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

Shelley McDonald
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (564 customer reviews)

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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. has truly become an impressive story of dot corn success. While many of its predecessors in the Internet retail industry have failed, 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
54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
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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449 of 576 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much hype and not enough substance June 17, 2010
By EBSmith
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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82 of 103 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars corporate celebration April 22, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book traces Tony Hsieh's rapid progress in the business world, from callow party dweeb with a high IQ to his selling of Zappos to Amazon for north of a billion dollars. Along the way, we get some ups and downs in business startups, the hunt for money, the hunt for the secret to corporate long-term success, and some input from partners and employees along the way. Zappos' leadership eventually decided to emphasise sterling customer service as the key to their own corporate culture, and the last third of the book - the part worth reading - covers what this means to the customer, to the employees tasked with turning it into a reality, and to the bottom line. The idea was to infuse ten larger values (with numerous sub-meanings and applications) into every aspect of every department of the company. Since Hsieh is now a billionaire or very close to it, one can say that, certainly in this case, it worked.

In general the book is a very light read. It is destined to be given out to employees for free, and to serve as a sort of corporate diary and the documentation of the corporate mythology. That's not necessarily bad, just what it is. The last few pages are a little more thoughtful, where the author tries to relate his business experience to a philosophical discussion of life, the universe and everything. This stuff might be a bit of a stretch, but it is the kind of expansive view of things one can expect from a businessman in his position and there are few business books by hugely successful authors that can resist this kind of thing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book as Tony Hsieh has a great mindset towards building his company
Published 1 day ago by Trevor Carlson
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for anyone thinking about in house development
Must read for anyone thinking about in house development options
Published 2 days ago by Christine Beckett
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite a guy!
This book turned me into a Tony Hsieh fan, used it to write a paper for a management course also. Read for business or fun.
Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Motivating book or audio
Great story from young child to where he is today!
Total respect for tony
Published 5 days ago by T. Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard work and being creative can pay off
Reading end now. Hard work and being creative can pay off
Published 5 days ago by Sal Yanez
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good book. Lots of tips. Not for the fainthearted manager.
Published 6 days ago by E.
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved everything about this book
I loved everything about this book. I also happen to love Zappos and what they stand for. I didn't think Tony glamorized anything and his customer service approach comes through in... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars a must buy
This is an excellent book, written in a very appealing manner, telling the complete story of Zappos, warts and all.
Published 12 days ago by Donald Stamp
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
I went into this audiobook somewhat skeptical about the author's motives, but I knew that Zappos was a fairly successful company, and that their culture has something to do with... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Irfan A. Alvi
4.0 out of 5 stars An odd book about an odd life
I've heard a lot about Tony Hsieh and Zappos. In particular, I heard about how Hsieh (pronounced "Shay") sold his company LinkExchange to Microsoft and then walked away... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Edward Durney
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