Delivering Happiness – Tony Hsieh – Review

I’ve just finished reading Delivering Happiness : A path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com.  Prior to reading the book I knew that Zappos were heralded as a leader in Service but I didn’t know much more.

The blurb from the back cover

  • Pay new employees $2000 to quit.
  • Make customer service the responsibility of the entire company, not just a department.
  • Focus on company culture as the #1 priority.
  • Apply research from the science of happiness to running a business.
  • Help employees grow both personally and professionally.
  • Seek to change the world.
  • Oh, and make money too.

Sound crazy? It’s all standard operating procedure at Zappos, the online retailer that’s doing over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually. After debuting as the highest-ranking newcomer in Fortune magazine’s annual “Best Companies to Work For” list in 2009, Zappos was acquired by Amazon in a deal valued at over $1.2 billion on the day of closing.

In his first book, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares the different lessons he has learned in business and life, from starting a worm farm to running a pizza business; through LinkExchange (acquired by Microsoft for $265 million), Zappos, and more.

Tony shows how a very different kind of corporate culture is a powerful model for achieving success — and how by concentrating on the happiness of those around you, you can dramatically increase your own.

In the authors words

My Review

The book is part lifestory, part business lessons.  It is split into three sections

1 – Profits – In section 1 Tony Hsieh writes about his early life, his entrepreneurial spirit while young and at college, his first business Linkexchange and the beginnings of Zappos.

2 – Profits and Passion – This section starts as Tony takes a full time position at Zappos.  A time of the Dot Com crash, with funding hard to find survival is the number 1 priority but even in this climate, culture and purpose grow.  This chapter also documents Zappos’ Core Values, and what they mean to Tony Hsieh and those within Zappos.

3 – Profits, Passion and Purpose – Zappos has become a success, and in this section Tony writes about the process to which they were acquired by Amazon, the things he has done since, and the academic frameworks that Zappos actions could be compared to and why everyone is looking for Happiness!

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Service / Satisfaction or who wants to broaden their eCommerce knowledge.  The book is written in a easy to read voice, and is the tale of a real company, so is very ingrossing and not at all like a textbook!  Zappos have seemingly unparalleled openness about the inner workings of the company and even have a website http://www.deliveringhappiness.com/ companion to the book, with further reading, Zappos Core Values, and a how to for your business.

Also I was surprised that Zappos offer tours of their offices http://www.zapposinsights.com/main/experiences/tours/ I can’t imagine most offices wanting to open themselves for tours 12 times a week but it sounds like a fascinating and inspiring experience.

Delivering Happiness isn’t widely available in the UK – But you can usually find a New or Used copy on Amazon here

 

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