Yesterday the Nobel Committee announced it was awarding this year's prize for literature to Kazuo Ishiguro. If you've been trying to get up to speed on the Japanese-born British writer since then, here's one fact you may not yet have uncovered: not only are Ishiguro's books beloved by critics, one is also the all-time favorite of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Bezos told an interviewer way back in 1998 that before reading The Remains of the Day, Ishiguro's most famous novel about a reserved English butler coming to terms with a dark secret, that he "didn't think a perfect novel was possible."
And Bezos again raved about the book in 2009: "If you read The Remains of the Day, which is my favorite book of all time, you can't help but come away and think, I just spent 10 hours living an alternate life and I learned something about life and about regret." This theme of the heavy burden of past mistakes apparently stuck with Bezos, as he mentioned it again in his tweet congratulating Ishiguro yesterday.
It's clear from this tweet that the book's powerful portrayal of a life lived under the shadow of regret almost certainly informed Bezos's famous "regret minimization framework," which he used in deciding to leave his cushy former career in banking to start Amazon. That, as we all know, worked out quite well.