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Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  4,150 ratings  ·  516 reviews
In this collection of Jeff Bezos’s writings—his unique and strikingly original annual shareholder letters, plus numerous speeches and interviews that provide insight into his background, his work, and the evolution of his ideas—you’ll gain an insider’s view of the why and how of his success. Spanning a range of topics across business and public policy, from innovation and ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 17th 2020
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Nyamka Ganni
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Walter Isaacson's introduction part. It was concise but very engaging. I wish it was a bit longer.
The rest is the collection of letters from Jeff Bezos. After reading, I wanted to read the full version of Bezos' biography written by Isaacson.
Michael Payne
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Do the right thing. With Amazon at 1.6 trillion dollars and Bezos the richest man on earth there is no disputing that Jeff Bezos wins many prizes. He has helped create something that most everyone with an internet account has used to conveniently enjoy the wonders of ecommerce and web services (he even owns Goodreads here, kudos). For pioneering he deserves our thanks and applause, his humility as the son of a high-school mom and immigrant dad shine through. Thank you, Jeff. Winning, however, is ...more
Alok Kejriwal
80% of the book are yearly letters Jeff Bezos has written to Amazon shareholders & some general chapters. (Lots of repetitions throughout).

The Gold inside:

- When Steve Jobs’s ideas or proposals would seem impossible to implement, he would use a trick he learned from a guru in India - he would stare at his colleagues without blinking and say, "Don't worry, you can do it".

- Taunted on a TV show for his early losses, the host asked Bezos if he could spell PROFIT. “Sure,” Bezos replied, “P-R-O-P-H-E
Dec 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
Anyone who gave this book a 4 or a 5 didn't actually read it.

It's literally just shareholder reports compiled into one. You can get them online for free.

Nothing helpful in the book at all that hasn't already been published in those reports.
Rishabh Srivastava
Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was astounded by the consistency of Jeff Bezos' vision and messaging to shareholders over 25 years. This book was a collection of Bezos' letters to shareholders, as well as speeches that he has given. My main takeaways were:

1. It’s not enough to invent. You must be able to build a vision that a large number of people share, and that gets them to work in a concerted way

2. Have the discipline of writing a detailed plan and understand the key factors that influence an issue. Even though the plan
Sathappan Sathappan
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
It is ok. Wouldn't recommend it.Nothing new in the book.

It is a compilation of annual letters to shareholders. And second part of the book is - what feels like - stuff bezos probably spoke into a voice recorder in one afternoon.
Sep 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Invent and Wander is separated into 3 sections, the biographical introduction, his letters to shareholders, and some personal writings.

The introduction is excellent. Walter Isaacson is a masterful writer. I was drawn into Bezos' history and story, and it was fascinating to learn more about him beyond Amazon as well as more about Amazon beyond my personal experience with the brand.

But Isaacson goes into such great detail that the rest of the book was mostly redundant and boring to read one after
Sumit Gouthaman
May 10, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The majority of the book is simply composed of Bezos’ various annual shareholder letters. You should skip it if you’ve already been reading it each year.

The second part compiles together various speeches. A lot of the stories here are repetitive. But I did find the portion about space exploration very persuasive and it convinced me to to change my opinion on certain topics.
Sebastian Gebski
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
With all the respect to JB, Amazon, and AWS, this is NOT a good book.

First of all - I have no clue who is it for. Why so?

It consists of 3 parts:
* the intro (by Isaacson) - which 100% repeats the stuff (LITERALLY!) from part 3
* annual letters to shareholders (by Bezos) - which are informative to some degree, present the evolution of Amazon over the years, give a brief glimpse of Amazon's culture and JB's philosophy, BUT ... FFS - these are letters to shareholders - there's a lot of "internal mark
Yevgeniy Melekhov
Feb 09, 2021 rated it did not like it
it is terrible "book". it is not even a book.

just read the Amazon annual letter form 1998 and few random ones thru years. it will take you 10 min and won't cost you anything and you will cover main Amazon ideas. There is no added value in this book at all. the same words are repeated like a dozen times and it is annoying.

