Working Backwards is an insider's breakdown of Amazon's approach to culture, leadership, and best practices from two long-time Amazon executives—with lessons and techniques you can apply to your own company, and career, right now.
In Working Backwards, two long-serving Amazon executives reveal the principles and practices that have driven the success of one of the most extraordinary companies the world has ever known. With twenty-seven years of Amazon experience between them—much of it during the period of unmatched innovation that created products and services including Kindle, Amazon Prime, Amazon Studios, and Amazon Web Services—Bryar and Carr offer unprecedented access to the Amazon way as it was developed and proven to be repeatable, scalable, and adaptable.
With keen analysis and practical steps for applying it at your own company—no matter the size—the authors illuminate how Amazon’s fourteen leadership principles inform decision-making at all levels of the company. With a focus on customer obsession, long-term thinking, eagerness to invent, and operational excellence, Amazon’s ground-level practices ensure these characteristics are translated into action and flow through all aspects of the business.
Working Backwards is both a practical guidebook and the story of how the company grew to become so successful. It is filled with the authors’ in-the-room recollections of what “Being Amazonian” is like and how their time at the company affected their personal and professional lives. They demonstrate that success on Amazon’s scale 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—shared here for the very first time.
Whatever your talent, career or organization might be, find out how you can put Working Backwards to work for you.
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.