A book can either change your life for better or worst depending on the kind of book you read and how you apply it. For Jeff Bezos, Amazon owner and world wealthiest person, a book had turned his finance around from zero to billions.
In a recent podcast with Kara Swisher, author and former Stanford professor Jim Collins discusses his relationship with Bezos, and how one of his very own business books changed the game for Amazon at a time when it had not yet turned a profit.
Though, Amazon began as an online bookstore, but with the help of this Jim Collins book, Jeff Bezos transformed it into the diversified giant it is today.
Back in 2001, Amazon was just four years old–struggling to get its footing after the dot-com bust. Looking to Collins for advice, Bezos phoned the author and eventually invited him over to visit the Amazon campus.
Jim Collins met with Bezos and other Amazon executives and he discussed the core ideas from his upcoming book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, which was published later that year.
Collins covered at length the main focus ofGood to Great–the idea that business growth and success can be viewed like a giant flywheel. What a company spends its time doing, explained Collins, should be concerned with developing and building momentum.
Causal linkage is the key here–Collins’s work suggested that a company should focus on building one thing in order drive another.
“If you can get the compounding momentum of your flywheel in a world that wants you to do something quick and overnight, it’s an enormously powerful thing,” Collins said.
With the wisdom of Good to Great in hand, Bezos and his team at Amazon were able to make necessary strategic changes to the business in order to set their own flywheel up for success.
After meeting with Collins, Amazon shifted from focusing on short-term profits to instead concentrating on sustainable long-term growth. The company then successfully turned its first profit in the last quarter of 2001.
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