Book Review: Invent and Wander by Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, has survived many setbacks and challenges by maintaining a long-term perspective and remaining patient. His essays, speeches, and annual shareholder letters are all collected in Invent and Wander (2020).

They shed light on his upbringing and the long road he has traveled since founding Amazon in 1995. He describes his decision-making process and the principles that have led him to success over the years, and explains how and why Amazon is a customer-centric company.

You may be wondering if you should read the book. This book review will tell you what important lessons you can learn from this book so you can decide if it is worth your time.

At the end of this book review, I’ll also tell you the best way to get rich by reading and writing

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Lesson 1: A long-term orientation is conducive to good customer relations.

Involving the customer in the long-term planning process is a great way to build a relationship. Amazon’s methods make it possible to develop a solution, even if it takes years, once a customer need has been identified and proven to be durable and meaningful.

Amazon is confident that its low prices, wide selection, and lightning-fast shipping will always be appreciated by its customers. Jeff is confident enough in these cornerstones because of their longevity to put more money into them. He is confident that his efforts will have lasting consequences.

Amazon’s pricing strategy puts long-term customer relationships ahead of immediate financial gain. Jeff believes this pricing strategy is the best way to make long-term profits.

Although Amazon makes less money with each sale, the company continues to grow because of the trust that customers place in the company. This is another reason why the company continues to invest money in its Prime membership and other free shipping initiatives.

Today’s customers are savvy and well-informed. They consider the total price, including shipping charges, before deciding to make a purchase. The number of people taking advantage of Amazon Prime’s many benefits has increased dramatically worldwide. The number of items available for immediate shipment increased by 50% in 2009.

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Lesson 2: Instead of competing, Amazon focuses on impressing its customers.

Amazon’s drive comes from caring about its customers and not from worrying about its rivals. There are many highly successful companies that take a different approach, one that focuses on the competition. Amazon takes note of and is motivated by its rivals, but the company’s culture centers on putting the customer first.

In addition to its many other benefits, a customer-centric strategy makes businesses more proactive. When a business is operating at peak efficiency, it is immune to the effects of competitive pressure.

Prior to being compelled to do so by external factors, it is motivated internally to enhance its services by adding features and benefits. Amazon achieves this by reducing prices while simultaneously increasing value and quality, and by innovating products long before they are necessary.

The pursuit of customer satisfaction drives these kinds of investments, rather than the threat of competitors. According to Jeff, this strategy boosts credibility and delights patrons. A business can be centered in a variety of ways. It can, for instance, be directed toward the competition, a specific product, or a specific technological advancement. A customer-centric strategy, in Jeff’s view, safeguards the company’s future viability from the get-go.

There are many benefits to putting the customer first, especially given that they will always want more. When sales are booming and reviews are glowing, it’s important to remember that happy customers are hard to come by no matter how excellent your offerings may be.

The majority of customers are unhappy with your service, even if they don’t know it yet. Since you want to consistently impress them, you’ll try to anticipate their needs even before they express them to you. Nobody ever asked Amazon to include Prime, but once it was there, nobody could live without it. Numerous examples can be cited.

Lesson 3: Your choices determine who you are.

Although Jeff’s birthplace was Albuquerque, he spent his early childhood with his family in Texas and later in Florida. He graduated from high school in 1982 from Miami Palmetto. At Princeton, he excelled in theoretical physics until he was introduced to quantum mechanics. He decided to change his major because he was having so much fun with his CS and EE courses.

When Jeff realized that nothing had ever grown as fast as the Internet, he came up with the idea of starting Amazon. So the prospect of opening a virtual bookstore really appealed to him. Jeff was aware that it was a big gamble to leave his secure job at a hedge fund and pursue something that was almost certainly doomed to fail, but he did it anyway. He made a decision that he has not regretted to this day.

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life. Tell me how you plan to use your skills. When you have to make decisions, what will you do? Remain unmoved or pursue your dreams? Will you not be content, but always strive for excellence?

When you look back on your life at eighty, you will find that the major turning points are all due to choices you have made. You define yourself by the choices you have made, so make them right. The point of progress is to experience problems and setbacks along the way, learn from them, and try again.

You pull together what you have and count on yourself to get by. You strive to challenge yourself by stepping out of your usual routine. Amazon has had to face this challenge many times, and its history is full of setbacks, but those setbacks also provided countless opportunities to hone its skills and become the best it can be.

Alluding to the world’s largest river and the company’s “largest selection,” Jeff decided to name his business Amazon. He first offered books, then CDs, and later DVDs; he later expanded his offerings to include other media and goods such as electronics and toys.

