I just finished Invent and Wander by Jeff Bezos, which is a collection of his annual shareholder letters, as well as some personal essays/speeches he’s given. Insanely good — some lessons I learned:
The first thing that I learned which was really quite inspiring is just how much crazy turmoil Jeff Bezos was able to endure. For example, learning that at the height of the Internet bubble, Amazon was worth $109 a share, and then plummeted to six dollars a share. Ouch. (as said by Jeff). The reason why this was so inspiring was that during that period, so many of these loser pundits predicted the failure of Amazon. Even one fool said that Barnes & Noble would eat Amazons breakfast.
Another thing I love learning was in fact, Jeff Bezos was quite self-made. Also learning that his mom had him when she was 17 years old, and would actually attend her college classes with Jeff, as a young child, with two backpacks. One backpack full of her books, and the second book full of diapers and toys to entertain Jeff during class.
Also something inspiring is when he talks about his father, not his biological father, but his “real” father. How his father was a Cuban immigrant to America, and because his fathers mom thought that America would be cold, she sewed him a jacket made out of spare cleaning rags, the only material she had access to. Apparently they still have that jacket in their living room.
Also, the notion of day one. The idea that every day is day one, which gives you the motivation and spirit to always be scrappy and hungry. To not sit on your laurels.
Oh also a practical thing is that apparently him and his wife let their kids play with sharp knives ever since they were four years old, and let them play with power tools when they were nine years old. His wife apparently said to naysayers, “I would rather have a resourceful kid with nine fingers, than a kid with 10 fingers who is not resourceful”.