With Christmas almost upon us, how many of you have already purchased a gift from Amazon? The retail behemoth’s meteoric rise is one of three tales told in Billionaires, a brilliant book by Darryl Cunningham that explores the ruthless practices that have lifted four individuals to billionaire status.
Firstly, Cunningham looks at Rupert Murdoch, with his not so humble beginnings and his initial left-leanings before hitting upon a populist route that he grabbed with both hands. Secondly, there are the Koch brothers, two men who took their father’s business to unparalleled new heights and paved the way for the American politics we see today. Then, finally, there’s Jeff Bezos. Like Murdoch, he saw an opportunity and exploited it, but perhaps unlike Murdoch, he’s far from finished in his ambitions.
What unites all the tales are the four men’s willingness to take full advantage of anyone and anything that crosses their path. Their justification is that if they don’t, someone else will, so they act in a manner the average person would find reprehensible. It’s a sociopathic ruthlessness that has proved, to them at least, that the ends justify the means.
But we don’t deal with these men; we deal with the shiny, glossy companies they own, so it’s all too easy to overlook their methods. By using their companies we endorse their practices. In Amazon’s case, our desire for a bargain coupled with an everything-in-one-place structure is spelling the end of the High Street, and that’s not to mention how all the men involved in this book play the system to avoid their share of tax. It really is eye-widening reading and, if you’re like me, it should give you pause about just how you spend your money.
And if you liked that: Put Cunningham’s Supercrash on your Christmas list.