MacKenzie is a writer who studied at Princeton under Toni Morrison, and was, Morrison said, “one of the best students I’ve ever had in my creative-writing classes”. She has done well, publishing novels and winning an American Book Award. But as the Vogue writer Rebecca Johnson put it in a 2013 profile, MacKenzie’s first book took 10 years to finish, because “she was doing other things during that time – moving cross-country, giving birth to four children (three boys and a girl, ranging in age from seven to 12), helping her husband start a fledgling business called Amazon.com”.
She met Jeff because they worked in neighboring offices at a Manhattan hedge fund – the kind of job usually staffed by ambitious people who either are or go on to be very wealthy. They were married within six months, when she was just 23, and moved to Seattle soon after.
MacKenzie, in other words, made significant sacrifices to make Amazon work. Bezos’s friend Danny Hills told Vogue, “Family is very important to Jeff, and he absolutely relies on her to create that stable home life.” That meant giving up writing for a decade or so in order to raise the couple’s children. She took charge of homeschooling for a while, and coordinated travel, lessons, social calendars and various enrichment activities – a full-time job when you have four children. Her own career was stymied so that her husband’s could flourish.