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The visionary CEO of Zappos explains how an emphasis on corporate culture can lead to unprecedented success.
Pay new employees $2000 to quit. Make customer service 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.com, the online retailer that's doing over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales every year.
In 1999, Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay) sold LinkExchange, the company he co-founded, to Microsoft for $265 million. He then joined Zappos as an adviser and investor, and eventually became CEO.
In 2009, Zappos was listed as one of Fortune magazine's top 25 companies to work for, and was acquired by Amazon later that year in a deal valued at over $1.2 billion on the day of closing.
In his first book, Tony shares the different business lessons he learned in life, from a lemonade stand and pizza business through LinkExchange, Zappos, and more. Ultimately, he shows how using happiness as a framework can produce profits, passion, and purpose both in business and in life. (edited by author)
Amazon Exclusive Author Q&A with Tony Hsieh, Author of Delivering Happiness
1. In the book you say, "I've been an entrepreneur for most of my life." Do you think people are born entrepreneurs or do they become them?
I think usually by the time you're 12 years old, you either have the entrepreneurial spirit or you don't. I would describe the entrepeneurial spirit as a combination of creativity and optimisim.2. Could you name one particular experience that inspired you to create a company devoted to customer happiness?
For me, it's really been driven by daily examples of bad customer service in my everyday personal life.3. Was the worm farm really the invaluable catalyst for forming your business and life philosophy?
My parents tell me that as a kid I was always trying to come up with different business ideas. The idea of starting a worm farm is my earliest memory of a business idea.4. You say that you have always been an avid book reader. What are your favorite books? Which non-business book helped you grow professionally?
1:106. You describe your way to happiness starting with profits, then going through passion and finally getting to purpose. Is that the only path to business happiness?
No, that was just the path that I happened to take. Part of the purpose of the book is to help other entrepreneurs and business owners shortcut the process and encourage them to go straight to combining profits, passion, and purpose.7. You seem to have taken risks with business ideas a lot while growing up. How do you recognize a risk that you shouldn't take?
I think it just comes down to really breaking down what the worst case scenario actually is. For most of us, we're lucky to live in a time and in a society where we aren't actually ever in danger of dying from starvation or lack of shelter. Most of us have friends whose couches we can crash on in the worst case scenario, so any "risk" we take in starting a company isn't actually that big a risk.
After hearing from many people that this was a great book and seeing it on some top business book lists I was compelled to read it. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Guyzen
An inspirational read. Amazing to see how one guy grew a huge business and his philosophy on creating a work culturePublished 14 days ago by Mark C. Manderson
This is a good book to read. I myself am a big fan of zappos so it's good to read their philosophy. I do feel though that certain stories in the book have been over simplified and... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Shyam Dilip Chaware
I am a Positive Psychology based life coach. I've studied the science of happiness formally, I teach it, speak on it, and I'm building a business around it, Being Human Project. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Ma'ayan
I've never read book in @ 24 hours before now. I learned a lot and look forward to implementing in my life and law firmPublished 18 days ago by E. Rosen
I'm Ian shoemaker currently a student at the university of Baltimore and was required to read this book for my entrepreneur class. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Ian Shoemaker
After reading this book I must say I thought it to be a great read. I am a student at the University of Baltimore enrolled in an entrepreneurship course, and this book was an... Read morePublished 21 days ago by ashley