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Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose.(Book review): An article from: American Economist [HTML] [Digital]

Shelley McDonald
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (680 customer reviews)

Price: $9.95
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Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose, by Tony Hsieh. New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2010.

Zappos.com has truly become an impressive story of dot corn success. While many of its predecessors in the Internet retail industry have failed, Zappos.com has achieved astounding success as it continues to build the brand that has seemingly taken on a life of its own.

During the past decade, the company has moved from being a fledgling, start up internet shoe store to a solid internet sensation worth more than $1 billion. Tony Hsieh, the company's CEO, has written a phenomenal book that details his path to uber-success, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and...

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Delivering Happiness is a bold promise to make in any book, let alone a business book. But Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh makes it. The autobiographical story of Tony's childhood and career at times seems self indulgent and veers into frat boy territory, Harvard style. Hsieh is open about the fact that the writing is all his and that it's not literary genius. However, he's clearly an innovative man with a ton of brain power. It is a fun and entertaining read, especially for the genre. The book's stand-out quote:

"Without conscious and deliberate effort, inertia always wins"

I am not sure the book delivers happiness. But here's what it does do, and does very well. It provides an insight into the success of one of America's trendiest and high performing companies as well as the brain of the man behind it. From my work life lens, it also shows an interesting approach to corporate culture that so far is working well for Zappos.

I put my hand up to review the book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose because I'd read so much about Zappos' unique corporate environment. Innovative organizational psyches are right up my alley. Hsieh has a light and enticing story-teller's voice as he shares his youthful business adventures, Harvard stories (mostly about how little work he did and how well he performed doing that), mistakes and spiritual experiences in the rave/party years and climbing Kilimanjaro. Ultimately though, it's a book about relationships, and about how to create an environment where your best friends show up to work with you. You work hard and you play hard and you do it all together.
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44 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, exciting reading March 31, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Delivering Happiness" has become the trade phrase for Zappos. In this hard-to-put-down book, Tony Hseieh (CEO of Zappos) tells the story of how his life became entangled with the life of Zappos. Starting with his childhood, Tony tells how he has always had an entrepreneurial spirit: he tried to raise earthworms when he was 9, he held garage sales and sold lemonade, he had a newspaper route (and decided it was just a way for newspapers to avoid child labor laws:), he wrote a newsletter of jokes he tried to sell to friends, he sold Christmas cards, he made custom photo buttons. Then in high school he discovered computers and began learning. He got a job testing video games, then became a programmer. The little jobs continued throughout college, where he tried to find the easiest path through his classwork. When he graduated college, he took a job at Oracle just because they offered the most money. And he found a way to do as little work as possible there too. Because he was bored, Tony and his roommate created LinkExchange which they eventually sold to Microsoft for $265 million. Bored again, this is where Zappos enters his life.

Much of the rest of the book is a fascinating history of how Zappos evolved and grew from nothing to $1 billion in gross sales in less than 10 years. Along the way, Tony explains how he learned business lessons from a summer fling with playing poker in Vegas. One of those lessons was to figure out what he really wanted to get out of life. He dabbled in investing and day-trading but found them unfulfilling. He dabbled in angel funding (Zappos being one of the companies he funded). He realized he was passionate about building a company, and the beneficiary of his passion happened to be Zappos.
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478 of 608 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much hype and not enough substance June 17, 2010
By EBSmith
Format:Hardcover
I can not believe it but after 12 years of buying my books on Amazon, I am compelled to write a review. I found this book extremely creepy.

First, I was disappointed in the flip tone of this book. The preface includes a blurb about not bothering to have the book edited by a professional editor because the author did not find it necessary and wanted to continue to poke at his past English teachers because obviously he "showed them" by being a best-selling author and not bothering to be a conscientious writer. I can not imagine having an ax to grind with a teacher I haven't seen in 20 years who may have corrected my work during my "formative years".

Second, I want to personally apologize to every [...] employee. How does one work for a fellow who prides himself on not hiring "talented people"? I am dead serious. Tony clearly states that bringing in talented people into the organization as it grew would cause the culture to change so would not be part of his strategy to build the company.

Third, I also fail to understand how drinking with your co-workers and spending nearly every waking moment with them brings profit, passion and purpose. Yes, team cohesion is obviously important. The military wouldn't function without it. Spending a happy hour with co-workers and eating lunch together for instance, makes sense. Failing to keep your job because Bob in accounting doesn't like socializing with you after work, doesn't make any sense. Failing to be promoted because you don't drink and (horror) actually go home to your kids at night, doesn't make sense.

To summarize, I would re-title this book "A Formula for Running a Successful Cult" by Tony Hsieh aka The Big Pumbah because he has mastered the most important features of a well run cult.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars part biography / part tools and inspiration for creating a positive...
My favorite part was the summary of current happiness research at the end. I love that Tony Hsieh cares about his employees' quality of life. Read more
Published 21 hours ago by HH
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that inspires you to take action towards happiness
This book is great to read, I am passionate about the happiness topic, I really enjoyed it and I used lots of the things I learnt with the book in my company. Buy it and enjoy it.
Published 1 day ago by Sebastian Velasquez
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
Throughly enjoyed this book. Lots of great lessons in the importance of great customer service and the impact that company culture can have upon your company.
Published 2 days ago by Russell
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not what I thought it was going to be about.
Published 3 days ago by TC
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
Great book. Has some really funny parts!
Published 3 days ago by bwnbw8
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read and a truly amazing company and leader.
Published 4 days ago by bradyc1
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
An easy and great read!
Published 5 days ago by K. Long
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
This book lays out not only what makes Zappos an extra ordinary company for its staff and customers, but also gives you plenty of ideas for you to do the same. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Nico R
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great exemple of company focus on customer!
Published 8 days ago by soraia cardozo fidalgo
3.0 out of 5 stars This wasn't the worst book I have read but certainly isn't one I ...
This book has received a lot of hype but it doesn't fully deliver. For a CEO whose company is supposed to be based on how they treat customers and employees Tony doesn't come off... Read more
Published 9 days ago by amr88
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