(Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)

He's King Midas meets Napoleon meets Rodney Dangerfield: All the analogies the media has used to describe Jeff Bezos

The Amazon CEO is an evil, goofy, shark-like, chuckling snake-oil salesman

Prachi Gupta
June 11, 2014 6:00PM (UTC)

Last week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos got his comeuppance on “The Colbert Report” when an angry Stephen Colbert shoved two middle fingers into the air and called for a boycott in response to Amazon's bullying of Colbert’s publisher, Hachette. Colbert then hurled some wonderful invective at Bezos, calling him “Lord Bezomort,” the twin of “Harry Potter” villain Lord Voldemort. But it turns out this is not even the most colorful description of Bezos ever uttered. As the media has twisted itself into knots trying to characterize the near-mythical, "famously secretive" CEO over the past years, analogies range from flattering to frightening to baffling:

A “chuckling maniac” - Jason Pontin, 2000


"Not ... a sexless technomonk” - Gawker, 2008

“Sensei Bezos” - Quidsi co-founder Marc Lore in Businessweek, 2010

“... Like a shark” - The blog of New York Times director of digital products John Geraci, 2011

"Charismatic, charming, attractive, funny, and above all, a really nice guy” - TechCrunch, 2012


“A really evil, rotten fox” - Dennis Johnson, Melville House Publishers, 2012

Like "Rodney Dangerfield" - Self-published writer G.P. Field, 2013

Like "Steve Jobs" - Ken Auletta, 2013

A “Haver of Money” - Valleywag, 2013

The Joker - StartupBook, 2013


“Napoleon” - Literary agent Andrew Wylie, 2013

“Outwardly goofy” - James Marcus, Amazon employee No. 55 in the New York Times, 2013

“Jeff Bezos may not be the antichrist, but he surely looks like one of the four horsemen” - Jonathan Franzen in the Guardian, 2013


“A Total Genius” - Business Insider, 2013

"eCommerce's most powerful, diabolical chrome-dome" - Valleywag, 2013

“Pragmatic” - George Packer, the New Yorker, 2014

“The world’s biggest snake-oil salesman” - bookseller Roger Doeren in the New Yorker, 1995/2014


One of the 5 “cool tycoons of libertarianism” - Alternet, 2014

Like "Warren Buffett" - The Motley Fool, 2014

A “Modern day rockstar” - Forbes, 2014

“King Midas in Reverse” - Slate, 2014

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

MORE FROM Prachi GuptaFOLLOW prachiguLIKE Prachi Gupta

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Amazon Billionaire Jeff Bezos Stephen Colbert Tech Voldemort

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •