1-Sentence-Summary: Invent & Wander is a collection of Jeff Bezos’s writings and letters to its shareholders, in which he expresses his philosophy of life and his way of doing business, which ultimately led him to know tremendous success and write history with his two companies: Amazon and Blue Origin.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Jeff Bezos is a remarkable businessman. He achieved tremendous success in his lifetime and still continues to thrive. His story is one for the books. It’s worth exploring by anyone who wants to build wealth, get motivated, and achieve success of their own.
Invent & Wander delves into the life of Amazon’s founder. It compiles a series of lessons you can apply both in your personal life and professional one. From thriving in uncertain times to the importance of taking risks in business and being customer-centric, this book covers it all.
Here are my three favorite lessons from the book:
- Cross-disciplinary education and the Day 1 mentality are the key to one’s success.
- A successful company targets all efforts towards its customers and pays close attention to its employees.
- Fail productively and think ahead for a three-years-frame.
Now, we’re off to plenty of valuable insights from these lessons, which we’ll explore in detail below. Let’s start with the first one!
Lesson 1: A good businessman has the Day 1 mindset and many areas of knowledge, as it can help with making wise decisions
A famous saying goes like this: “Knowledge is power.” This idea sets the foundation for all successful endeavors you’ll experience. Jeff Bezos himself advocates for cross-disciplinary education as the pillar of success. The more you extend your knowledge, the more you’ll be able to spot patterns and face challenges in multiple fields.
Eventually, everything you read and all the skills you acquire will help you in one way or another. Whether you’re working in finance, biotechnology, or law, all fields become interrelated at some point. Therefore, read and study at every chance!
Now, let’s explore the Day 1 mentality. What is it? Essentially, it’s a winning mindset. Imagine you’re the new guy at a workplace. You feel that day 1 enthusiasm as you’re full of new ideas and are ready to give your best. As time passes by, you step into the mundane, and that mindset is starting to wear off, right?
Not for Bezos! He approaches every day with a Day 1 mentality and imposes this concept on all employees. Although it’s difficult, maintaining enthusiasm and creativity is critical for the tremendous success of both employees and the company. With a strong focus on the customers, Jeff Bezos keeps applying this principle even when his companies become a worldwide leader in their industries already, just as if it was day 1.
Lesson 2: Amazon’s tremendous success is based on its customers and hiring practices
In his letters to his shareholders, Jeff Bezos always addresses a series of principles that never change. Amazon is a company based on customers’ satisfaction, and will always place great emphasis on its clients. While other businesses try to study the competition and get ahead of their peers by adopting what works best for them and surpassing that, Amazon targets all efforts and resources toward their client base. Why is that? Well, without customers, all other operations are essentially useless.
Moreover, it’s harder to acquire new ones than it is to maintain a loyal and stable customer base. Marketing efforts can’t guarantee results, while a recurring buyer is likely to repeat a purchase if they are satisfied with their previous experiences, so there is no need to spend extended resources to pursue them.
Another aspect where Amazon succeeded is their employees. In fact, these two categories are of great interest for any company and interrelated to a great extent. A happy customer is likely the result of a preoccupied employee. Therefore, you’ll have to take care of your staff first.
Bezos spends many resources in the hiring process. He always focuses on attracting a skilled workforce and highly performant individuals. Still, he is quite strict with the employees in order to maintain the highest standards, and implicitly, ensure customer satisfaction at all costs – “When I interview people I tell them, You can work long, hard, or smart, but at Amazon.com you can’t choose two out of three.”
Lesson 3: Learn from your failures and take less decisions, but of a higher-importance when you strategize ahead in business
Bezos advocates for productive failure. So what is that? In a nutshell, he states that while you can’t prevent failures, you can learn from them and do better next time. Rethink, regroup, find the flaws in your approach, and improve it. Eventually, there will be other opportunities coming up and many other challenges to face. So improving your skills today could help you tame the storms of tomorrow.
Another advice from Amazon’s founder is that you should work on making less decisions in a day, but of higher importance. In other words, prioritize your work and give your attention and energy only for those tasks that are of high importance and high urgency. For example, instead of getting 30 things on your to-do list today, which will probably drain your energy and not leave you with enough time to finish them, try cutting the list off as much as you can, and make it a point to make less decisions.
Bezos likes to make decisions ahead of time – three-years ahead, to be precise. His business strategies seem quite successful if you look at this approach. For example, when he was congratulated for selling so many books in the dot-com bubble era, he was already thinking about introducing new items. By the time people realized the power of the internet, he was already well-positioned in the minds of customers. Therefore, you too can strategize ahead and plan as much as you can ahead of time!
Invent & Wander Review
Invent & Wander delves into the lifelong philosophy of Jeff Bezos by synthesizing his letters to shareholders and other writings that the world’s once richest man composed. By looking at the way he is running his corporation to how he balances his passions and personal life, you’ll find great advice you can apply to all areas of your life. To achieve success implies a lifetime of hard work, dedication, taking risks, and calculating variables to get the desired outcomes. This book will help you learn how to do those things.
Who would I recommend the Invent & Wander summary to?
The 30-year-old entrepreneur who wants to thrive in his professional life and grow their business, the 22-year-old business administration or finance student who wants to extend their knowledge in this field outside their curricula, or the 40-year-old start-up founder who wants to work on their mindset and build a successful company by following the advice of the greatest businessmen in the world.