Things: The secrets of high standards and happiness

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1. WHAT TO READ: Can you teach high standards?
Each year, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — whose current personal net worth exceeds the GDP of nearly 150 nations — writes a letter to shareholders. Most corporate missives are snoozers, but Bezos’s is worth reading.

In six succinct pages, he describes the importance of high standards and why they’re both teachable and contagious. He explains why Amazon has scrapped internal slide presentations in favor of “narratively structured six-page memos.” And he offers some eye-popping numbers on how huge the company has become. Attached to this year’s letter is also Bezos’s very first shareholder letter from 20 years ago, which itself is fascinating.

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