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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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Brandt, Richard: One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon

  Amazon  

4 stars

Richard Brandt's One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon (great name) is about the company more than the man. It tracks the rise of Amazon from its genesis (in a garage, albeit converted) to the modern Kindle era. It ends, however--not surprisingly, given its publication date of October 2011--before the introduction of the fourth generation of Kindles (the Touch) and the Kindle Fire. Readers interested in an insightful profile of the man behind the empire will be disappointed, but I wasn't. As far as I'm concerned, Bezos is a modern Prometheus who's stepped away from Olympus for a bit to improve the lot of man. If he's doing something bad in his spare time, I don't want to know about it.

It's interesting to re-watch Amazon grow up in Brandt's pages, alongside the use of the internet itself. (I placed my first order on Amazon, for Alison Weir's The War of the Roses [I STILL HAVEN'T READ IT!], on October 25, 1997. I had always thought of myself as an early customer, but my bubble has now burst: Amazon was already pretty far along its path, with its initial public offering of stock already in May of 1997, when my book shipped.) And it's nice to be reminded of the things that have changed along the way: Amazon's old logo, A9 search, zShops. There is a weird gap in the book when the author skips from 2002 to 2007. I also would have liked to see some pictures, maybe screen shots of Amazon's front page over the years, a picture of the original logo so I didn't have to look it up online. Perhaps also a timeline to tie it all together. There are a lot of details--stock prices and expansions into new product lines--that some may find boring, however readable the author's prose. Certainly if the book were about any other company on the planet, including Apple, I would not have had patience for the minutiae. But since it's Amazon....

Comments

1.

Its Brilliant the way someone can start a business up and be able to move on from a Garage to something as a big corporation. Its a great success story

2.

I don't find this as inspiring, while it's certainly great for Jeff Bezos, is society really all the better for his work? I personally would love it if we could have a few of those independent used book stores and Amazon (and the big brick and mortars) drove out of business back. It's also troubling how much wealth and power gets concentrated, especially when it's over something so intimate as what we read.

3.

In a word, yes, society is better for his work. My life is certainly better for it. I can't imagine living in an Amazon-less world. I wouldn't want to.

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