Read this now: Five great articles on Jeff Bezos

August 5, 2013

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If you want to learn more about the Washington Post's (and Wonkblog's) new boss, here are some good places to start!

"The company's original name, Cadabra, was nixed after someone misheard it as 'cadaver.'" The Wall Street Journal Richard Brandt has what might be the most concise Bezos biography you can find online, one that traces his upbringing from age 4 all the way through Amazon's rise.

"The company posted its first full-year profit in 2003. It's on track for nearly $7 billion in sales and $400 million in earnings." Alan Deutschman wrote one of the earlier long-form profiles of Bezos, right after Amazon began to turn a profit. "The man talks in numbered lists," Deutchsman writes. "He likes to enumerate the criteria, in order of importance, for every decision he has made -- even why he married his wife. The number-one reason for that particular choice: He wanted someone who would be resourceful enough to get him out of a Third World prison (presumably without pointing a gun at a helicopter pilot)."

"People are slowly beginning to realize just how much of the Web is powered by Amazon’s cloud services." Back in 2011, Wired's Steven Levy took a long look at Amazon's growing investments in a massive cloud computing system "which hosts web operations for some of the world’s largest Internet companies—even competitors like Netflix."

"And now this. Amazon could be an unstoppable competitor to big publishing houses." Brad Stone, currently at work on a book about Bezos, focuses largely on Amazon Publishing, a newly-formed arm of Amazon with a "lofty goal...to publish bestselling books by big-name authors."

"Specifically, before any discussion begins, members of the team -- including Bezos -- consume six-page printed memos in total silence for as long as 30 minutes." When Fortune named Bezos the Businessman of the Year for 2012, they did a deep dive into the Amazon founder's management style. "Like the memos he makes his managers write, his moves are driven by clear thinking and a cohesive vision, even if it takes a while for rivals to figure out Amazon's motives -- at which point it may be too late," Adam Lashinsky writes here.

Wonkblog and the Switch also have great takes on today's news! Read more here from Neil Irwin, Ezra Klein, Jim Tankersley and Timothy B. Lee. And stay tuned for more shortly.

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Timothy B. Lee · August 5, 2013