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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 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 November 25, 2011

    Esestiigood jo b Zoom ?











    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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