Showing posts with label Tony Hsieh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tony Hsieh. Show all posts

Book Review: Delivering Happiness by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

Monday, June 7, 2010

Delivering Happiness
Of the many pairs of shoes I own, I know exactly which ones came from Zappos. Before I was laid off, the site was my p0rn. I would sit on my lunch break and page through the sections looking for my next purchase. I don't go to the site nearly as often nowadays. It's too torturous. But, I appreciate their service and I'm sure I'll take advantage of my VIP status at some point.

I signed up to receive an advance copy of CEO Tony Hsieh's book Delivering Happiness mostly because of my obsession interest in shoes but also because of a piece I read in Inc. Magazine* about Zappos and it's company culture and curiosity about one of the greatest ecommerce success stories of all time.

Even though I'm not a business person or entrepreneur I still really enjoyed the book. Hsieh has a really casual writing style, more like story telling. The beginning section had me laughing with his early attempts at building his fortune. At age nine I was still playing with Barbies and he was setting up his first business.

What I like about the book:
*That he wrote it himself, no ghostwriters.
*The emphasis on money and profits being happy byproducts, not the main goals
*The theme of finding one's passion is all throughout the book, not just in the title. It's not marketing, it's what he really believes. 

What I didn't like about the book:
*The section about the development of the Core Values lost me a little. I like that Hsieh uses emails and stories from other employees to illustrate the values but with 10 of them, it got to be a little much (though the transcript on page 166 of a live chat between a customer and  Zappos employee Jonathan is hilarious!).
*I really would have liked a few pictures. With all the emphasis on the importance of the culture, photographic examples would have been fun. 

Inc. Magazine** hosted a live chat with Hsieh this morning. I submitted two questions and both were answered! (I screwed up my screen shot, boo!) I'm paraphrasing Tony's answers:

Q: You found your passion early in life, what advice would you give to late bloomers?
A: "Try a little bit of everything."

I'm enjoying blogging a lot more than I was at the end of last year. It's giving me new perspective. While I can't say I've found my passion, but I definitely feel being part of this community and social media scene has opened so many doors, given an outlet to my creativity and inspired so many ideas that it's just a matter of time.

Q: Do you thin Zappos will be using brand ambassadors as so many companies seem to be doing lately?
A: "I'm not sure what other companies are doing, but at Zappos we'd like to think our loyal customers are our brand ambassadors."

I asked this because it seems that all of the Zappos social media comes from inside the company. The employees are the ones to blog, Tweet, and Facebook. It would be interesting to hear how an "outsider" would report about the company.

As part of my review, I got a second copy to give away. To keep it easy for myself I'm holding the giveaway on Twitter (family in town this week).

1. If you'd like a copy Tweet out something with #ZapposDHBook in it. I need the hashtag to track the responses. If you're not on Twitter but think you'd like to read it, leave a comment below and I'll see what I can do (no promises though). Follow @dhbook to read the other reviews and enter other giveaways.
2. The contest will close this Friday June 11th at midnight CA time. Any Tweets after that won't count.
3. I'll send the winner a Tweet letting them know they've won. If I get no response by Sunday night I'll choose another winner. Good luck!

All in all I really enjoyed Delivering Happiness. I don't often read business books like this but I can see myself looking into some of the titles Hsieh makes available to the staff in the Zappos library. Lessons about doing what you love, looking beyond profit (or a paycheck) and being passionate translate into all areas of life, not just business.

*Not the piece in the current issue, this was some time ago.
**This sounds like I'm pimping Inc. but I'm not. I just really enjoy the magazine.

I received both copies of the book from Zappos as part of their blogger review program. I didn't get anything for it other than a good read. Book cover image from Amazon.
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