As the boss of both the e-commerce behemoth Amazon and the aerospace company Blue Origin, Bezos is a tech titan whose businesses will very likely shape the future.
Despite relying on technology to build his fortune online, Bezos says he learned a key lesson about success at an early age in a much more down-to-earth setting: working with his grandfather on his grandparents' South Texas ranch.
What did it teach him? "Being resourceful. If there's a problem, there's a solution," says Bezos, in an interview with Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner, published by Business Insider at the end of April.
Bezos says his grandfather was "full of wisdom" and resourceful enough to do much of the work on the ranch by himself.
"He was super important for me," Bezos says of his grandfather.
"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," says Bezos.
"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," he says.
Bezos, 54, was born in 1964 when his mom was 17.
"I can assure you that being a pregnant teenager in high school was not cool in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at that time," says Bezos. "And so it was very difficult for her."
To help out his young parents, Bezos' grandparents took care of Bezos in South Texas every summer. As a kid, Bezos would help his grandfather out on their ranch.
"I was so young, and it was useful. I was a handful, I'm sure. Anyway, 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. And by the time I was 16, of course, I was actually helping on the ranch. I could fix prolapsed cattle; we did all our own veterinary work. Some of the cattle even survived," says Bezos. "And we fixed windmills, and laid water pipelines, and built fences, and barns, and fixed the bulldozer."