Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon
‘Essential for any leader in any industry’ – Kim Scott, bestselling author of Radical Candor
Working Backwards gives an insider’s account of Amazon’s approach to culture, leadership and best practices from two long-time, top-level Amazon executives.
Colin Bryar and Bill Carr joined Amazon in the late 90s. Their time at the company covered a period of unmatched innovation that brought products and services – including Kindle, Amazon Prime, Amazon Echo and Alexa, and Amazon Web Services – to life. Through the story of these innovations they reveal the principles and practices that drive Amazon’s success.
Through their wealth of experience they offer unprecedented access to the ‘Amazon way’ as it was refined, articulated and proven to be repeatable, scalable and adaptable. Working Backwards shows how success is not achieved by the genius of any single leader, but rather through commitment to and execution of a set of well-defined, rigorously executed principles and practices that you can apply at your own company, no matter the size.
‘Working Backwards should be read by anyone interested in the real thing – the principles, processes and practices of twenty-first-century management and leadership’ – Forbes
‘Gives us the story as it developed at the time – and that is probably worth the cover price of the book in itself’ – Financial Times
Bryar and Carr, both former Amazon executives, take a detailed informative firsthand look at the company's "unique principles and processes." The authors reveal founder the four core pillars established by founder Jeff Bezos to make up Amazon's culture: customer obsession, long-term thinking, eagerness to invent, and operational excellence. The authors then outline the 14 "Leadership Principles" crafted to achieve those four goals; these include frugality ("constraints breed resourcefulness"), earning trust (by "being vocally self-critical"), and focusing more on customers than competitors. This last point leads the authors to discuss Bezos's approach for programs such as the Kindle e-reader and e-book store and Prime Video: the company used a "Working Backwards" process that began with the desired customer experience and then designed products to achieve it. While the writing can be entertaining, the authors' personal anecdotes of working at the company get to be repetitive and combined with their habit of referring to Bezos by his first name often feel like they are used to highlight their access. Still, they deliver an information-packed guide to Amazon's success. Readers are sure to extract lessons applicable to organizations large and small.