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Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose Paperback – March 19, 2013
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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.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Zappos CEO Hsieh offers a compelling account of his transformation from callow Harvard student entrepreneur through his years as a dot-com wunderkind to the creator of a formidable brand. Interest might flag as Hsieh, fresh off selling his Internet company LinkExchange to Yahoo in 1999 for $265 million, kvetches about lacking fulfillment. But as the tech boom bursts, and Hsieh confronts his dwindling investments, his story comes alive. As the funding for his incubator companies dries up and one of his most promising startups, Zappos.com, a shoe retailer, seems doomed, Hsieh blossoms into a mature businessperson, slashing expenses and presciently making customer service the essence of the company's brand. The story becomes suspenseful as Hsieh recounts the stress of operating in survival mode, liquidating his assets to fund the company in its darkest days and seeking out an 11th-hour loan. By the time Zappos is acquired by Amazon for more than $1.2 billion in 2009, Hsieh and his team had built a unique corporate culture dedicated to employee empowerment and the promise of delivering happiness though satisfied customers and a valued workforce. An uplifting tale of entrepreneurial success, personal growth, and redemption. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
WordPress recommends this book as a manifesto on delivering better customer service. I did not find a lot of practical advice or actionable insights to that effect in this book.
However, this book reads easily as a short history of the company and as an account of Tony's own life experiences. I enjoyed that aspect. Hence the three stars.
This book is very interesting because it shows people how to build and manage a successful business in a rather unusual way. Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, basically explain that having a great employer/employee relationship is key to successful business. It is how he gets and maintains this relationship where it gets “weird” and unusual. In this book, he shares that he personally hangs out with his employees outside of the office, he is throwing parties for them, he is drinking with them and so on. Surprisingly, it works. The result is that employees are more productive, especially in delivering great customer service (Zappos is well known for great customer service and they take pride in that). For the company, customer satisfaction is not the task for one specific department; the whole company gets involved and makes sure that satisfaction is delivered.
What I especially liked about this book is that it made me think outside of the box. It made think about all the different possibilities on how to begin, manage and maintain (especially talking about startup businesses). What Tony did is absolutely brilliant and although it may not work with every business cases, it is a good example on how to work differently and still get great result.
I understand that this book also include an little bit of autobiography but as the reader, I think there is few unwanted details that can confuse other readers because it tends to get out of topic.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and I really recommend this book to people who want to get some inspiration. I especially recommend other student just like me to read it as well because it can be helpful in future projects.
No offense to Tony, but some sections can really drag on and do not offer much insight, however, he did warn us that he is not a professional, and did not use a ghostwriter. Most of Tony’s anecdotes explain why he made his business decisions and can be pretty funny. In keeping with his company culture of transparency, Tony took a unique approach and included many unedited excerpts from former employees, which helped add insight to his story.
A particularly useful section was where he used employees, CFO to new hires, to help explain the value in his “10 Core Values.” For example, Zappos would offer new hires a $2,000 bonus to leave, yet less than 1% ever took that offer. You get to explore an extremely unique culture and the eventual acquisition by Amazon for 1.2 billion dollars.
I am a student at the University of Baltimore who is taking a survey Entrepreneurship class during Fall 2015, and although this was required reading, I found it easy and enjoyable.