Over the years, he had witnessed the rise and fall of the company’s stock price. Each era had something fascinating about it. Jeff’s focus was not only on the stock price, but also on quality control, profitability and growth. Even though the stock price was falling, the company was doing very well overall. All Jeff had to do was keep moving forward.

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Lesson 4: Make consistent efforts to earn people’s trust

Through consistent efforts, you can build a good reputation and gain people’s trust. The United States military, for example, is highly regarded and trusted because it has consistently achieved remarkable results under difficult conditions. It is both simple and complicated. Overcoming challenges is difficult, but it is essential to building trust, which is why it is so important. Competence and honesty are just two of the many meanings.

To be credible, commitments must be kept. In 2018, Amazon delivered more than one billion packages. If the company says it will do something, it will do it. Another benefit is clarity.

It’s easier to get people to participate when they know exactly what’s expected of them. Jeff envisions a world where people can respectfully disagree and still work together because the world is a big democracy with lots of opinions.

Jeff is concerned that if Amazon creates a culture where employees get free massages and other trendy perks, they will stay for the wrong reasons (despite Amazon’s competitive salaries).

In other words, he hopes those involved will stay loyal to the cause. He’s looking for believers, not mercenaries. It’s easier to attract and retain high-caliber employees when their work has a clear purpose and they are empowered to make a difference.

Lesson 5: There are two different types of failure: experimental failure and operational failure.

Jeff has always distinguished between experimental failure (which should be celebrated) and operational failure. Poor execution is to blame when what you have built turns out to be a failure. This is clearly not successful failure.

But if you try to create something new and make some mistakes, that’s a good kind of failure. To innovate and invent effectively, you must first be able to distinguish between these two common types of setbacks. You need the right people for this task. They should be the kind of creative thinkers who will look elsewhere if they are not given the freedom to experiment at work. This may seem simple on paper, but in practice it proves to be quite difficult.

Governments, government agencies, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations are not exempt from the scrutiny, inspection, and audit that other large companies and institutions receive. This is not something to take personally. Jeff repeatedly stresses the importance of keeping an open mind when being audited by Amazon.

They will go to great lengths for nothing. It’s natural to go through an audit. It is not only good for you, it is essential. Jeff is confident that Amazon’s employees are resourceful enough that the company will be able to comply with all new regulations while meeting customers’ demands for low prices, fast shipping, and a wide selection.

Jeff Bezos established the Bezos Day One Fund in 2018 with the intention of supporting low-income communities and families experiencing homelessness by awarding grants to nonprofit organizations that provide services and support to these populations.

Different people have different interests when it comes to making a difference in the world. Jeff Bezos, for example, is passionate about the issues of homelessness and inadequate preschool education.

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Lesson 6: Day One mentality

Because of his firm belief that Earth is superior to all other planets, Jeff founded the space company Blue Origin in 2000. He wants to fly into space to protect the Earth. For our blue Earth, which will eventually run out of energy, he has aptly named his company Blue Origin.

Energy is a key factor in this day and age of rapid development and increased vitality. If you put your mind and energy into something, you can accomplish a lot. Despite our unwillingness to reduce our energy consumption, we have reached an unsustainable level. In the meantime, although we can improve our energy efficiency, our annual energy consumption has still increased by 3% over the past centuries.

If humanity succeeds in colonizing space, Jeff says, it will have access to an abundance of resources. Usability is of paramount importance. For example, there is a lot of ice on the Moon that could be used to store water, making it a resource-rich environment.

When comparing how difficult it is to travel to the Moon and Mars, the Moon clearly wins. It can be reached in three days, and its gravity is six times weaker than Earth’s, which means materials can be mined and transported with much less effort.

Jeff has retained the enthusiasm and drive of day one in everything he does. He still believes Amazon can be big enough to compete, but small enough to feel like a startup.

About The Author

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos holds the title of the richest man in the world, a title he says he never aspired to; he is also comfortable with being the second richest. He believes that entrepreneurial capitalism should be used to help the world, and Amazon has succeeded.

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Invent and Wander Quotes

“We will continue to focus relentlessly on our customers.”

 

“We realized that the web was, and still is, the World Wide Wait. Therefore, we set out to offer customers something they simply could not get any other way and began serving them with books.”

 

“In 1997, we worked hard to expand our business infrastructure to support these greatly increased traffic, sales, and service levels: Amazon. com’s employee base grew from 158 to 614, and we significantly strengthened our management team.”

 

“It’s not easy to work here (when I interview people I tell them, ‘You can work long, hard, or smart, but at Amazon.”

 

“We now know vastly more about online commerce than when Amazon. com was founded, but we still have so much to learn.”

View our larger collection of the best Invent and Wander quotes.

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