Winning @ Amazon by Gisela Hausmann is an account of Hausmann's twenty-two-year journey as a self-published author and employee at Amazon, and a reconnoiter of its business model, operations, and treatment of their workforce. Hausmann's early experience of self-publishing on Amazon in 1997 is basically a masterclass in bucking tradition and leveraging Amazon's sales rank system to market her book. Despite personal hardship, loss, and changes to the platform, Hausmann remains with Amazon and begins working at a local Amazon delivery station in 2019. During this time she witnesses operational inconsistencies, safety hazards, and a disconnect between Amazon's customer-centric claims and the reality of their practices. As these issues really soar during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hausmann leaves and publishes Inside Amazon: My Story. She credits her work as a possible catalyst of some of the positive changes she sees upon her return and sincerely encourages those working in any sector to take a hard look at their employers, consider other career options if needed, and remain resilient for optimal success.
I love books where an author gives us a “You got this!” feel as they share their personal story, and this is exactly what I got while reading Winning @ Amazon by Gisela Hausmann. I actually live about a mile from the largest Amazon sorting facility in London and while I've certainly heard grumblings on their practices, this is the first time I've gotten an in-depth account on the experience as a whole. Hausmann's assessment is authentically balanced. Amazon does a lot of things wrong, and there is plenty of room for improvement, but there are also areas where they are good. I didn't even know self-publishing on Amazon was a thing in the 90s! What's hilarious is that this is when Amazon was a straight-up bookseller and not the behemoth they are now. The bookending of self-publishing was definitely my favorite part, and Hausmann's eye on the impact of COVID-19 was superb. Amazon was essentially the savior of city folk in the pandemic...but at what cost? Hausmann's writing is clean and she herself is relatable, and I have no doubt others who read this will feel the same. Very highly recommended.
Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
“Inside Amazon: My Story” by Gisela Hausmann is a thought-provoking, eye-opening memoir by a woman who admired Amazon during her many years of experience with the company. That seems to have changed with the unbelievable things the company is doing, which are described in this book. The author went from a woman who appreciated the company for the ground breaking platform for self-publishing, to a woman who was fed up with the mismanagement of the safety of workers in the name of profit.
I could not believe how she was overlooked several times for promotions even though she often offered suggestions for improvement to help the company. The author offers several reasons for why the company has a very high turnover rate for employees. The book really opened my eyes to a company that could do so much more for employees but fails to do so continuously.
Also, examples are given for why customers do not actually come first. This can be seen during a search for products on the website. Sponsored products are shown first and often do not even pertain to the desired product. This also is concerning for authors who publish on the platform. Sponsored products will take precedence over authors' hard work of promoting their author brands. Examples of this can be found within the book as well as the resources provided at the back of the book.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who orders or who has ordered from the company, as well as all authors who use the platform for publishing. Anyone who is concerned about the environment will also find this book eye-opening. The book really makes one think about supporting a company that appears to only care about profit.
Jessica Adams, Indie Author
Inside Amazon is Gisela Hausmann’s account of her relationship with Amazon, and she delivers a fascinating read about her two very different experiences. Her first experience begins with her self-published children’s alphabet book, Obvious Letters. With this journey, she learns so much about the challenges of generating sales for self-published books and watches as Jeff Bezos and Amazon learn many of the same lessons. The author’s back and forth about the details of how Amazon reacts to market shifts is good reading. A significant result for Ms. Hausmann: she absorbs enough to write a strong selling book, Naked Truth About Getting Book Reviews, now in its 4th edition. She continues her writing and self-publishing activities. As a big fan of Bezos and Amazon, she becomes a careful observer of Bezos and his moves and even buys Amazon stock. Between Ms. Hausmann’s dealings with Amazon, she gains experience with FedEx in logistics. She also works with a non-vessel operating common carrier and freight forwarder shipping containers to the Middle East, providing the expertise she needs when she applies to Amazon Logistics.
Ms. Hausmann’s second encounter with Amazon begins when she joins Amazon Logistics in 2019 at the local warehouse where she lives. Initially, she believes the organization lives up to its promise “we’re customer-obsessed” and follows Amazon’s leadership principles which Ms. Hausmann frequently cites in her narrative. But, while her introduction to the warehouse facility is favorable, the actual working conditions differ from her initial impression within weeks. Her descriptions of activities and workplace responses are not surprising, and her disappointment in Amazon is understandable. Anyone who shops at Amazon will find this an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at Amazon’s back end. But all the credit for such an engaging read goes to Ms. Hausmann. She writes with a casual style that reads like a conversation. Once started, putting this book down is not an option.
Reviewed By Ruth Castleberry for Readers’ Favorite
Gisela Hausmann has done it again: produced an eminently readable, well-documented, soundly-reasoned non-fiction book that deserves a place on the bookshelves of anyone who has any association with THE GIANT ZON.
One thing I learned in forty years of administration and turnaround management of service-oriented organizations in the health and human services sector of the U.S., England, Canada and West Africa was that MBA’s are insufficient to running effective companies of people. Managers who want to excel need to add MBWA, “Management By Walking Around”—(and listening to frontline associates) to their repertoire. Amazon seems to have missed this point completely.
