Customer Reviews for

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Delivering Happiness Delivers Indeed

Yes, nice guys can finish first. This is the overarching theme of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh's new book Delivering Happiness, a Path to Passion, Profits, and Purpose. Delivering Happiness chronicles the rise of Zappos from a half-baked notion to multi-billion dollar pinnacle...
Yes, nice guys can finish first. This is the overarching theme of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh's new book Delivering Happiness, a Path to Passion, Profits, and Purpose. Delivering Happiness chronicles the rise of Zappos from a half-baked notion to multi-billion dollar pinnacle of high touch customer service.

The book is presented in three sections. In the first section, Hsieh recounts his personal story, including his early childhood and nascent entrepreneurial adventures, including a misguided effort at worm farming. The details of his somewhat haphazard education at Harvard, and his kismet kissed co-founding of LinkExchange (ultimately sold to Microsoft for $265 million) are downright fascinating.

As befits the CEO of a company built on a wide-open corporate culture, Hsieh is remarkably candid about his successes, failures, and fortunes throughout, and this first section is the strongest in the book. He writes in a breezy, accessible, invigorating style that makes Delivering Happiness the rare business book that is also a genuine page turner.

As a long-time Zappos customer, and admirer of Hsieh and his customer-first mantra, I thought I had a handle on this tale. But, I was shocked by the number of times that Zappos narrowly averted ruin in its early days. Hsieh and his co-founders' went to truly extraordinary lengths to keep the company alive, including housing employees in their homes. Each harrowing near death of Zappos makes you cheer that much louder inside when the company eventually succeeds on a grand scale.

The middle section of the book is devoted to Zappos' legendary corporate culture, especially its 10 core values. While interesting as a concept, the inclusion of employee stories to accompany each of the 10 core values unfortunately slows the momentum built in the book's first third.

The third section of the book covers Zappos' sale to Amazon.com (for $1.2 billion), and the founding of the Zappos Insights program (where companies can receive training on Zappos' customer and culture-centric methods). The word-for-word reprinting of Hsieh's emails to employees regarding the Amazon acquisition are priceless.

The book concludes with a few pages about the science of happiness, and how personal and business happiness can be inextricably linked. Hsieh acknowledges that the study of happiness is a personal hobby, and while his passion for the subject is apparent, a clear theme or call to action is largely absent.

And ultimately, that's the challenge with Delivering Happiness. In parts, it's one of the best business books I've ever read, but most of those are the elements that are driven by a narrative and timeline. And in truth, an entire book devoted to Hsieh and the history of Zappos would have been a terrific read.
And, a book devoted solely to Zappos' philosophies and core values would also have been a terrific read.

But instead, we have a little bit of each, and unfortunately, 1 + 1 does not equal 3 in this circumstance. It doesn't really feel to me like one book, but rather like parts of three books fused together.

I finished Delivering Happiness wanting more. A lot more. A playbook. A mission. A mantra. Reading Delivering Happiness will convince you that there is a better way, that success and happiness aren't mutually exclusive, and that Tony Hsieh is a special person. Did Delivering Happiness rock me to my core? No. But the stories and nuggets of insight make it well worth the purchase price

posted by Jaybaer on June 7, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

Wow! I was less than impressed

I heart Zappos. I get all my shoes there and do believe 100% in their ability to deliver customer service and get me my shoes in 2 days or less every time.

As someone who works in the business world, I didn't unfortunately heart this book. I cringed when I read t...
I heart Zappos. I get all my shoes there and do believe 100% in their ability to deliver customer service and get me my shoes in 2 days or less every time.

As someone who works in the business world, I didn't unfortunately heart this book. I cringed when I read that he chose not to hire talented people when the company started to grow because that would change the company's culture. I think that means if you didn't pass the famed culture test, you were too smart to work at Zappos. (Congratulations to anyone working there for being less than the best!) Also, if you somehow slipped through the cracks, you were soon gone for being "arrogant". Geez, I think Jones had the same recruitment strategies for Jonestown.

As a family type, I also was appalled by the focus on drinking, partying all night and generally being proud of failing to grow up. Sure that works great for the under 30 crowd but what does a guy with a family do when he doesn't get to come home to his family 5 nights a week because he needs to entertain Tony and the rest of the team at the frat house (aka headquarters)?

My HR instincts, of which I thought I had none, were screaming "help" through every antidote about finding other people just like himself and his original team to keep the culture from changing. The good news is that at least Zappos won't be involved in an illegal alien scandal. They don't hire people different from themselves.

