The Bezos Letters - 14 Principles to Grow Your Business Like Amazon by Steve Anderson and Karen Anderson

The Bezos Letters - 14 Principles to Grow Your Business Like Amazon by Steve Anderson and Karen Anderson

A few years ago, I was examining the impact of technology on the insurance industry. I came to realize that the biggest risk a business faces today is not taking enough risk. Because technology continues to develop so rapidly, businesses have a hard time keeping up and too often make the mistake of not embracing change fast enough. 

In researching companies that did not keep up — Kodak, Blackberry, Blockbuster, Sears — as well as those companies known for adapting quickly — Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Netflix something stood out – how they embraced risk-taking.

As I was researching Amazon, I discovered the letters Jeff Bezos wrote to what he calls shareowners starting in 1997. I realized he had hidden in plain sight his secretes to growing Amazon that any business owner can use.

The result of my research is The Bezos Letters. In the book, I deconstruct Jeff Bezos’ 21 years of personal letters to Amazon shareowners through my unique lens of risk, providing readers with a guide on the key takeaways and the 14 growth principles I believe Bezos leveraged in turning a simple online bookstore into a trillion- dollar company in just over two decades. 

The 14 principles are grouped into 4 cycles:

Growth Cycle: Test

Principle 1: Encourage “Successful Failure”
Principle 2: Bet on Big Ideas
Principle 3: Practice Dynamic Invention and Innovation

Growth Cycle: Build

Principle 4: Obsess Over Customers
Principle 5: Apply Long-Term Thinking
Principle 6: Understand Your Flywheel

Growth Cycle: Accelerate

Principle 7: Generate High-Velocity Decisions
Principle 8: Make Complexity Simple
Principle 9: Accelerate Time with Technology
Principle 10: Promote Ownership

Growth Cycle: Scale

Principle 11: Maintain Your Culture
Principle 12: Focus on High Standards
Principle 13: Measure What Matters, Question What’s Measured, and Trust Your Gut
Principle 14: Believe It’s Always “Day 1”