Words to the Wise from the World’s Richest Man

Jeff Bezos and Amazon have become a testing ground for business-thinking in the digital era. Through an extremely long-term vision and a focus on the “huge value” of execution, Amazon has become the world’s most valuable public company, and Jeff Bezos the world’s richest man.

Jeff Bezos’ Annual Letters to Shareholders offer worthwhile insights for any business leader. Here are three of our favorites distilled from a summary of his letters from 1997 through 2017:

  1. 1998: Stay terrified of your customers. Because they’ve made your business what it is.
  2. 2015: Don’t deliberate over easily reversible decisions. Just execute – and save your energy for the consequential decisions.
  3. 2001: Measure your company by your free cash flow. “Because a share of stock is a share of a company’s future free cash flow.” And an ideal measure of value today and projected value in the future.

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