Jeff Bezos is one of the most successful entrepreneurs out there, able to build a company deeply integrated into people’s lives, all but ignoring Wall Street, and constantly looking toward the future.
But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t value other people’s advice. In a post on LinkedIn, CNBC tech correspondent Jon Fortt said the Amazon CEO had three all-day book clubs for his senior managers over the summer.
It’s not a surprising management technique from a man who revers the written word. He typically starts meetings of his “S-team” of senior executives with 30 minutes of silence while they read through dense, six-page printed memos, so they’re all starting with the same ideas and framework in mind.
In the recent book clubs, Bezos had those top executives read classics that helped him sketch out the future of his company. They are:
Drucker is one of the principle founders of modern management theory, helping create and broadly popularise ideas that seem commonplace now, like the fact that companies should be decentralized rather than run via command and control, and “management by objectives,” where both leaders and employees work toward a set of goals they understand and agree on.
This particular book focuses on how to develop the personal habits of time management and effective decision-making that allow an executive to stay productive and contribute their best to an organisation.
This book, first published in 1997, can safely be called one of the most influential business books of all time. Even if the term “disruption” has since been co-opted by the startup world and dramatically overused, his core theory of how businesses get disrupted is just as relevant today. New technology allows smaller companies to make cheaper products, which at first appeal only to customers at the margins. But before the largest businesses realise it, they take over entire markets.
The last book is very different from the two previous ones. It’s not a classical business book based on a series of studies of a real-world company, but is instead a novel about a manager tasked with turning around a failing manufacturing plant. It sounds strange, but it was a best-seller and has helped spawn business theories in its own right.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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