Recently, the big news was that Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon online store, had become the richest person in the world. The ranking, however, can quickly change because it largely depends on the stock prices of companies the richest people own, which is why Bill Gates or Warren Buffet can take the number one position any day.
Amazon started its business as an online bookstore. Even now, when the company enters a new market, it often starts business in the country with books.
Books, reading, and learning mean a lot to Jeff Bezos who established Amazon 22 year ago. He has led the company from the beginning, and has always been regarded as a visionary. He took over the Washington Post newspaper that was on the brink a year ago. He is investing his personal money in the Washington Post, not Amazon’s corporate assets.
Amazon has invested in the creation of the ebook market probably more than any enterprise. The Kindle ereader, and the worldwide marketplace for ebooks on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and on other country-specific markets have the biggest market share of ebooks. The company is also running many other book-related business programs, such translating titles, print-on-demand, and even its own publishing imprint.
Jeff Bezos is known as an authoritarian leader. He has established rules, processes and methods that are strictly followed. Jeff’s Reading List is a list of 12 books Bezos expects Amazon employees to read. Many are related to business, but there are other themes as well.
Author Brad Stone who wrote the Bezos biography The Everything Store lists those 12 books. The author says the books have shaped Bezos’ leadership style and way of thinking. Here is the Jeff’s Reading List.
– The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro: a fictional story about the First World War.
– Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins: advice from business management guru.
– Creation: Life and How to Make It by Steve Grand: building intelligent technology systems.
– Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t by Jim Collins: the author of the book has consulted Amazon as well.
– The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen: how new technologies disrupt existing businesses.
– Sam Walton: Made in America by Sam Walton: Walmart founder’s biography.
– Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation by James Womack and Daniel Jones: lean thinking method.
– Memos from the Chairman by Alan Greenberg: a collection of memos from the Bear Stearns Chairman to the employees. (Bezos worked for an investment bank before starting Amazon.)
– The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.: small groups of engineers can be more effective than large groups.
– The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvements by Eliyahu Goldratt: lessons for manufacturing.
– Data-Driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know by Mark Jeffery: how to measure everything – has become a must at Amazon.
– The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb: the power of events with massive consequences.