Delivering Happiness Book Review

I was fortunate to be selected as one of the bloggers who was sent an advance copy of Hsieh’s book for free to review as well as a second copy of the book which I gave to a dear friend of mine Jamaal Khan, CEO of Jayz.

As Johathan Fields says: “in his new book, Delivering Happiness, you get a deeper look into how that curiosity and willingness to stand with rather than above those who’d eventually help build his empire formed what he views as the essence of success.

It’s not about the product, systems, logistics, branding or positioning, but rather culture.

Actually, it IS about all these things, but the culture and the mission define how each of these elements is brought to life. Delivering Happiness is chock full of business nuggets, but it’s not a heavily tactical book. It’s not a how-to book, full of checklists and strategies (there are some), but rather a look at the bigger picture core drivers.

You won’t learn to write copy, set up a marketing funnel, design systems or persuade customers to buy. But, you will learn how to focus on the deeper stuff that lays the foundation for doing all those things on a level that drives cult-like loyalty, evangelism and eventually, success on a much larger scale.”

Interesting Terri Griffith says that: “For the first 54 pages of Delivering Happiness I could have been reading about any Silicon Valley 24 year-old entrepreneur with a success under his belt. The next 189 pages WOWed me. This isn’t just CEO Tony Hsieh’s story, but rather a transparent look at Zappos through thick and thin, and what the company has learned along the way. Many CEOs tell their stories after the fact. Tony Hsieh and Zappos tell their story as it develops. From Twitter (@Zappos, @dhbook) to the CEO/COO blog, I’ve had the chance to follow the story for a while (hiring & on-boarding, marriage to Amazon, starting a movement). With Delivering Happiness, I feel like I’m getting to play a part. I see the questions the Zappos community asks itself and I want to reply.

This is more than transparency. This is engagement. The folks at Zappos engage with their:

  • customers – a hallmark, see p. 145 describing their call center approach
  • vendors – see p. 187 where Fred Mossler describes how they came to give the same info to vendors as they do to their buyers
  • future hires – they’re working on this one, but they want to build relationships, beginning with college freshmen, leading to internships and possible hires (p. 199)
  • job candidates – the incredibly interactive interview process includes questions like “If it was your first day on the job at Zappos and your task was to make the interview/recruiting process more fun, what would you do for those eight hours?” (See Christa F.’s story starting on p. 169)
  • employees – for example, open town hall meetings, the value put on recognizing/knowing fellow employees (the login-in “Face Game” and even how the building entrances are set up, p. 150), and the famed Culture Book (p. 134).”

For me the most complete review is by Tanveer Naseer. Thanks Tanveer… saved me alot of time… 🙂

Enjoy the book! It’s worth it!

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Delivering Happiness Book Review

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!

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Zappos Blog

Zappos Blog

On the 6th of April 2009, I emailed the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh, about his excellent presentation at the Startup2Startup event. I followed it up with another email with regards to the Zappos Culture Book. In other words I wanted to see why Tony (Zappos) was on Oprah. 🙂

Sent on 7th April:

“Thanks alot Tony

Is it possible for a Zappos Culture Book? Would love to read it. Electronic one maybe?

Willing to pay for shipping?

Address: Khalil Aleker, 43 Doreen Road, Rylands, 7764, Cape Town, South Africa

Thanks so much,

Khalil Aleker”

Tony emailed me within 30 minutes or less:

“Thanks for your email! We’ll be sending out the culture book to
you right away and you should be receiving it within the next few
days.

Also, if you’d like to learn more about how we manage our culture,
customer service, marketing, training, hiring, and business in
general, check out our new “Zappos Insights” subscription service:

http://www.zapposinsights.com/

There are a number of free videos if you click on the “Featured
FREE articles” in the left column. You can also see a list of
books we recommend reading by clicking on the “Suggested Reading”
link.

Inside my Zappos Culture Book

Inside my Zappos Culture Book

Next time you’re in the Las Vegas area, be sure to stop by our
offices for a tour! Our headquarters are located right next to the
airport. Tours take about an hour and are available on any weekday
(we recommend Mondays through Thursdays when there are more people
in the office), and we have a free Zappos shuttle service that can
pick you up from the airport or your hotel and then drop you off
afterwards. To schedule a tour, just email Jerry Tidmore at:
jtidmore@zappos.com

Hope you enjoy the culture book, and please let me know if there’s
anything else I can do for you!

—————
Tony Hsieh”

My Zappos Culture Book

My Zappos Culture Book

Yesterday I received my Zappos Culture Book. Now is that Customer Service or what? We all should put ALOT of ZAPPOS in our day…not a little. 🙂

To the Zappos CEO and the team… I have no words… I salute you and all the best.