It felt like youtube ads, that was 4h long on repeat. I actually paid to listen that. I want my money back.
Aug 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
Fascinating experience to read the investor letters in hindsight, knowing what actually happened in the future. You can only connect the dots looking backwards…it’s an instructive journey from first principles of building a company. Gotta say Bezos towers over any other business leader in terms of combining long term patience and short term action.
Mar 30, 2021 rated it did not like it
A pompous ramble into the history of Amazon. This might be the best example of corporate propaganda available right now. The first half of this text is mostly focused on a basic history of the company, Bezos' focus on the customer whilst ingoring staff needs and an orgy of congratulating the "free market" solutions available to him.

It's like at some point he gains some sort of conscious and starts to talk about ways he helps his employees whilst ignoring he's cause of most of their issues. My fa
May 29, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: finance
The Good:
- Fast read.
- GREAT introduction by Walter Isaacson; he's always a treat!
- Amazing to watch Amazon grow through the shareholder letters from the mid-90s to present-day.

Some great sticky ideas:
- "One-way/Two-way door" decision making framework: don't apply the same deliberate, slow, meticulous decision process of one-way decisions to reversible two-way decisions. Act fast.
- "Disagree and commit". Even if you disagree with a course of action, you can get to the important part - the
Dec 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Great stuff in this book, but far too much redundant information to give it more than three stars.

I think Amazon is an amazing company and the book gives some good insight into what driving forces resulted in their success.

However, the book is a compilation of annual letters and speeches by Bezos, so by its very nature it covers the same ground multiple times. It gets a little old hearing about how successful their market place is on the fourth read. It feels like if the redundancy was removed
Zhou Fang
Apr 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is largely collection of all the Amazon shareholder letters from 1997-2019, all of which can be found on Amazon's website for free. It also contains snippets for a few other talks that Jeff Bezos has given over the years. Many of these talks are also available online for viewing through YouTube. It's a good collection of the key ideas Bezos has wanted to expound over the years organized into one place. A few key takeaways from the book:

1. Obsess over customers - As opposed to obsess ov
Sep 08, 2021 rated it liked it
+ Five star introduction of Walter Isaacson
+ Fascinating to read about the journey of a company, growing from a small business in Bezos' garage to one of the largest companies in the world. Particularly the parts about Amazon being very customer centric.
+ Interesting vision of Blue Origin.
- Some stories are told multiple times, this repetitiveness is really annoying.
- The writings are very biased. Besides the successes, I would like to read more about the challenges/failures to get a more comple
Alex Perdiz
Apr 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
I read this book after reading Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance, It's amazing to see the complete opposite personalities of Jeff and Elon.

I loved to see Bezos's attention to detail, problem solving and customer service.

Amazon has always kept things revolutionary and cheap and the evolution of the company through the years is unbelievable. I really liked Jeff's writings and ideas year by year.

A great book for business fans.

And for growth purposes, the quote "It's Always Day 1" Is a great one to have.
Feb 22, 2021 rated it liked it
Nothing exceptional, simply the story of Amazon described through letters to shareholders.
May 02, 2021 rated it liked it
A very light-weight book with a few gems to be sifted out.

This book gets three stars because there are indeed a few real insights here, and that's worth something. Nevertheless, I advise against purchasing this book. It's got the intellectual nutritional value of a solid blog post. I got through it in approximately 3 hours. Check it out from the library, or read a summary online (like this one!).

The book is divided into three parts:

1. An introduction by Walter Isaacson

If you want to TL;DR this b
Jay French
May 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, audiobook
I’ve read a book or two about Amazon, but thought this “from the horse’s mouth” selection of Bezos’ writing would be a different take on his company’s story. Before you get to the business discussion, the book begins with an excellent introduction by Walter Isaacson. This is followed by a collection of Bezos’ letters to shareholders from Amazon’s annual reports as well as various other speeches and transcripts Bezos has given over the years. I found the introduction well written and interesting ...more
Wahyu Awaludin
Jan 03, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: entrepreneurship
it's good for amazon fan. but it's not my thing.

