What do you write about the man who sells everything? Wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos gives one-star review to The Everything Store - a new biography of her husband

MacKenzie Bezos wasn't happy with the book's portrayal of her spouse

Los Angeles

The Everything Store, a new book about the history of Amazon, has earned acclaim for its portrait of the online retailer’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, whom author Brad Stone paints as a compelling mix of inspirational, confrontational and downright ruthless. But at least one critic remains unconvinced by Stone’s depiction: Mr Bezos’s wife, Mackenzie, who has posted a one-star review of the book on her husband’s website.

In a 900-word hatchet-job, Mrs Bezos complains that Mr Stone’s book contains “numerous factual inaccuracies”, “unbalanced reporting” and a bias against accounts from people with positive memories of working at Amazon. She claims even the book’s opening anecdote is inaccurate: Mr Stone writes that Mr Bezos read Kazuo Ishiguro’s Booker Prize-winning novel Remains of the Day shortly before starting Amazon; Mrs Bezos says he read it a year after the website launched.

“I have first-hand knowledge of many of the events,” she writes. “I was there when [Jeff] wrote the business plan, and I worked with him and many others represented in the converted garage, the basement warehouse closet, the barbecue-scented offices, the Christmas-rush distribution centres, and the door-desk filled conference rooms in the early years of Amazon’s history. Jeff and I have been married for 20 years.”

In a statement, Amazon spokesman Craig Berman backed Mrs Bezos’s review, saying the company had arranged for Mr Stone to interview several Amazon executives. “He had every opportunity to thoroughly fact-check and bring a more balanced viewpoint to his narrative,” Mr Berman said, “but he was very secretive about the book and simply chose not to.”

Mr Stone, a senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek, responded to the criticism in a post on the publication’s website, saying he would address any minor factual inaccuracies, such as the Remains of the Day story. But he insisted the major revelations in the book were true, and denied any bias against Mr Bezos or his company. Instead, he said his account simply focused on the more dramatic moments in Amazon’s 19-year history. Mrs Bezos, he writes, “took me to task for what she perceived were subtle biases in my story.

“I’ll own up to that, though my slant is hardly political or personal… Writers are biased toward tension.”

Mr Stone says he spoke to more than 300 sources while researching the book, including current and former Amazon employees, at least two of whom have also written Amazon reviews. Jonathan Leblang, who is in charge of developing the firm’s Kindle tablet devices, recommended The Everything Store, awarding it four out of five stars, though he warned that of episodes of which he had personal knowledge, “about 80 per cent is correct and 20 per cent isn’t”.

Rick Dalzell, Amazon’s chief information officer from 1997 to 2007, gave the book three stars, saying it was an “unbalanced” account. “Brad painted a one-dimensional picture of Jeff as a ruthless capitalist,” Mr Dalzell wrote. “He completely missed his warmth, his humour, and his empathy.”

Mrs Bezos noted that Mr Stone never interviewed her husband personally, though the author recounts in his book how he approached Mr Bezos, who declined an interview but reportedly encouraged colleagues, friends and family to cooperate.

Mr Bezos also asked Mr Stone how he intended to avoid the issue of “narrative fallacy”, a concept outlined in the bestselling business tome, The Black Swan, which is said to be required reading for all senior staff at Amazon. Taleb warns that humans employ narrative as a means of transforming “complex realities into soothing but oversimplified stories.”

The front cover of Brad Stone's book The front cover of Brad Stone's book

Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Caral Barat of The Libertines performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at the Billboard Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Zina Saro-Wiwa

art
Arts and Entertainment
All-new couples 'Come Dine With Me'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne
musicReview: BST Hyde Park, London
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart star in Almost Royal burning bright productions
tvTV comedy following British ‘aristos’ is accused of mocking the trusting nature of Americans
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice