On a lighter note, this past September the frenetic and often secretive Amazon CEO leaked his required business reads for company executives to the press, causing a big stir. The titles that were featured during one of his company’s three all-day summer book club events for senior managers included The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker, The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen and The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt.
But one overlooked hidden gem of a recommendation from the CEO of the world’s largest bookstore that readers may not be aware of comes from an interesting July 1998 interview. In the interview, Bezos clues us in as to his favorite book: Remains of the Day, a novel by by Kazuo Ishiguro.
In the fascinating interview, Bezos is asked what types of books he liked to read, to which he responds:
“I happen to be a huge science fiction fan, and I probably read two or three books a month. Probably two of them are science fiction books and one of them is a business book. And then my wife occasionally convinces me to read some real literary fiction, and actually a couple of years ago introduced me to my favorite book of all time, which is Remains of the Day, which is just the perfect novel.”
Remains of the Day, set in the mid-1950s, tells the story of a British butler named Stevens who takes a six day roadtrip through England’s West Country. During the trip the butler rekindles memories about his life, including his experience with tyrannical government, world wars, and an unrealized love affair.
Goodreads, in which the book is rated very highly at 4.08/5 with a whopping 63,408 ratings, describes the novel as “dazzling…a sad and humorous love story, a meditation on the condition of modern man, and an elegy for England at a time of acute change.”
Amazon’s cumulative rating is also highly impressive at 4.6/5 with 318 reviews.