One of my favorite things to do is ask writers whose books I love to list a few books they love; it's a great way to get excellent recommendations.
The same applies where entrepreneurship is concerned. If you're a fan of Jeff Bezos, then reading a few of his favorite books might help you uncover new perspectives, new ideas, and new ways to improve your business. (Whether you like or dislike him, from a "build a thriving business" point of view, it's hard not to respect his accomplishments.)
While sending Bezos an email is easy, getting him to respond and recommend a few books might not be.
Fortunately, the folks at Most Recommended Books have compiled a list of 24 books Bezos has recommended over the years.
Here are 10 that I also wholeheartedly recommend, along with comments from Bezos. (You'll notice a bias towards operations. Ideas are nice, but execution is everything.)
1. Built to Last by Jim Collins
"My favorite business book."
2. Creation by Steve Grand
"Was influential in the creation of Amazon Web Services, or AWS, the service that popularized the notion of the cloud."
3. Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
"Unperturbed by conventional wisdom, [the authors] start fresh and rewrite the rules of business. Their approach turns out to be as successful as it is counter-intuitive."
4. The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Argues that people are wired to see patterns in chaos while remaining blind to unpredictable events, with massive consequences. Experimentation and empiricism trumps the easy and obvious narrative."
5. The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen
"An enormously influential business book whose principles Amazon acted on and that facilitated the creation of the Kindle and AWS."
6. Sam Walton: Made in America by Sam Walton
"Expounds on the principles of discount retailing and discusses his core values of frugality and a bias for action--a willingness to try a lot of things and make many mistakes."
7. The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
"Encourages companies to identify the biggest constraints in their operations and then structure their organizations to get the most out of those constraints."
8. Lean Thinking by James P. Womack
"Calls for a focus on those activities that create value for the customer and the systematic eradication of everything else."
9. Good to Great by Jim Collins
According to Everything Store author Brad Stone, "Collins briefed Amazon executives on his seminal management book before its publication."
10. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
"My favorite novel. Teaches pain of regret so well you will think you lived it."