At the end of the day, I expected this book to help me think outside the box. It did do that. On the other hand, I didn't walk away thinking Tony was a particularly insightful business mind. This is no Harvard Business Review article or book. You can get the same information reading all the carefully crafted PR he has done as the face of the company for the past decade.

posted by BusinessBookFanatic on June 17, 2010

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  • Posted June 17, 2010

    Wow! I was less than impressed

    I heart Zappos. I get all my shoes there and do believe 100% in their ability to deliver customer service and get me my shoes in 2 days or less every time.

    As someone who works in the business world, I didn't unfortunately heart this book. I cringed when I read that he chose not to hire talented people when the company started to grow because that would change the company's culture. I think that means if you didn't pass the famed culture test, you were too smart to work at Zappos. (Congratulations to anyone working there for being less than the best!) Also, if you somehow slipped through the cracks, you were soon gone for being "arrogant". Geez, I think Jones had the same recruitment strategies for Jonestown.

    As a family type, I also was appalled by the focus on drinking, partying all night and generally being proud of failing to grow up. Sure that works great for the under 30 crowd but what does a guy with a family do when he doesn't get to come home to his family 5 nights a week because he needs to entertain Tony and the rest of the team at the frat house (aka headquarters)?

    My HR instincts, of which I thought I had none, were screaming "help" through every antidote about finding other people just like himself and his original team to keep the culture from changing. The good news is that at least Zappos won't be involved in an illegal alien scandal. They don't hire people different from themselves.

    At the end of the day, I expected this book to help me think outside the box. It did do that. On the other hand, I didn't walk away thinking Tony was a particularly insightful business mind. This is no Harvard Business Review article or book. You can get the same information reading all the carefully crafted PR he has done as the face of the company for the past decade.

    15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 7, 2010

    Delivering Happiness Delivers Indeed

    Yes, nice guys can finish first. This is the overarching theme of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh's new book Delivering Happiness, a Path to Passion, Profits, and Purpose. Delivering Happiness chronicles the rise of Zappos from a half-baked notion to multi-billion dollar pinnacle of high touch customer service.

    The book is presented in three sections. In the first section, Hsieh recounts his personal story, including his early childhood and nascent entrepreneurial adventures, including a misguided effort at worm farming. The details of his somewhat haphazard education at Harvard, and his kismet kissed co-founding of LinkExchange (ultimately sold to Microsoft for $265 million) are downright fascinating.

    As befits the CEO of a company built on a wide-open corporate culture, Hsieh is remarkably candid about his successes, failures, and fortunes throughout, and this first section is the strongest in the book. He writes in a breezy, accessible, invigorating style that makes Delivering Happiness the rare business book that is also a genuine page turner.

    As a long-time Zappos customer, and admirer of Hsieh and his customer-first mantra, I thought I had a handle on this tale. But, I was shocked by the number of times that Zappos narrowly averted ruin in its early days. Hsieh and his co-founders' went to truly extraordinary lengths to keep the company alive, including housing employees in their homes. Each harrowing near death of Zappos makes you cheer that much louder inside when the company eventually succeeds on a grand scale.

    The middle section of the book is devoted to Zappos' legendary corporate culture, especially its 10 core values. While interesting as a concept, the inclusion of employee stories to accompany each of the 10 core values unfortunately slows the momentum built in the book's first third.

    The third section of the book covers Zappos' sale to Amazon.com (for $1.2 billion), and the founding of the Zappos Insights program (where companies can receive training on Zappos' customer and culture-centric methods). The word-for-word reprinting of Hsieh's emails to employees regarding the Amazon acquisition are priceless.

    The book concludes with a few pages about the science of happiness, and how personal and business happiness can be inextricably linked. Hsieh acknowledges that the study of happiness is a personal hobby, and while his passion for the subject is apparent, a clear theme or call to action is largely absent.

    And ultimately, that's the challenge with Delivering Happiness. In parts, it's one of the best business books I've ever read, but most of those are the elements that are driven by a narrative and timeline. And in truth, an entire book devoted to Hsieh and the history of Zappos would have been a terrific read.
    And, a book devoted solely to Zappos' philosophies and core values would also have been a terrific read.

    But instead, we have a little bit of each, and unfortunately, 1 + 1 does not equal 3 in this circumstance. It doesn't really feel to me like one book, but rather like parts of three books fused together.

