World's Richest Man Learned Work Ethic as a Kid on a Cattle Ranch

Jeff Bezos, standing next to a Blue Origin rocket on his 165,000 acre ranch in west Texas.
( Jeff Bezos )

Jeff Bezos, creator and owner of Amazon.com, is the world’s richest man with an estimated wealth of $130 billion and he points to summers spent on the family ranch as a turning point in his adolescence development.

During an interview with Business Insider, Bezos shared insights on his life and how lessons he learned over the years helped build the world’s largest online retail website.

One of the most interesting details was that Bezos attributes much of his success to working cattle with his grandfather, Lawrence Preston Gise. From the age of 4 to 16 Bezos spent summers helping on the family ranch in South Texas.

“He created the illusion for me when I was 4 years old that I was helping him on the ranch. Which, of course, cannot have been true. But I believed it,” Bezos says.

As with most ranch kids Bezos rode around in the pickup or on horseback checking cattle. Eventually as he grew older he started to do jobs around the ranch. Bezos would help his grandfather fix windmills, build fence, repair heavy machinery and even perform some veterinary procedures such as sewing up a prolapsed cow.

“One of the things that's so interesting about that lifestyle and about my grandfather is he did everything himself. You know, he didn't call a vet if one of the animals was sick; he figured out what to do himself,” Bezos says.

That resourcefulness and “can do” work ethic were passed down from his grandfather while working the 25,000 acre ranch near Cotulla, Texas

“If there's a problem, there's a solution. And of course as you get into the business world and anything you do on a team, you very quickly realize that it's not just about your own resourcefulness and that it's about team resourcefulness,” Bezos says.

In the interview Bezos says that having family and other people around you who provide love and support helps you take risks, not just in business.

“When you think about the things that you will regret when you're 80, they're almost always the things that you did not do. They're acts of omission,” Bezos says.

The support of family like Bezos’ maternal grandfather helped him in creating Amazon.com and acquiring businesses like the Washington Post.

Bezos has included ranching in his business portfolio by buying the 165,000 acre Corn Ranch in 2004. The ranch located near Van Horn, Texas is home to a shuttle launch site where Blue Origin is based.  In the 2016 Land Report 100, Bezos was ranked as the 25th largest land owner in the U.S. with 400,000 acres.

The entire interview with Bezos can be watched below. He talks about life on the ranch approximately 5 minutes into the video:

Comments