My favourite part just introduction. Isaacson write Bezos's biography in there. Just few pages. But it's so inspiring. Half of book was filled with annual year report of Amazon from early years until now (2019). So, it's so boring. and the half others filled with Bezos's short article about anything. The content is good but it's boring for me.

So, I gave 3 stars.
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Blezos is the alpha chad
Pulkit Tiwari
Jul 12, 2022 rated it really liked it
In one of the classic contradictions to what is expected out of a visionary, Jeff Bezos smirks that people often ask him what will change in next 10 years, which is a great exercise to do on imagination but he very rarely gets asked what will not change in the next 10 years, while the latter is the answer to creating pillars that can scale a sustainable business because of its relevance in time to come. 'New' and invention have been bed rock of several big tech giants that have scaled over years ...more
Shubham Kabra
Mar 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Amazon is one of the oldest and thriving businesses built on the internet. If you would like to know how the company has progressed from a small online bookstore to a trillion-dollar mammoth still growing strongly - this book gives you a good top-down view. It regularly talks about fundamentals on which Amazon is built. How long-term thinking has huge compounding benefits. How challenging work is a better incentive than free lunches and yoga classes for the right set of employee retention?

I spec
Ankit Dhirasaria
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Jeff Bezos is truly an inspiration for anyone and sometimes, it is not visible much effort it takes to build a massive global business. In this collection of Jeff Bezos's writings—his unique and strikingly original annual shareholder letters, plus numerous speeches and interviews that provide insight into his background, his work, and the evolution of his ideas—you'll gain an insider's view of the why and how of his success. Inspiring, engaging and interesting for those who are fascinated by suc ...more
E-Ann Wang
Jan 23, 2021 rated it liked it
Most people that work at Amazon would already know the information in this book but doesn’t hurt to reflect on Jeff’s thought process throughout the years. The end gets repetitive since he sticks to similar writing structures and stories. The most interesting parts to me were Walter Isaacson’s compelling introduction and Bezos’ plans for Blue Origin. I also thought it was funny to read about the Kindle’s initial announcement and success on my Kindle 😊
Mar 12, 2021 rated it liked it
So I did not pay close enough attention when I picked this out and was deceived, but not disappointed. This book is not an autobiography with Isaacson, but a collection of writings by Jeff Bezos with introduction by Isaacson. Not surprising given how private Bezos has been, but his professional memos and speeches include great vignettes and insights. A little repetitive if read cover to cover, but intended more as a professional reference.
Juan Pablo
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Inspiring! The most important thing is that from day one, he has been clear about his focus: surprising the customer by offering an incredible range of products, delivered faster and efficiently, and always thinking of giving them the best price. A winning formula that allows them to grow more every year. I liked the message that customers are always beautiful and wonderfully dissatisfied. Would recommend to anyone with the dream of creating something big and successful from scratch.
Arun Yuvaraj
Mar 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Things they don't teach you in B-school. This book let's you know what it takes to be an entrepreneur in a simple way. The interesting part is that you get to read all the letters Jeff wrote to shareholders from the beginning and how clear he was about achieving his goal. You will get a glimpse of how big Amazon is and why it will be difficult to replace it in the big four. The boring part is the repetition of the information all-over the book. But you will gain knowledge, if you can read betwee ...more
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I give it the 2 stars because I am a fan of Bezos as a visionary and as someone that has maniacal execution. I follow his pizza box rule and his humility and sense of urgency on it always being "day 1". That said, the author summarized for a few pages then published all of the letters to shareholders and interviews. It lacked reflection and insights on themes. ...more
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“People who love all fields of knowledge are the ones who can best spot the patterns that exist across nature.” 5 likes
“My grandfather looked at me, and after a bit of silence, he gently and calmly said, “Jeff, one day you’ll understand that it’s harder to be kind than clever.” 4 likes
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