Drawing lessons directly from the book, Bezos unshackled Kessel from Amazon's traditional media organization. “Your job is to kill your own business,” he told him. “I want you to proceed as if your goal is to put everyone selling physical books out of a job." Bezos underscored the urgency of the effort. He believed that if Amazon didn't lead the world into the age of digital reading, then Apple or Google would. When Kessel asked Bezos what his deadline was on developing the company's first piece of hardware, an electronic reading device, Bezos told him, “You are basically already late."
Consumer culture tells us we can do it all, yet we become paralyzed by endless options. FOMO, the fear of missing out, according to author Patrick McGinnis, is now accompanied by FOBO, the fear of better options: “I noticed that my classmates and I were always optimizing. We hedged, lived in a world of maybes and were paralyzed at the prospect of actually committing to something, out of fear that we might be choosing something that wasn't the absolutely perfect option.”! McGinnis reports that the fear of better options leads ultimately to the fear of doing anything. Unlimited options and the search for lifestyle perfection leaves us paralyzed. And paralysis prevents renewal.
Soon after Thanksgiving, predictably, Amazon was failing to keep the most popular toys in stock. Kerry Morris, the buyer who joined Amazon from Walmart, says she organized Amazon employee visits to Costco and Toys “R” Us stores around the country and had them scoop up supplies of Pokémon toys and Mattel's Walk ’N Wag dog, which were hot that season. She cleaned out the inventory of Pokémon products on the brand-new ToysRUs.com website and had everything shipped to Fernley, exploiting a rival's freeshipping promotion. “Because they were so new to the e-commerce space that year, they really did not have the tools to alert them to us wiping out their inventory until it was too late," Morris says.
Parking was scarce and expensive. Nicholas Lovejoy suggested to Bezos that the company subsidize bus passes for employees, but Bezos scoffed at the idea. "He didn't want employees to leave work to catch the bus," Lovejoy says. "He wanted them to have their cars there so there was never any pressure to go home."
“You can work long, hard, and smart, but at Amazon.com you can pick only two out of three.” Now the young CEO liked to recite, “You can work long, you can work hard, you can work smart, but at Amazon you can't choose two out of three."
Bezos's parents, Mike and Jackie, were nearing the end of a threeyear stay in Bogotá, Colombia, where Mike was working for Exxon as a petroleum engineer, when they got the phone call. “What do you mean, you are going to sell books over the Internet?” was their first reaction, according to Mike Bezos. They had used the early online service Prodigy to correspond with family members and to organize Jeff and MacKenzie's engagement party, so it wasn't naïveté about new technology that unnerved them. Rather, it was seeing their accomplished son leave a well-paying job on Wall Street to pursue an idea that sounded like utter madness
Afeedback loop is at play, our radical individualism and culture of deconstruction have rejected many of the cultural resources-such as community, traditions of moderation and restraint, and even the valuing of routine-with which we historically absorbed social anxiety. With these buffers gone, levels of anxiety escalate. The more anxious the culture became, the more crises were created, leading to poorly thought-through and anxious solutions to our dilemma, exacerbating our problems.
Friedman discovered that the health of human systems is linked to the leaders in their midst. Whenever he encountered a toxic emotional system in regression, Friedman would inevitably find a leader who had been created by, and who perpetuated, the poisonous system, a leader who was "a highly anxious risk-avoider, someone who is more concerned with good feelings than with progress, Someone whose life revolves around the axis of consensus Consensus can be a good thing, yet in a time of high emotional regression and immaturity, and the resulting fear of offense, consensus ties an organization, family, or church to the will and emotional level of its most immature, dysfunctional, and resistant members, who through consensus are given a lever with which to hold the human system hostage.
The individual receives constant messaging from the culture that to be happy and content we need increase our input of free dom. Releasing more freedom into our already overflowing tank of freedom would not solve the problems created in our system by our low reserves of meaning and the relational. Just buying more stuff and consuming more experiences cannot fill these gaps. Our tanks of freedom are overflowing, bursting at the seams, yet our tanks of meaning and the relational are dry and empty. The output of such a lopsided system is isolation and an increas- ing mental health crisis of escalating levels of depression and anxi- ety. The expansion of choice anxiety and information overload has created an endless sense of confusion and lostness, leading many to recoil from making any forward steps, in fear of making the wrong decision. For many, especially in emerging generations, a sense of pa- ralysis has become the norm.
The hyper-mutant capitalism and the project of cultural deconstruction work together, pushing the individual into increasing atomization and meaninglessness. Both see the height of human good as the experience of pleasure and positive feelings. Hedonism, the pursuit of pleasure, becomes foundational to our vision of the good life. The individual offered unparalleled consumer choice, the ability to construct an identity, to grasp a bold new future of freedom and opportunity through accelerating technology.
Reflecting on this culture of promise, anthropologist Thomas De Zengotita warns that “there is no going back to reality. Social media and emerging technologies have made this place immersive, therefore, “We have been consigned to a new plane of being ... a place where everything is addressed to us, everything is for us, and nothing is beyond us anymore.” This is the culture of superabundance, which doesn't simply promise a life of comfort and opportunity but also offers a never-ending parade of consumer goods and experiences. Older forms of consumerism required the individual to travel to stores or malls in search of satisfaction. This next stage of intensified consumerism comes to us, in the form of home delivery, downloads, and streaming, all increasing the strength of our individualism.
Research around the values and lifestyles of emerging generations, such as millennials, often used to point toward a more progressive, atheistic future. Yet what is missed is that this is usually only true of Western-born young adults. Evidence of this can be found in my own country of Australia,' which has embraced a vigorous policy of multiculturalism and significant large-scale immigration. Indian and Chinese born millennials, two of our current largest migrant groups, are significantly better educated, better savers, more religious, more socially and politically conservative, marry younger, and have more children than locally born millennials. One doesn't need to be a sociologist to predict where this trend will lead.
Students didn't come to be spoon-fed but to become teachers themselves. They understood that we learn best when we have to teach what we are learning. Those coming to study groups would be given a few pages or a chapter of a book of Communist theory to learn before they arrived. Knowing they could be randomly chosen to present, they came prepared to teach the material to the group. This practice turned passive students into active teachers
An engineer named Christopher Scholes designed the QWERTY layout in 1873 specifically to slow typists down; the typewriting machines of the day tended to jam if the typist went too fast. But then the Remington Sewing Machine Company mass-produced a typewriter using the OWERTY keyboard, which meant war lots of typists began to learn the system, which meant that other typewriter companies began to offer the OWERTY keyboard, which meant more typists began to learn it, et cetera, et cetera. To them that Il be given, thought Arthur-increasing returns. And now that is a standard used by millions of people, it's essentially locked that still me hath shall be given, though QWERTY is a standard in forever.
He left for America and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. "From the moment I set foot here, I felt right at home,". he says. "This was the sixties. The people were open, the culture was open, the scientific education was second to none. In the United States, anything seemed possible."
Susan Arthur had seen her husband returning from the academic wars before. "Well," she said, trying to find something comforting to say, I guess it wouldn't be a revolution, would it, if everybody believed in it at the start?"