Oh yes, they have data, but piles of data is not knowledge. And knowledge does not become information—useful knowledge to make necessary, effective change unless it is leavened with the ability to listen to frontline associates and the willingness to incorporate their knowledge and ideas into action.
Gisela Hausmann is a master of information. And her book of her 22 years of study and 15 months of employment at Amazon gives the reader an intimate look into what happened on a day-to-day basis. How “outdated training programs, ill-designed award programs, insufficient boxes and packaging tape, shelves that made it hard for shroter people to do their job and [above all else] what looked like total unwillingness to correct deficiencies,” let Amazon go from “The most powerful supporter of the First Amendment to a company who just ‘spins off’ ideas to make money at the expense of others.”
As a student of management, we are taught not to study present methods of giant corporations, because they did not get to be as big as they are by doing what they are now doing. Ms. Hausmann’s book is as good a case study as any I have seen to drive this point home. Buy it. Read it. And if you are on any level of management, turn the knowledge you gain from the data she gives you into information.
Charles Ferraro, Winner of the Harvard Prize for Innovation, the EXCEL Award for Innovation in the Public Sector, the National Alliance of Business “Work America Award”, and three American Public Welfare Association Successful Project Awards.
Inside Amazon: My Story by Gisela Hausmann is a memoir in which Gisela shares her experience of Amazon. While most of us are only customers of Amazon, we only get one perspective of the company. Gisela Hausmann, on the other hand, has been a vendor, stockholder, self-published author, reviewer, and warehouse associate of Amazon. She, therefore, has a multi-perspective of Amazon, and this is what she shared in Inside Amazon. The main part of the book is “My Story,” which is one continuous story divided into 42 parts. In order to prove the authenticity of the story, in the “Bibliography” section, Gisela has included links to numerous articles.
Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world, and Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world. One would have thought that dealing with or working for Amazon would be a pleasant experience. In Inside Amazon, Gisela Hausmann states otherwise. In fact, some of what she shared is shocking. I really appreciate Gisela's courage in sharing what she experienced. Amazon surely won’t be pleased with her book. On the other hand, this has not always been the author’s opinion of Amazon. In Inside Amazon, she said, “My memoir tells the story of how I personally experienced Amazon going from a most powerful supporter of the First Amendment to a company who just ‘spins off’ ideas to make money at the expense of others.” Yes, based on her personal experience, Gisela Hausmann shares the ugly side of capitalism. I thoroughly enjoyed reading her story - a recommended read.
Reviewed By Tommy Wong for Readers’ Favorite
Inside Amazon: My Story by Gisela Hausmann is an exhaustive, revealing account of the author’s 20-year involvement with Amazon as an investor, reviewer, independent author, and employee in Amazon Logistics as a late shift warehouse worker. As an investor, she bought for $50/share and sold for $20. As a reviewer, she learned about not only unfair reviewer practices but also fraudulent ones. As an author, she benefitted but also complains about Amazon’s policy of using one author’s page to promote other authors. But the bulk of her book is about the trials and tribulations of working the late shift in a busy South Carolina distribution center. Here her meticulous account reveals her struggle to improve Amazon’s system for worker safety and fairness as well as for logistical efficiency.
A user of Amazon as an independent author and as a customer, I too have had a long relationship with this company. Thus, I was eager to see what an insider could show me about its inner workings. Clearly, Ms. Hausmann has legitimate complaints, and I was particularly moved by her disappointment as an employee between Amazon’s promotional language and its performance on the ground level. If she is right—and I believe her reporting is accurate from the details of her hands-on experience—Amazon has a lot of work to do to bring its motivational slogans and beautifully inspired lunchrooms to actual action on the warehouse floors, which is rough and tumble, grueling, and resistant to improvement. It’s no wonder that after advocating reasonably for change and advancement, she had no choice in her final decision. Inside Amazon: My Story by Gisela Hausmann may be exactly what Amazon needs to bring the company’s logistics and treatment of ground-level employees in line with its stated goals. I thank Ms. Hausmann for opening my eyes to some of the key inside workings of this mega-corporation.
Reviewed By Jon Michael Miller for Readers’ Favorite
Inside Amazon: My Story by Gisela Hausmann is an account of the author’s long-running relationship with the online retailer. Hausmann’s association with the company includes using them to publish her books, along with being a top reviewer on their site and working in an Amazon warehouse. She initially was a big supporter of Amazon, but her opinion changed after she began working for them. The problems she says she experienced on the job became magnified after the COVID-19 pandemic started. After more than a year working for Amazon, Hausmann left her job. Because of a non-disclosure agreement she signed when she started working for Amazon, she was not able to go into every problem in detail, but still, she discusses many issues she had with the company.
Inside Amazon: My Story by Gisela Hausmann is a fascinating book. Hausmann clearly has much inside knowledge about Amazon and writes about both the good and the bad in the company. The glimpses of life inside one of Amazon’s warehouses were intriguing. Even though Hausmann says she tried to continue admiring Amazon, she says she couldn’t. Ironically, and to both Hausmann’s and Amazon’s credit, one of the books she sells on Amazon is this one, which is without a doubt critical of the company overall. I enjoyed learning more about a business that I use to publish my books and also buy merchandise from; it was interesting to get an insider’s perspective. Everyone with an interest in Amazon or online retailing in general should read this book.
Reviewed By Joe Wisinski for Readers’ Favorite