well — truly useful and appreciated!

Great Book with Ideas You Can Actually Use  I picked up a copy of the book recently and found it to be an easy read – well written with great stories and context. I really like the usefulness of the ideas and concepts – many can be put to use intermediately. It is also refreshing to see a company that understands and is truly dedicated to thinking long term. Shifting the time horizon on business investments from 1 – 3 year to 5 – 7 years is an example of that. That takes courage and a team of patriots to pull that off. I highly recommend this book to any business leader. Great read.

And one more…

Narrative style makes for a light read  This book, like many books of its type, has a light style thanks to its narrative read. It reminds me a bit of books like “outlier” and “tipping point” by Malcolm Gladwell, who implements a lot of the same principles in his books.

The big difference is that Malcolm Gladwell is always a reporter who is researching and “scanning the forest” for details and as a result, he doesn’t necessarily know all the details that led to the end results. John Rossman, on the other hand, was more like a park ranger who lived and worked in the forest and knows exactly why things ended up as they were including the nuanced details. While some people have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees, John ends up being able to explain both the trees and the forest, taking that analogy to its close.

Overall I would recommend it as a good read for anyone who is a manager or who owns their own business. You don’t need to implement a single idea in this book to make it a worthwhile read. And if you alter your plans even slightly to take advantage of what you are learning here, well, you’d obviously pay a consultant for more than the cost of the book.

Why Are These My Favorites?

Think Like Amazon is not about Amazon.  Its goal is to help business leaders make changes that lead to being more competitive in the digital era. It’s about the strategies, mechanisms, and leadership at Amazon that other leaders can take from Amazon and apply to their own businesses.  These are just some of my favorites as they explain why Think Like Amazon resonated with them.

I appreciate all the feedback.  Read all the reviews HERE.

Onward!

John

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About John

Rossman

John Rossman

John was an executive at Amazon.com where he played a key role in launching the Marketplace business and third-party selling platform and led the merchant services business.

Rossman Partners

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