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Discover 5 Jeff Bezos Book Recommendations in the Blinkist App

Jeff Bezos became a billionaire selling books, but a large part of his success came from reading them. So here are 5 Jeff Bezos Book Recommendations that will change your life.
by The Blinkist Team | Mar 22 2022

Did you order something online today, or stream a popular TV show? Chances are you used a service that Jeff Bezos helped create. However, with a net worth of approximately $188 billion, Bezos is no stranger to controversy. Nevertheless, here at Blinkist, we don’t judge a book by its cover

To get to the origin of what inspired the world’s third-richest person, we’ve compiled a list of the 5 life-changing non-fiction books that Bezos has recommended over the years.

Every one of Jeff Bezos’s book recommendations can be enjoyed in the award-winning Blinkist knowledge app. Blinkist breaks down the powerful ideas from lengthy non-fiction books into bite-sized explainers. You can get through most of Blinkist’s explainer packs in as little as 15 minutes and even take learning with you using the app’s audio function.

‘When we started most apps were for social media or gaming. We wanted to do something different and build an app that would add genuine value to someone’s life. – Holger Seim, CEO of Blinkist.

Let’s explore the 5 books that inspired Jeff Bezos to “Work hard, Have fun, and Make history.”

1. Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Based on the real-life experiences of two trailblazing tech founders, Rework is a different kind of business book that explores the world of 21st-century entrepreneurship. With straightforward language and an easy-is-better approach, this title is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. 

In his review of Rework, Bezos praised the authors for rewriting the rules of business and lauded their unconventional approach calling it “as successful as it is counter-intuitive.”

2. Built to Last by Jim Collins

Built to Last is Jeff Bezos’s favorite business book, and it’s easy to see why. Over six years, author Jim Collins and research partner Jerry I. Porras examined eighteen long-lasting companies and studied each in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. In addition, they studied the companies from their early beginnings to the present day to find out what makes certain businesses weather every storm. 

This book is filled with hundreds of specific examples and organized into a framework of practical concepts that managers and entrepreneurs can apply at all levels. Built to Last provides a master blueprint for building organizations that will stand the test of time.

3. Sam Walton: Made in America by John Huey and Sam Walton

Before Amazon, if you wanted to buy something, you had to actually go to a real store. Most likely that store would have been based on the retail principles pioneered by Sam Walton. Walton is considered by many to be a great example of the American dream in action, a man from America’s heartland who turned his Walton’s dime store into Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world. 

In Made In America, Walton expounds on the principles of discount retailing. He discusses his core values of frugality and a bias for action – a willingness to try new things and make many mistakes. There’s no doubt that Jeff Bezos took several pages out of Walton’s playbook and it’s easy to see why it has ended up in his top 5 reads.

4. The Black Swan By Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Black Swan offers insights into chaos and explores our limitations in making predictions. Our over-reliance on methods that appeal to our intuition at the expense of accuracy, our fundamental inability to understand and define randomness, and even our biology itself all contribute to poor decision making, and sometimes to “Black Swans” – events thought to be impossible that redefine our understanding of the world.

In his review of Taleb’s work, Bezos praised one of the author’s most potent ideas that “experimentation and empiricism trump the easy and obvious narrative.”

5. Good to Great by Jim Collins

Back in 2001, Amazon was just four years old and struggling to get its footing after the dot-com bubble burst. Bezos turned to author Jim Collins for advice and invited him to visit the Amazon campus. There, Collins met with Bezos and his executives where they discussed entrepreneurship and the ideas from his book, Good to Great, which was published later that year. With the wisdom of Good to Great in hand, Bezos and his team at Amazon could make necessary strategic changes to the business to draw their own blueprint for success.

After meeting Collins, Amazon seized on one of Collin’s powerful ideas, that to build a long-lasting business, one needed to develop and build momentum. Amazon shifted its focus and pivoted from concentrating on short-term profits to sustainable long-term growth. The company then successfully turned its first profit in the last quarter of 2001. Flash forward to today, and Jeff Bezos is launching rockets into space. So, perhaps if you were to check out one book from Bezos’s reading list, Good to Great may be the one to send your own ideas into the stratosphere.

Looking for other book recommendations? Check out Elon Musk and Tim Ferriss‘s reading lists.

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