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GOOD READS

The books Amazon thinks you should read about Jeff Bezos

Bárbara Abbês for Quartz
  • Jackie Bischof
By Jackie Bischof

Talent Lab editor

Published Last updated

In our latest field guide, we reached out to a range of people to get their insights on the impact of Jeff Bezos on tech, e-commerce, and management as he prepares to step down as Amazon’s CEO. Another way to gauge the breadth and depth of his legacy? By asking Amazon.com what books it thinks best captures his influence.

What follows is a very unscientific interpretation of the top-rated results for a recent search of “Jeff Bezos’s legacy” on Amazon.com.

Salt and Light: A Leader on a Pilgrimage (2020)

Description:

“Have you ever pondered on questions like: What are you running for? Have you been grateful to people who selflessly helped you to grow up and reach where you are today? Have you liberated yourself from your bitter past and moved ahead in life? Are you leading with your heart? If the answers are ‘No’ then the Salt and the Light is the best start.”

Choice customer review:

As a Chinese-Canadian professional working in South Korea and also heavily hands on with leadership education, this Indian approach to leadership was very intriguing to me. We in Korea are always benchmarking American leaders. Great leaders like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. Task focused, entrepreneurial but missing that spark which is sometimes necessary to ignite one’s heart through moral goodness, not business acumen…This harmonious and more spiritual approach to leading diverse people by accepting the role of bringing light and warmth to this world as a leader is something completely new to me. There is goodness in everyone and if people were all to accept their responsibility as a human being to bring light to the world, this precious planet we live on will no doubt become a better place.

Quartz’s impression: Sounds like a good option if Bezos’s leadership style is not for you.

Jeff Bezos: In His Own Words (2018)

Description:

“Offers a unique look into the mind of one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs by collecting more than 500 of Bezos’s quotes on business, technology, customer service, e-commerce, innovation, entrepreneurship, and more. Meticulously curated from interviews, speeches, shareholder letters, press releases, and other sources, this book creates a comprehensive picture of Jeff Bezos, his obsessions, and what makes his ventures thrive.”

Choice customer review:

“Excellent read, which led directly to me buying the best seller, Jeff Bezos and The Age Of Amazon, which is an even better read.”

Quartz’s impression: For when you want to learn about Bezos’s leadership style from the man himself.

Think Like Amazon: 50 1/2 Ideas to Become a Digital Leader (2019)

Description:

“What would Jeff do?” Since leaving Amazon to advise start-ups and corporations, former Amazon executive John Rossman has been asked this question countless times by executives who want to know “the secret” behind Amazon’s historic success. In this step-by-step guide, he provides 50½ answers drawn from his experience as an Amazon executive – and shows today’s business leaders how to think like Amazon, strategize like Bezos, and beat the competition like nobody’s business.

Choice customer review:

“As I was reading the book, I started texting everyone I knew in Silicon Valley and telling them to get this book.”

Quartz’s impression: For when you want to learn about Bezos’s leadership style from a man who sat near the man himself.

Reimagining Journalism in a Post-Truth World: How Late-Night Comedians, Internet Trolls, and Savvy Reporters Are Transforming News (2018)

Description: 

Amidst “alternative facts” and “post-truth” politics, news journalism is more important and complex than ever. This book examines journalism’s evolution within digital media’s ecosystem where lies often spread faster than truth, and consumers expect conversations, not lectures.

Choice customer review:

For those in search of facts and insights which might help illuminate our dimmed view of truth in media, social media, and the profession of journalism, this book offers a perspective edged by a seeming desire to create a new way to narrate our daily lives.

Quartz’s impression: For when you tire of learning about Bezos’s impact on e-commerce and want to understand his impact on media instead.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (2017)

Description:

“In the spirit of Steve Jobs and Moneyball, Elon Musk is both an illuminating and authorized look at the extraordinary life of one of Silicon Valley’s most exciting, unpredictable, and ambitious entrepreneurs—a real-life Tony Stark—and a fascinating exploration of the renewal of American invention and its new ‘makers.'”

Choice customer review:

“Before reading this book, I had always learnt about the great revolutions in the history books. But, After reading it, I realized that we are part of this great revolution created by individuals like gates, jobs, Bezos and Musk.”

Quartz’s impression: For when you’re looking for a new billionaire tech mogul to spice up your management style.

Jeff Bezos an example of success: The way to the summit (2020)

Description: 

This book revolves around the success story of Jeff Bezos, his road to the top, and all the difficulties he encountered in the beginning to reach his ultimate goal.

Choice customer review: No customer reviews

Quartz’s impression: We’re not entirely sure this is a book.

Spend Analysis: The Window into Strategic Sourcing (2008)

Description:

A growing number of senior executives are coming to realize that strategic supply management can be a significant driver of improved corporate performance and better risk management. Spend analysis is the most critical component, and the starting point, of strategic supply management and is essential to achieving world-class performance.

Choice customer review: 

“As a member of Supply Chain Council, I recommend this book to all CEOs and supply chain professionals who want to know step-by-step the process that can bring multimillion dollar savings to all corporations.”

Quartz’s impression: Perhaps to understand the king of supply chain, you need to understand supply chain optimization first.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014)

Description:

What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories. Thomas Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from 20 countries, ranging as far back as the 18th century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. His findings will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.

Choice customer review: 

“Just because Jeff Bezos has 150 billion does not mean the rest of us have 150 billion less. Seriously, stop worrying about how wealthy Jeff Bezos is.”

Quartz’s impression: Sounds about right.

Leadership, strategy, capitalism, words of wisdom: a fine list, if slightly eccentric— perhaps the fact that I had never searched for the search of wise words of a tech billionaires on Amazon.com before meant the algorithm wanted to cast a wide net in the options it sent back to my search. The algorithm caught up after my initial search, however, serving up much more conventional titles based on my “browsing history,” including Brad Stones The Everything Store and Steve Anderson’s The Bezos Letters: 14 Principles to Grow Your Business like Amazon. Perhaps watching a fast-learning algorithm in action is all we need to know about Jeff Bezos’s legacy.