    I finished Delivering Happiness wanting more. A lot more. A playbook. A mission. A mantra. Reading Delivering Happiness will convince you that there is a better way, that success and happiness aren't mutually exclusive, and that Tony Hsieh is a special person. Did Delivering Happiness rock me to my core? No. But the stories and nuggets of insight make it well worth the purchase price

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 2, 2010

    Wowing his customers is the name of his game

    This is a compelling book. The author and CEO of Zappos puts the Kano Model of wowing the customer to best use. He is certainly customer centric in his approach and serves as a role model for aspiring CEO's. I recommend reading this book along with two others. The first, Optimal ThinkingH How to Be Your Best Self by Dr. Rosalene Glickman is the definitive book for personal and organizational optimization. The second, Good to Great by Jim Collins is a superbly researched book and how companies distinguish themselves from the mainstream Read all three books and you will have it all.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2010

    It made me happy!

    Tony Hsieh handed me an advance reading copy of his book a couple months back after I'd interviewed him for our work on The Challenger Project (for a video clip of that go here http://www.eatbigfish.com/challenger/interviews/writing-on-the-wall). He's a really interesting character, but not in the usual sense. He's a very rare species, in fact: a quiet, thoughtful, low ego-emissions CEO with a remarkable track record, who's even a little weird (a self-confessed 7 on a 10-point scale of weirdness). And all of this is evident in his book, every word of which he wrote himself.

    The book is broken into 3 parts: 1) Profits; 2) Profits and Passion; 3) Profits, Passion & Purpose. This loosely describes the arc of his story so far: Tony the boy and young man on his way to running Zappos, the Zappos phenomenon itself, and finally how Tony wishes to apply what he has learned to create something of a cultural revolution spreading happiness.

    There is a lot in here to satisfy those who want to decode Zappos' success. And along the way there are also revealing surprises that for me made this a more engaging read, each surprise a small clue as to what makes Tony such a success: How his obsession with comics lead him to deceive his parents with pre-recorded piano practice; his stint with the Guardian Angels under the code name "Secret"; his obsession with poker; his addiction to Red Bull; his embrace of counter-intuitive marathon training techniques; his time as rave impresario, and his "awakening" at just such an event. How many CEOs can credit real business insight to a techno induced epiphany?

    That insight? The idea than true Happiness requires us to get lost in something bigger than ourselves. Here Tony leans hard on psychologists like Csikszentmihalyi's Flow and business writers like Chip Conley's Peak, itself a re-working of Maslow. He's well-read. And the book ends with Tony's own happiness framework, which is as straightforward as it is well informed. If you want a short cut through the happiness/positive psychology literature, start here.

    Zappos success is built on an almost irrational obsession with Wow-ing customers at any cost, and their loyalty scores and repeat purchase numbers are off the charts. Tony is quite clear that if Wow remains his priority, profit will take care of itself. For all the "new-agey" vibe of the positive psychology in the book, this is an almost old-fashioned idea: people love great customer service and will reward you with their loyalty if you provide it (even through a recession!). It says a lot about the world today that the dedication to this simple idea seems almost radical.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2011

    boooring

    not as interesting as i thought it would be. i wished id gotten the sample first. too bad you cant get a refund of at least half your money :-(

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    Great book... a must read..!

    Great book, lot´s of insight, fun to read, practical, highly recommended… and yes they WOW you.. I just experienced it with a with a recent purchase which I got delivered in two days although I selected standard shipping.

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  • Posted June 14, 2012

    It was an okay read. It was interesting to read about zappos in

    It was an okay read. It was interesting to read about zappos in the autobiographical style. It talked about how culture is important in a work environment and that customer happiness also plays a key role. Not really my type of read, though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    GREAT BOOK!

    Very inspiring and such an easy read! The author, Tony Hsieh, writes the book with a laid back and friendly tone that makes the reader want to continue to read. Inspiring and really informative. One of the best books I have ever read. Would recommend to everyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2011

    Esestiigood jo b Zoom ?











    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2011

    Highly recommend

    This book is very inspirational for any service oriented business. It will make you rethink everything you ever thought service was all about and will align you with what your employees and clients think is most important.

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    Inspiring

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted May 5, 2011

    Highly Recommended - If you like reading, then this is a good read for you

    Great book on the Zappos brand. Tony Hsieh offers invaluable insight on creating a brand and entrepreneurship.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2011

    interesting story

    part autobiography. part success story. part how to. enjoyable read. a little inspirational.

