Jeff Bezos may be the richest man in the world, worth more than $105 billion, but money has always been a means to an end for him, a way for the Amazon founder to wield influence and shape the future. The single most remarkable accomplishment of his to date is that he’s fundamentally changed the culture of shopping, an implausible and tectonic shift.
“It’s hard to imagine life without Amazon.com,” said the dean of Princeton University during her introduction of Bezos, who gave the commencement speech for the graduating class of 2010. Amazon had, by that point, become a cultural icon — with Bezos right along with it.
He spoke to the class of 2010 about the choices they will face in life. “Cleverness,” he said, “is a gift. Kindness is a choice.” In a story illustrating this, he recalled something his grandfather told him: “One day you’ll understand that it’s harder to be kind than clever.”
Throughout his life, Bezos has been widely admired for the daring and difficult choices he’s made during his 54 years. We here at Entrepreneur want to celebrate them and the entrepreneur who made them.
Here are nine key choices that have shaped Bezos’ life.