5 business books recommended by Jeff Bezos
Updated: Jul 17, 2022
With over 1 million employees, annual revenue of over $385 billion (2020), Amazon is the largest e-commerce site on the planet.
Behind this great success we have one of the richest men in the world, Jeff Bezos, with a fortune valued today of US$ 191 billion.
To build Amazon, it's obvious that Jeff had to learn a lot, but which books does he think built the most for his growth?
In this post we are going to talk about 5 books that Jeff Bezos recommends and that everyone should read.
1. Built to last
Known as Jeff Bezos' business book, Built to Last shows the conclusions of 6 years of research on the key characteristics that make companies last.
Jim Colins and Jerry P. analyzed 18 exceptional companies with an average age of 100 years and outperforming the stock market by a factor of 15 since 1926.
They were able to distinguish what set the visionary companies apart from the rest. In this book, they show the results of that study and some myths from the corporate world:
Myth 1: It takes a great idea to create a great company;
Myth 2: Visionary companies need visionary and charismatic leaders;
Myth 3: The most successful companies exist fundamentally to maximize profits;
Myth 4: Visionary companies share a set of “correct” values;
Myth 5: Change is the only constant;
Myth 6: The best companies are great places to work for everyone;
Myth 7: Organizations should hire outside CEOs to drive fundamental change;
Myth 8: The most successful companies focus on beating the competition.
2. The Innovator's Dilemma
The Innovator's Dilemma is one of the most influential business books in the world.
Clayton M. shows how even companies that do everything right can lose market leadership and explains how most companies don't keep up with the new waves of innovation.
In the book, two types of innovation are mentioned: Incremental Innovation and Disruptive Innovation.
Incremental Innovation is the gradual improvements customarily made by companies. We can see this a lot in car and cell phone manufacturing companies, which are constantly releasing new models and improvements.
Disruptive Innovation is basically bringing a big change to the market, bringing a technology that was in the hands of the few people to many. As is the case with SMS and Whatsapp, Taxis and Uber, Rental Companies and Netflix.
Most companies focus on Incremental Innovation and often forget about the need to perform Disruptive Innovation, allowing new companies to strongly impact their market and consequently their results.
3. Sam Walton: Made In America
Sam Walton is the founder of Walmart, the world's largest retail chain.
In the book, Sam Walton tells his own story exposing his own perspective along his successful trajectory.
In addition to the details of its trajectory, fundamental principles of Walmart's culture are mentioned, one of them being Frugality, very present in Amazon's culture.
We highlighted this and 8 more aspects of Amazon's culture in another publication where we commented on 9 management principles of the largest ecommerce in the world.
4. The Black Swan
Nassim Taleb describes a highly unpredictable and impactful event like a black swan and explains how such events are the basis for everything that happens in the world.
Events such as global crises, large-scale terrorist attacks such as 09/11 are examples of black swans that are virtually impossible to predict.
Because they are highly unexpected events, it is highlighted in the book that experts may be more blind to Black Swans in their fields by focusing too much on data and facts and not seeing less obvious trends.
In the book, tools are presented that allow us to better deal with black swans and how to take advantage of them.
Mentioned by Jeff Bezos as a book as successful as it is counter-intuitive, Rework presents a far less conventional way of building a successful business.
When someone wants to set up a company, it is quite common to receive the advice to set up a business plan, analyze the market and study the competition. Basically we prepare a lot before getting our hands dirty.
According to Jason Fried, founder of basecamp, it takes a lot less to start a business. In the Book, he brings more details and rationale behind this conclusion.