The wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos expressed her dissatisfaction with a new book about the company's history in an appropriate fashion: She wrote -- on Amazon.com, of course -- a one-star customer review on the product page for the book, "The Everything Store."
Spotted by The New York Times, the review questions the accuracy of the book written by Bloomberg Businessweek journalist Brad Stone. (See Stone's rebuttal below.)
MacKenzie Bezos plucked out a detail that, according to her, is incorrect -- the timing of when Jeff Bezos read the novel "Remains of the Day" that inspired some of his business ideals. She pointed to two other reviews that were supposedly written by one current Amazon executive and a former one. The two reviews also said some details were wrong but still gave the book four and three stars.
"If this were an isolated example, it might not matter, but it's not," MacKenzie Bezos wrote in her review. "Everywhere I can fact check from personal knowledge, I find way too many inaccuracies, and unfortunately that casts doubt over every episode in the book. Like two other reviewers here, Jonathan Leblang and Rick Dalzell, I have firsthand knowledge of many of the events."
She also didn't like how her husband was portrayed as relentlessly goal-oriented and, at times, harsh in manner.
Jeff Bezos has yet to comment publicly on the recently released book, and Stone wrote in his introduction of the book that while Jeff Bezos declined to be interviewed for the book, he approved of Stone interviewing his friends and family.
Update November 5 at 5:41 a.m. PT: On Tuesday, author Brad Stone responded to the review by MacKenzie Bezos, calling it "well written, entertaining, and perceptive about the challenges of doing a biography of a person and a company without their complete co-operation." And then he addressed her fault-finding and the charge that there were factual errors in the tale.
In a gently defensive tone, Stone pointed out that in doing research for the book he had spoken to more than 300 people, including Amazon employees past and present, along with business rivals and partners. On the larger matters of how Jeff Bezos and Amazon got to where they are today, Stone said, he feels quite confident:
Still, I'm not so high on my own authority to ignore the obvious: there are details of this story that only Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos can know. If they point to errors, I'll gladly correct them. But I'd also proudly note that no one has taken issue with the major revelations in my book, such as Bezos's Amazon.Love memo, the Cheetah and Gazelle negotiations with book publishers, the MilliRavi press release, the fight with Diapers.com and LoveFilm, and on and on.