Finished the book yesterday in bed with the flu. Totally enjoyed it – Interesting, fun, motivating, inspiring and WOWed me. My review will be posted in June, as per Tony’s request 🙂
Here’s what reviewer Lynellen Perry had to say:
“Delivering Happiness” has become the trade phrase for Zappos. In this hard-to-put-down book, Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos) tells the story of how his life became entangled with the life of Zappos. Starting with his childhood, Tony tells how he has always had an entrepreneurial spirit: he tried to raise earthworms when he was 9, he held garage sales and sold lemonade, he had a newspaper route (and decided it was just a way for newspapers to avoid child labor laws:), he wrote a newsletter of jokes he tried to sell to friends, he sold Christmas cards, he made custom photo buttons. Then in high school he discovered computers and began learning. He got a job testing video games, then became a programmer. The little jobs continued throughout college, where he tried to find the easiest path through his classwork. When he graduated college, he took a job at Oracle just because they offered the most money. And he found a way to do as little work as possible there too. Because he was bored, Tony and his roommate created LinkExchange which they eventually sold to Microsoft for $265 million. Bored again, this is where Zappos enters his life.
Much of the rest of the book is a fascinating history of how Zappos evolved and grew from nothing to $1 billion in gross sales in less than 10 years. Along the way, Tony explains how he learned business lessons from a summer fling with playing poker in Vegas. One of those lessons was to figure out what he really wanted to get out of life. He dabbled in investing and day-trading but found them unfulfilling. He dabbled in angel funding (Zappos being one of the companies he funded). He realized he was passionate about building a company, and the beneficiary of his passion happened to be Zappos. He poured a lot of his own money into keeping Zappos alive and learned lessons about inventory, warehousing, and outsourcing.
About half way through the book is where I started highlighting and folding down page corners. Tony talks about company culture and how he lead Zappos to invest their time, money and resources into 3 areas: customer services, culture, and employee training. Tony lists a great “Top 10 ways to instill customer services into your company” and explains (in great detail) the 10 core values of Zappos culture. He gives examples of interview questions that they ask to see how the person will fit into the company culture. He lists some of the course titles that are offered to employees that choose to learn new skills in order to advance their title. He lists the “Top 10 questions to ask when looking for investors and board members.” And then Tony tells the story of how Zappos became a “marriage partner” to Amazon.
The final section of the book is about applying the science of happiness. This was an outstanding section and the entire book is worth the price just for this section alone. Tony mentions several books (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom and Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment) that formed the foundation of his research into happiness along with books that taught him about company culture (Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap…and Others Don’t and Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization). Tony also recommends Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership) to learn how Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs can be applied to business, customers, employees and investors.
Overall a highly enjoyable book, very nicely written in an informal style, with a great story and good pointers to further resources. Highly recommended.
– By Lynellen Perry “lynellen.com” (Dumfries, VA USA)
Pre-order your copy of Delivering Happiness on Amazon.com today to be one of the first to read Tony Hsieh’s first book!