Careers

Kazuo Ishiguro, one of Jeff Bezos' favorite authors, wins the Nobel Prize in Literature

Bestselling author Kazuo Ishiguro has been a longtime favorite for millions of readers, including one particular book lover — Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

On Thursday, the Japanese-British novelist claimed his place in history as the 2017 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. One of the books for which Ishiguro is best known, "The Remains of the Day," is one of Bezos' favorite books.

Kazuo Ishiguro, author of "Remains of the Day" and other bestsellers, pictured in 2010.
David Levenson/Getty Images
Kazuo Ishiguro, author of "Remains of the Day" and other bestsellers, pictured in 2010.

The novel, in which a butler reflects on his life, is one of several titles Amazon employees refer to as "Jeff's Reading List," according to the unofficial Bezos biography "The Everything Store," by Brad Stone.

In fact, Ishiguro's writing changed the way the Amazon founder viewed his career, according to Stone's book.

In "The Remains of the Day" an English butler referred to as Mr. Stevens recalls his time serving in the army during WWI. The book, which was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film, explores the meaning of duty, the pursuit of greatness and the sacrifices that come with both.

One of the most powerful themes that emerges from the story is the power of remorse and the difficulties of dealing with it.

For Bezos, that theme apparently struck a chord, inspiring him to develop what he calls "the regret-minimization framework," or a way of living his life that reduces the number of regrets he has, according to the biography.

Stone writes that Bezos read the book before launching Amazon, but the founder's wife, MacKenzie Bezos, says he read it a year after starting the company.

"Bezos has said he learns more from novels," Stone writes, "than nonfiction."

Check out 6 novels that changed how Elon Musk and other billionaires see the world