by Richard L. Brandt
Those familiar with the work of technology journalist Richard L. Brandt will be acquainted with his style of blending biography and business history, as he has previously done with Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Google. In One Click, Brandt profiles Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. Readers expecting an in-depth, definitive history of Amazon or a complete portrait of Bezos may be disappointed. This relatively short (224p) profile draws largely on publically available information and resources. Those who have followed Amazon and Bezos in the news will find little fresh information.
Where this book does shine is in reviewing the critical role of Amazon in the transformation of book selling in America over the last twenty years. Brandt highlights the business strategies and technologies that enabled this success. However, the section on the most recent change, e-books, is already beginning to date less than a year after publication. This is an innate peril of writing about living a living entrepreneur and business in a rapidly changing field. Unlike a posthumous biography, Brandt’s profile is likely to be quickly superseded by future accounts.
Although this book discusses common criticisms of Bezos, the author is largely friendly towards his subject. Brandt’s thesis seems to be that analysts have consistently underestimated Bezos’s business acumen to their detriment. By concluding with a discussion of Bezos’s investment in space travel and research, Brandt suggests that the sky is the limit for this entrepreneur.