A futuristic yet pragmatic work that provides a peek into Amazon’s IoT prowess.


The Amazon Way on IoT


From the The Amazon Way series , Vol. 2

An insightful study of Amazon.com’s Internet of Things practices that aims to help guide business leaders in applying this emerging technology.

While some executives may perceive that the “Internet of Things” is merely a catchphrase, Rossman (The Amazon Way, 2014) thinks differently. He cites studies that suggest that nearly 20 billion devices will be connected via the internet by 2020 and that as much as $11 trillion annually will be saved through IoT–related efficiencies by 2025. As a former Amazon executive, Rossman has an insider’s perspective on exactly how that company has been pursuing its IoT strategy. Before he explores “the Amazon way,” however, he offers a cogent, detailed overview of IoT itself, which he characterizes as “the ability to create digital awareness of the physical world we live in.” He provides several illustrations of how cities are already employing IoT to improve the lives of ordinary citizens; people in Santander, Spain, he notes, use a smartphone app that offers “services like parking search, environmental monitoring, the digital city agenda, and deals from local merchants.” This background helpfully demonstrates that IoT is far from theoretical. The bulk of the book is centered on 10 principles, one per chapter, that Rossman believes represent Amazon’s strategic use of IoT. He describes each in detail and supports it with numerous specific examples of Amazon’s own applications. For instance, Principle 1, “Reinvent Customer Experiences with Connected Devices,” discusses Amazon’s obsession with its customers, highlighting breakthrough features such as customer reviews, free everyday shipping, one-click shopping, and Prime membership. Particularly interesting is the behind-the-scenes detail surrounding two newer innovations, “Dash buttons,” which allow automatic orders by the pressing of a single button, and drones. Other principles, which include “Do the Math: How IoT Enables Data Collection, Metrics, and Algorithms” and “How to Become a Platform Business Using the Internet of Things,” are no less intriguing. Rossman’s observations throughout are really the heart of the book, as he breaks each principle down into logical steps and, more importantly, counsels readers about how to apply Amazon’s lessons to any business. Sagacious advice, such as “Successfully innovating with the Internet of Things requires a big and powerful vision, but to reach that vision, you’ll need to create and learn from a series of small, agile experiments,” is both sensible and reassuring.

A futuristic yet pragmatic work that provides a peek into Amazon’s IoT prowess.

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-73900-6

Page Count: 168

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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