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Publisher's Summary

This program includes a preface read by the authors.

Working Backwards is an insider's breakdown of Amazon's approach to culture, leadership, and best practices from two longtime, top-level Amazon executives.

Colin started at Amazon in 1998; Bill joined in 1999. In Working Backwards, these two long-serving Amazon executives reveal and codify the principles and practices that drive the success of one of the most extraordinary companies the world has ever known. With 27 years of Amazon experience between them, much of it in the early aughts - a period of unmatched innovation that brought products and services including Kindle, Amazon Prime, Amazon Studios, and Amazon Web Services to life - Bryar and Carr offer unprecedented access to the Amazon way as it was refined, articulated, and proven to be repeatable, scalable, and adaptable.

With keen analysis and practical steps for applying it at your own company - no matter the size - the authors illuminate how Amazon’s 14 leadership principles inform decision-making at all levels and reveal how the company’s culture has been defined by four characteristics: customer obsession, long-term thinking, eagerness to invent, and operational excellence. Bryar and Carr explain the set of ground-level practices that ensure these are translated into action and flow through all aspects of the business.

Working Backwards is a practical guidebook and a corporate narrative, filled with the authors’ in-the-room recollections of what “Being Amazonian” is like and how it has affected their personal and professional lives. They demonstrate that success on Amazon’s scale is not achieved by the genius of any single leader, but rather through commitment to and execution of a set of well-defined, rigorously executed principles and practices - shared here for the very first time. 

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Colin Bryar and Bill Carr (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Jeff Bezos once told me that unlike Google or Apple, 'Amazon doesn't have one big advantage, so we have to braid a rope out of many small advantages'. Amazon has demonstrated again and again that success doesn't result from one big stroke of genius but from a set of clear business practices consistently and boldly applied. Colin Bryar and Bill Carr dive deep into how Amazon has become the company to study if you want to succeed in 21st-century business." (Tim O'Reilly, owner of O'Reilly Media)

"For those looking to change the world in ways (very) large and small via innovation and business, my strong recommendation is to dive deeply into Working Backwards. Bill and Colin have delivered a rarity of immense value, which is a powerful, high judgment dissection of the inputs to Amazon itself. I anticipate Working Backwards to quickly become required reading in board rooms and classrooms around the world." (Jason Kilar, chief executive officer of WarnerMedia)

“Colin Bryar and Bill Carr have operationalized the core management practices that lie behind Amazon's success. In particular, their insights into how any successful leader can focus on narrative and metrics to take a short-cut to the truth are essential for any leader in any industry. You'll want to have your highlighter ready and keep this book close at hand for quick reference." (Kim Scott, author of Radical Candor)

What listeners say about Working Backwards

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Look elsewhere to learn about Amazon.

The book started strong with the bios and leadership principles. There are some informative chapters such as the narrative and PR chapters but throughout the book there is a pompous tone. This book is the epitome of your colleague taking all the credit saying they did all the work instead of saying we. Lots of boasting and unnecessary details on promotions, titles, and personal successes etc. The Everything Store is a better Amazon 101 book.

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Very good business book

This book is very good and you should read it/listen to it if you are looking for insights regarding new product introduction and unique hiring practices. There is no arguing with Amazon’s successes and so hearing about how they introduced some of the most successful product lines is incredibly interesting.

But, not all books can be 5 stars. This one is just below the best business books I’ve read.

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Excellent business audiobook, better value than a MBA

As a former Amazon employee I was familiar with most of the concepts and enjoyed the high level of detail in each subject. I learned some new anecdotes that I haven’t heard before and improved my understanding of some concepts.
I highly recommend for anyone interested in product development to listen to it.

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good because not written by CEO

many detail operation insights from operation guys not CEO , a lot of staff can be implemented in other companies

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Nice intro for new Amazonian

Started listening to this after accepting a job at Amazon. I had a couple of months before I would start so I figured I’d listen while in between jobs. Went back and listened again after reaching 9 months tenure and definitely feel like this gave me a head start on picking up the culture and was pretty accurate. There are definitely better ways to learn culture, but all require more time with folks who have themselves fully adopted the culture. I recommend this for anyone coming to work at Amazon for the first time and hoping for a preview of what is to come and a history lesson of how Amazon became Amazon. I am starting to hire folks on my team and will suggest anyone new to Amazon consider listening in their early days. One thing missing was a more critical view of the LPs, more on how they sometimes clash with one another, or can be weaponized.

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An Inside look

It’s rare to get this level of insight. Invaluable if you’re dreaming about working at Amazon or are curious about the mechanisms that make Amazon special.

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good view inside Amazon

good examples how management out leadership principles are used inside the Amazon or what were their origins

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Seems more about the authors work history

It’s not a bad book, it just has a lot of the authors biographical data. I was hoping more for particular processes, how they worked, and why they worked. This was more of how they developed them with Jeff and how they worked with Jeff, etc

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Not an enjoyable book

You know how some books draw you in and make you forget the world around you? Well this is not one of them.

I had just enjoyed reading "The Everything Store" and wanted to dive deeper into Amazon culture and learn more from it. This book was written by executives who aren't skilled writers. The problem with that is that reading (or listening to) it felt like a chore, even though the subject matter was interesting.

Please, stay away from writing more books.

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Excellent book!

Excellent book to get insight on amazon company operation, core principles and its applications.
I recommend the book to anyone who interested in business.