Bezos had imbibed Walton’s book thoroughly and wove the Walmart founder’s credo about frugality and a “bias for action” into the cultural fabric of Amazon. He had underlined one particular passage in which Walton described borrowing the best ideas of his competitors. Bezos’ point was that every company in retail stands on the shoulders of the giants that came before it. The book clearly resonated with Amazon’s founder. On the last page, a section completed a few weeks before his death, Walton wrote:
Could a Walmart type story still occur in this day and age? My answer is of course it could happen again. Somewhere out there right now there’s someone—probably hundreds of thousands of someones—with good enough ideas to go all the way. It will be done again, over and over, providing that someone wants it badly enough to do what it takes to get there. It’s all a matter of attitude and the capacity to constantly study and question the management of the business.
Jeff Bezos embodied the qualities Sam Walton wrote about.