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Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose Paperback – March 19, 2013
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About the Author
Tony Hsieh became involved with Zappos as an advisor and investor in 1999, about two months after the company was founded. He eventually joined Zappos full time in 2000.
Under his leadership, Zappos has grown gross merchandise sales from $1.6M in 2000 to over $1 billion in 2008 by focusing relentlessly on customer service.
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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.
I struggled to get through the first half of the book. In Tony Hsieh, I couldn’t relate to someone who chose to spend part of his upbringing as a professional poker player in Las Vegas.
The book became meaningful to me when Tony explains how their culture was fostered and how they developed their 10 core values. This was not done by the founders but by involving every member of their team in a process that took more than 12 months. He then explains in detail how they live their values and the effect this has had on team members inside and outside of work.
Two other gems for me were:
1. Tony Hsieh emphasises that the telephone is the real relationship building tool at Zappos. Most unusual for an internet company and a very different approach to their parent company, Amazon.
2. When employees log on to their computer a photo of a randomly selected employee appears on the screen. They are given a multiple choice test to name the employee. Afterwards the profile and bio of that employee is shown. What a great way of reducing silos in a growing company.
Tony Hsieh did not use a ghost writer for this book which I reckon was a mistake. However, because of the insights mentioned above and the depth of his explanation about the development and evolution of their culture at Zappos, it still proved to be a worthwhile read with useful insights.