Mar

10

 The late Feb New Yorker has an interesting article on Amazon and books by George Packer. It's available for free online.

One could teach an entire college course on this article. How it is built on quotes from disgruntled employees and everyone in publishing who has ever had anything bad to say about Amazon. More importantly, how the article in virtually every sentence is infused with a subtle anti-free-market, anti-creative-destruction, and pro-elitist bias against a disrupter whose business model is based on greater availability and choice, and providing convenience and low cost to the consumer.

And yet the exciting story of Bezos and Amazon shines through, notwithstanding the author. Bezos is one of the great businessmen of our time, ranking with Gates and Jobs. And as one editor admits in the article, in today's digital world, books might not even still exist. But instead of disappearing, they are thriving. Thanks to Amazon and all its boorish, low-class, non-literary-sensitive ways.

Ties in to Stefan's today mention of Ron Chernow, since the same is true of Chernow's best-selling biography of John D. Rockefeller, Titan. How, Chernow asks, could one person be such a fierce capitalist and also the world's greatest philanthropist? Chernow cannot begin to understand the business fairness and beneficial aspects of Rockefeller's creation of Standard Oil, but the story comes through to a reader without Chernow's prejudices.

The same with Packer's supposed expose of Bezos and Amazon.


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