By Heather Clancy
December 6, 2016

There it goes again. Amazon, the most disruptive retailer since Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward hit the scene is noodling again on something new. It’s called Amazon Go, a convenience-store-sized shop staffed by robots and sensors rather than humans.

As with much of what Amazon does, this is only a test. Its current Amazon Go store in Seattle is only open to employees for now. But Amazon is like a computer virus: It probes, it examines, it learns. And then it attacks. The company announced Amazon Go with a video, and Fortune’s Andrew Nusca and Robert Hackett also produced a video discussing the move. I’m with Nusca, who argues that Amazon is a master at building on top of its existing infrastructure. Just as Amazon Web Services was able to jumpstart itself by being its own best customer, Amazon’s massive distribution network is a natural partner to a chain of convenience stores.

Amazon doesn’t succeed at everything it does. (Think: Fire Phone.) Nor does it do everything quickly. It has been investigating the grocery business for years without achieving the dominance it has in online commerce. But when Amazon tries something new, it is worth paying attention.


I once sat next to Bill Gates at a dinner, and I was flabbergasted not only by his raw intelligence but also by the range of topics in his repertoire. He could go from medical science to computer security to political philosophy and back again in the span of five minutes. The reason Gates can hold forth on so many things is that he’s a voracious reader. (I always wished I could take “reading weeks,” as he did when he was CEO of Microsoft.) Take a moment and look at his recommendations of the best books he’s read this year. It is an eclectic bunch, and the list speaks to the philanthropist’s fertile mind.

Have a literate day.

Adam Lashinsky


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