The Bezos Letters – 14 principles to grow your business like Amazon

  • Author: Steve Anderson
  • Genre: Business

Audio version available:

About the author 

Steve Anderson is a professional speaker, consultant, author, and futurist. He hosts presentations about how businesses can leverage the online world. Additionally, he analyzes what’s going on in the world and explains it’s implications for the future.


Anderson analyzed Amazon’s shareholder letters and interviews with Jeff Bezos to determine how Amazon grew and became one of the most successful companies in the world in a relatively short time. The Bezos Letters is quite rare, it is a book that offers valuable insight into Amazon’s success strategy.

Who is it for?

Essentially, anyone interested in or associated with business should read The Bezos Letters. However, we strongly recommend you read it if you own a business. The Bezos Letters can help you become the best in your industry and prevent obsolescence. Learning about Amazon’s company culture can immensely benefit you and your business.

The growth cycle

Summary of The Bezos Letters by Steve Anderson | Summaries.Com

According to Anderson, Amazon has a growth cycle for building and innovation. The four components of it are:

Test: In Amazon innovation is not expected, it is assumed. Every team member is expected to be a leader and innovator at all times. Amazon encourages employees to always seek ways to improve Amazon. Unlike most companies, Amazon loathes being risk-averse.

Build: Once you come up with a great idea, the second step is to translate that idea into reality. Amazon makes sure to always obsess over their customers and make sure their customers are satisfied. Customers are the number one priority at Amazon, everything else (e.g profits) is put after the customer.

Accelerate: Once you build the idea, the third step is to accelerate it. When Amazon first built prime, they tested to see if the idea worked. When they determined it was good enough they started accelerating it with technology and improving it. Additionally, Amazon continually emphasizes the importance of being nimble and promoting ownership. In fact, Bezos started calling shareholders “shareowners” to promote ownership.

Scale:  Amazon maintains it’s day one culture at all costs. They believe the day a company loses it’s day one mentality it becomes vulnerable to disruption within the industry. Amazon has been able to maintain it’s leadership position due to its day one culture and desire to always raise standards.

Growth Cycle: Test

  1. Encourage “Succesful Failure” – Always learn from your failures
  2. Bet on Big Ideas – Never be risk-averse
  3. Practice Dynamic Invention and Innovation

Growth Cycle: Build

  1. Obsess over customers
  2. Apply long term thinking
  3. Understand your flywheel – Determine 3-4 core components of your business and work on accelerating them

Growth Cycle: Accelerate

  1. Generate high-velocity decisions – always remain nimble
  2. Make complexity simple – Make complex parts of your business simple
  3. Accelerate time with technology – Use technology to improve your business
  4. Promote ownership

Growth Cycle: Scale

  1. Maintain your culture
  2. Focus on high standards – always raise your companies standards
  3. Measure what matters, question what’s measured – Use data to improve your business
  4. Believe it’s always Day 1 – Promote an innovative company culture
  5. A risk and growth mindset – Refrain from being risk-averse
  6. Beyond Amazon – (This chapter is about other projects of Jeff Bezos)


It is hard for us to capture all of the lessons taught in this book. We are going to be releasing content teaching lessons from this book soon, stay tuned!

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