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Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, June 7, 2010
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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.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Item Weight : 1.01 pounds
- ISBN-10 : 0446563048
- ISBN-13 : 978-0446563048
- Hardcover : 253 pages
- Product Dimensions : 6.5 x 1 x 9.25 inches
- Publisher : Grand Central Publishing; 1st Edition (June 7, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #116,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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However, I didn't really gain anything personally or professionally from this book. I run a family business so we don't have employees to build a culture. It's a family that all has the same desire to do good work and treat our customers respectfully, so we already have that down and that was majority of the book.
I was hoping Tony would go into more details, actual emails of his interactions with customers. He did not, and that left me wanting more. In the past, I heard good things Zappos has done for their customers, but I would love to know more about those interactions and how he handles customer service.
In a way, the book felt like a big advertisement to Zappos. Like, "Look how awesome we are at Zappos!" than "How to do so and so".
Still, it was a fairly interesting read, but if you're a small business owner, you might not have much information to take from this.
I personally really enjoyed this book. It is motivational and opens a path for a completely revised way of thinking about running a business. Profits usually came last for Tony Hsieh, who sold almost everything he had to keep Zappos afloat. As an employee of a business, reading this book makes you jealous of all Zappos employees. Seeing the unique culture that was created at Zappos and seeing how it positively affected customers and the business as a whole is amazing. It was a culture that included employees extremely close to each other, departments that were not separated but unified, a fun loving and relaxed place, and a common goal of being happy while delivering the best service in the world.
There’s not much I didn’t like about this book, it’s incredibly relevant and helpful to anyone thinking or aspiring to become an entrepreneur. The most help the book gives to aspiring entrepreneurs is to realize the overall spectrum of a company, not just profits, but also how to thrive by creating your own core competencies that no one else can replicate.
What I learned: The main point that the book hits on is in the title. How to deliver happiness to everyone that comes into contact with you or your company. The word that is used many times is WOW. The book reinforced my belief that a small unexpected gesture can be just as valuable, if not more so, than a very expensive but expected one. One point that really got me thinking was how they extended their goal of delivering happiness even to their suppliers, a group that is typically not treated well. It forces you to think about the people that you treat differently just because they might not be employees or customers. Additionally, he mentioned how culture was his passion, something I greatly relate to, and that building a process to invest in his employees was what he expected would continue to help the growth of the company. This insight will follow me through my professional career for sure.
Top reviews from other countries
What makes the story compelling is that even though you know how the story ends, the story of how the business began and grew has some peril and jeopardy along the way, which convinces you that it could all go badly wrong at any moment along the way. So is he lucky? Not really. This is not the story of a compulsive gambler. It is a story recognisable in many business stories where success is rescued from the jaws of failure by talent and determination. This is perhaps told best in the part where he and his business colleague drive a truck across America as driving buddies. So why didn't they just have a stopover or two? No there was a determination and commitment whereby they just had to keep going. The story contains warmth and humour and a surprising lack of commitment at times to work and study. If he ever needs a job there are bits of his CV that he might expect a few questions on.
The slight spoiler for me is the insertion of other people's accounts of their story randomly inserted at times, which breaks up the momentum of the story. I am not saying that their account isn't relevant. Of course it is relevant in the way that it captures the spirit of the company but I personally feel that the story should come first and then the personal accounts at the back, like outtakes at the end of a film.
The book is above all a story: of the making of Tony Hsieh (now the CEO of Zappos.com), of his entrepreneurial journey starting in his childhood through college and later, of how he came to be involved in Zappos.com first as an investor and then as the CEO, and finally of what made Zappos.com the unique e-commerce success story it is. Organised in three parts, titled "Profits", "Profits and Passion", and "Profits, Passion and Purpose", it appears to map Mr Hsieh's journey of personal and professional growth.
Mr Hsieh is a child of Taiwanese immigrants. The parents feature in the book, but refreshingly not in the holier-than-thou tone, which is the staple of much immigré writing. They have made seminal contribution to his entrepreneurial spirit, mainly by not strangulating it with the burden of parental expectation, although Mr Hsieh himself, as a young person, wasn't above some mischief to get his own way. In many ways, it made me wonder if Mr Hsieh's story could pan out the same way anywhere but in America.
The story slowly morphs from being about Mr Hsieh's entrepreneurial adventures and misadventures - including the lessons he learnt at Link Exchange and the Venture Frogs fund he ran jointly - to being about Zappos.com. It is in the description of the the mechanics at Zappos.com that the tone changes to more business-like, especially the emails he has included. In illustrating what the famous Zappos.com values mean, he has included write-ups from his colleagues and Zappos.com employees. That is a nice touch. The story culminates with the share deal Zappos.com made with Amazon, after which Amazon let Zappos.com continue to operate independently.
The recurrent themes in this story are loyalty, relationships and risk-taking, besides the obvious ones in the title of the book, namely, profits, passion and purpose.
There is intended and perhaps, unintended, humour in the book. For instance, Mr Hsieh writes about how his parents appear to have found "all ten" Asian families in Marin county for regular get-togethers. Michael Moritz of Sequoia doing the Macarena is not an image easily banished from the mind! There are also some notable gaps. Not all key characters in his story are featured, a sometimes deliberate exclusion which Mr Hsieh explains in the foreword. But while Fred Mossler appears prominently, rightly so, Nick Swinmurn, the founder of Zappos.com appears to have been glossed over and his departure doesn't figure in the book. This seems a bit strange seeing as the Zappos.com story is about motivating the team, and engaging and leading them to a higher purpose. Towards the end, the book become a tiny bit tedious and "corporate". Especially in the chapters titled "Taking it to the next level" and "End game".
But if one can get over those quibbles, it is an engaging, hilarious, often moving, thought-provoking and inspiring read about creating a business that many now look to as the exemplar in customer service.
Usefulness note: While reading it, I thought of mentors, friends and young entrepreneurs I know and admire. Many of them appear to have read the book already; others will certainly benefit from reading it.
YES I agree with many comments on here that it seems the book has been written by a 17 years old nerdy kid at times, however that is exactly what makes this book even more genuine and sincere.
I do highly recommended to anyone who wants to read what goes in the mind of business leaders and visionaries.