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Publisher's Summary

The Wall Street Journal technology columnist reveals the fascinating story behind the misleadingly simple phrase shoppers take for granted - Arriving Today - in this eye-opening investigation into the new rules of online commerce, transportation, and supply chain management.

We are at a tipping point in retail history. While consumers are profiting from the convenience of instant gratification, rapidly advancing technologies are transforming the way goods are transported and displacing workers in ways never before seen.

In Arriving Today, Christopher Mims goes deep, far, and wide to uncover how a single product, from creation to delivery, weaves its way from a factory on the other side of the world to our doorstep. He analyzes the evolving technologies and management strategies necessary to keep the product moving to fulfill consumers’ demand for “arriving today” gratification. Mims reveals a world where the only thing moving faster than goods in an Amazon warehouse is the rate at which an entire industry is being gutted and rebuilt by innovation and mass shifts in human labor practices. He goes behind the scenes to uncover the paradoxes in this shift - into the world’s busiest port, the cabin of an 18-wheeler, and Amazon’s automated warehouses - to explore how the promise of “arriving today” is fulfilled through a balletic dance between humans and machines. 

The scope of such large-scale innovation and expended energy is equal-parts inspiring, enlightening, and horrifying. As he offers a glimpse of our future, Mims asks us to consider the system’s vulnerability and its resilience, and who shoulders the burden, as we hurtle toward a fully automated system - and what it will mean when we are there.

©2021 Christopher Mims (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Arriving Today

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Great look at process of product arriving to our home.

Great audio book! I had no idea how long the process would be to deliver product to our door and what historic events shaped the way we move goods.

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Great information

I heard about this book from a friend of the authors who was a guest on a TWIT podcast. I work for a big distribution Company not mentioned in the book and I love to learn about new technology so this book was very informative. The reader was very easy to to understand and the book was well written. Thanks!

2 people found this helpful

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The journey of the stuff you buy online

When you buy something online, and it gets to your door, you rarely think about all the people who touched it, and all the miles it traveled to your hands.

This book talks about container shipping, intermodal transportation, trucking and truckers, sorting, distribution and fulfillment centers, and the workers and they working conditions.

You'll get a much greater appreciation for the packages that show up at your door have a people that make that possible.

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comprehensive and well told

great details and structure. good narrative. interesting background. would definitely recommend for anyone who is curious about supply chain, supply shock, distributed manufacturing, effects on labor, climate, etc

1 person found this helpful

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An Insiders Perspective

Fascinating story and well told for most audiences. The author uncovered elements of the SC and the psychology of it's participants that I had not previously considered.

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Fascinating, timely, well written and read

Christopher Mims takes a very deep dive into the history and machinations of today’s logistics. Follow along as a USB charger manufactured in Viet Nam months ago arrives at the home of the Amazon user who just ordered it yesterday, in March of 2020. So detailed and interesting, I will listen to it again soon!

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85% Amazon, 15% Rest of Logistics

Very fascinating read to hear of a broad look at the supply chain from factory to the door. The book was as described. I wish it went further into other parts of logistics instead of just Amazon, part FedEx, and part UPS (about 1 chapter dedicated to FedEx and UPS each).
Other areas I hoped it would cover but didn’t is the rise of other third party logistics (3PLs) and their technology differs/is catching up to Amazon. Amazon is just 1 channel/ logistics company but most of our supply chain doesn’t run through Amazon and their network/technology.

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  • clifford
  • 01-10-22

90% filler and fluff

takes way too long to get to the point. authors ego trip. Great opportunity missed

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  • textlad
  • 10-24-21

Superb book - so topical given importance of supply chain at present

This book is a fascinating journey to help any “reader” understand the astonishing journey of a package from its very beginning in South East Asia to your front door.

Some excellent research by the author delivers impressive details of the process. The description of a river pilot boarding a giant boat in LA was breathtaking.

Lots of very interesting details on the inner workings of Amazon and UPS as well.

Highly recommended to anyone interested in this area.

Only let down by the appalling audio edits which results in the the narrator’s voice / audio changing in a very abrasive way at numerous times.