I was honored and excited when the good folks at Zappos sent me free advanced copies of CEO Tony Hsieh’s new book Delivering Happiness – A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose to review. I have been a completely satisfied customer of Zappos (major online shoe and clothing commerce company) for quite a few years. I previously read of the uniquely people-pleasant, family culture that Hsieh creates for his employees and was curious about his philosophies. Hsieh’s new book sets out to reveal how this young executive created such a phenomenal success – not only is the online retailer achieving over $1 billion in merchandise sales each year but it is one of Fortune magazine’s top companies to work for. From my experience, the company’s success certainly shines through every single time I talk to a customer service representative . . . Zappos has the only service department in which patrons can actually hear representatives’ smiles over the phone.
Delivering Happiness is NOT another quick how-to-improve-your-business book. This book reveals secrets and ideas about (as the sub-title hints) increasing profits, igniting passion, and identifying purpose in personal life as well as work. Anyone looking to create or build upon current business or personal goals would benefit from this book. Through Hsieh’s anecdotes and quirky thought-processes, the reader gets into the head of someone who’s been there, someone who’s taken a dream and turned it into reality.
Hsieh begins by illustrating his work experiences – from grade school worm selling to creating and selling study guides in college to his first major success with co-founding LinkExchange – an internet advertising cooperative. He provides snippets from old letters, journal-like recollections and lists that illustrate the thinking behind the success.
You know you are in the right field when you go to work and it doesn’t feel like work; that’s the impression I get of the Zappos employees’ attitudes toward their jobs. Hsieh intriguingly reveals how he brought the company from start-up to last year’s acquisition by Amazon valued at over $1.2 billion. Some interesting strategies along the way include creating a company “culture” book, a very interactive weekly employee newsletter, and the WOW factor (a new verb part of the company’s everyday vocabulary!). Read this book and some of that WOW factor just may rub off into your own way of thinking. Indeed, the 10 core values of the Zappos culture apply to conducting life along with conducting a business . . . you may be surprised what some of those 10 values are!
**These are my honest opinions after reading this book!! Grading Girl gives Tony Hsieh an A+ for unabashedly honest thoughts, unique ways of looking at the world of work, and a frankly fun read!**