The memoir “Inside Amazon” examines Gisela Hausmann’s experiences as a small publisher, a top reviewer, an indie author, and a warehouse associate.
Her story begins in 1997 when she decides to self-publish a book. As Hausmann takes a closer look at Jeff Bezos’ new online bookstore the mass media expert begins to suspect that Jeff Bezos has loftier goals than selling books.
Having the opportunity to take advantage of Amazon’s fantastic PR tools for self-published authors in the late nineties Hausmann becomes a fan. She sees Bezos as “the new Gutenberg” and the “most powerful defender of the First Amendment.”
But tragedy strikes and Hausmann must switch gears. She embarks on a career in the transportation industry, first at Fedex and then at a NVOCC and freight forwarder. A few years later she begins writing books again, on the side.
She earns an excellent reputation as an author of “naked,” no-fluff, no-nonsense non-fiction books and some of her books get featured in major publications. But eventually, the Kindle self-publishing platform loses its appeal for Hausmann. Fake review writers, scammers, questionable “book marketers,” and authors who are mostly motivated by the idea to publish books as a “means of building a passive income” have done their damage.
By 2019, Hausmann is irritated with U.S. politics and the economy; she still remembers living through the Great Recession all too well. Hence, when by chance, she finds out that Amazon opened a warehouse in her hometown she decides to apply for a job. She wants to work her way up at her favorite company.
Though, in the months to come, Hausmann cannot discover any “Amazon Day-1 thinking” at the warehouse she stays optimistic and tries her best to embody Amazon’s leadership principles.
Then, the Covid crisis strikes.
Inside Amazon is compelling because, for the longest time, Hausmann keeps rooting for the company. She does not look at what is going on at the warehouse through the eyes of a labor activist but as a transportation and marketing professional and actively searches for applications of Jeff Bezos’ “Day 1”-philosophy and the company’s leadership principles.
Alas, at the warehouse where she works for 468 days, the transportation professional sees only one of Jeff Bezos’ leadership principles in action – uninspiring (instead of clever) “frugality.”