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  • Posted January 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Both An Autobiography And A How-To For Entrepreneurs

    An autobiography can indeed be a how-to book, especially if you're looking for more inspriation than nuts-and-bolts about how to run a company. Tony Hsieh's story about how he succeeded in the online world, building Zappos into a company that Amazon was willing to pay more than a billion dollars for, is certainly inspring. Unlike my book, The Dynamic Manager's Guide To Marketing and Advertising, however, Delivering Happiness is not a particularly instructive book about how to deliver customer satisfaction. I took it more as a print version of a corporate culture manual designed to let people know what it's like to work for the company. The writing is delightful, though, and the book makes for an entertaining read.

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  • Posted October 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Sole-full business lessons by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

    Tony Hsieh (pronounced "shay") became a multimillionaire in 1998, at age 24, by selling his first internet start-up firm to Microsoft for $265 million. Then he sold his online shoe retailer Zappos to Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion. This personable entrepreneur may sound like an enthusiastic cheerleader, but clearly he knows a lot about making a business grow and he's worked hard to learn a lot about happiness. His vision encompasses a distinctive brand, a pipeline for developing talent and a creative corporate culture, all built on collegial fun and customer service. getAbstract recommends this entertaining book. Hsieh details some of the secrets of his success, including how he and his team (a hard working crew whose surnames he never mentions) made Zappos so strong. Hsieh sees "delivering happiness" as a philosophy anyone can apply to business and all other areas of life (while wearing good shoes, of course).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2010

    FANTASTIC!!!

    I enjoyed this book. It was such an easy read, and got me thinking about what I can do differently in my own business! Good Job, as only Zappos could do it! As for us, "Happiness is just a highlight away!"

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  • Posted September 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    While not everything you might expect, definitely a good read.

    Tony Hsieh does not tell you how to make your company better in this book. What he succeeds in doing is relating the how, when, and why of Zappos success as a company. While I felt the first portion of the book focused a little to much on his circuitous path to developing his business approach, I admired and appreciated the bold decisions he made to further his company. While he seems lucky, it's clear that he has the long-term vision and the fortitude to make his company succeed, and yes, a little luck. The second portion of the book focuses on running and building Zappos, creating the culture and the values that Zappos is now famous for. I think Mr. Hsieh is correct when he tells the reader that you should not attempt to make your company exactly like Zappos, but find your own path. The only area where I hesitate is how often Mr. Hsieh tells the virtues of making a work environment like a home or a family, I feel I personally need more life/work balance. The third part of the book is a little too rushed and elementary to have much impact, but serves as a logical jumping off point for the readers own journey.

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  • Posted August 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    good business, easy biz read with nice insights

    if you're already a zappos.com fan that's read just about every article until now about the company, you may want to borrow this book, rather than buy. a lot of the stories have already been written about somewhere, but it's nice to have some additional insights. hsieh's writing is personable, somewhat casual and low-key, which make it a pleasurable business reading experience that moves along briskly. one of the greatest things to see in the book is about how leadership stuck by the company, sinking more of themselves emotionally and financially into the company, when things were uncertain. goes to show that the LT vision really can (and probably should) trump what happens in the ST. too bad S&P500, Dow Jones, etc. don't always reward companies for such overall growth rather than just what happens in the quarter...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Read this incredible book in an afternoon- A Great read, and one I'll read again!

    Delivering Happiness is a great read. As an entrepreneur, speaker and facilitator who works with businesses, the information in this book will be of great interest and support to my clients. I particularly enjoyed the discussions about Values and the innovative hiring processes used by Zappos. Focussing on happiness as the goal, instead of an outcome, is a great approach for business success. Tony encourages readers to create WOW experiences in their business, and I can say Tony created a WOW experience for his readers. Charmaine Hammond, author On Toby's Terms

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  • Posted July 27, 2010

    Does Tony Deliver

    "This book explains how Zappos and Tony got their start, fumbled and stumbled then began gaining traction. I'm a fan of Tony and a bit biased. I have to admit the writing could be tightened up, but I was ok with its someone loose focus. It was written in Tony's words and he explains why he didn't use a professional writer to help him with the book. It felt much more like a conversation then a business book.

    The book answered most of my questions:

    1. How did Tony develop Zappos?
    2. Why is happiness so important in business?
    3. How can a company use Zappos' techniques to become smarter, stronger and more profitable?

    The book was an easy read and worth my time. If you love business books I suggest you read this book. If you love personal development books I encourage you to read this book because you will learn Tony's techniques for developing happiness through your career."

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