Want your kids to be successful? Have them spend a summer working on a ranch.
In a public conversation with his brother, Jeff Bezos explains how his hard work on his grandfather’s ranch taught him the skills he needed to build his Amazon empire:
In a Summit LA panel with his brother Mark Bezos, the billionaire says that he he picked up a crucial business skill from his grandfather, Lawrence Preston Gise, which he has used repeatedly through his career: resourcefulness.
“I spent all my summers on his ranch from age four to 16 and he was incredibly self-reliant,” says Bezos.
Bezos’ grandfather, who he refers to as “Pop,” lived in a rural community in the”middle of nowhere.” When machinery broke, he says, his grandfather couldn’t just call someone to come in and fix it.
“You figure out how to fix it yourself,” says the businessman. “As a kid, I got to see him solve all these problems and be a real problem solver.”
And it wasn’t just machinery that Pop would fix, adds Bezos. His grandfather even did his own veterinary work.
Pop would make needles, by hand, to suture his cattle. He would first heat up a piece of wire with a blowtorch, pound it flat, sharpen it and drill a hole into it.
“He would take on major projects that he didn’t know how to do and then figure out how to do them,” says Bezos.
The Amazon founder gives other examples of his grandfather’s work ethic and self-reliance. One summer, the two built a house from scratch and he also recalled helping his grandfather fix a broken bulldozer.