It’s not often that I get to interact with an author as they are planning a book. In the case of Be Like Amazon: Even a Lemonade Stand Can Do It by Jeffrey and Bryan Eisenburg, I got a small preview of the topic via a Facebook post by Jeffrey. I don’t remember the original post, but it was something along the lines of a question asking his friends there if they thought a book that boiled down the principles of how Amazon does business and how it applies to any other business would appeal to them. I responded, playing “Devil’s Advocate” wondering if that hadn’t already been done. Jeffrey’s response was that it was not.
I didn’t totally understand his response at the time, but after reading the book, I have to agree. It’s far more than just another “Amazon” book. It shares very simple, yet profound truths that are also shared in other works in a very entertaining and thoughtful way.
Some of the lessons shared could have come from Good to Great, others from Thou Shall Prosper, still others from various authors and speakers I’ve shared about in this space. What makes this book different is the way the lessons are presented and how quickly.
The book’s story line is about a young man starting out on a road trip with a wiser, older man. The young man laments that his business is not doing as well as he would like, which leads the older man to start sharing lessons about great businesses and the people who led them to greatness. It also shares how some of those businesses ceased being great when their leaders passed on and their successors did not adhere to the ideals that shaped the greatness that had been built.
The fundamental lesson in the work is the concept of the “4 Stone Pillars of Amazon:”
- Customer Centricity
- Continuous Optimization
- Culture of Innovation
- Corporate Agility
As the older man shares lessons, he refers back to these 4 Stone Pillars as a guide the younger man should use as his “North Star,” having everyone in his organization make all decisions based on one or more of the pillars. It’s really a great idea.
The best thing about this work is that it can be read in an afternoon. Yet, even in its short format, the lessons are clear and extremely valuable.
I highly recommend Be Like Amazon to anyone who seeks to make a business better, or to do better as a team member. It’s well worth the time.