Having been given a complementary advanced reading copy of the book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, it is only fitting that I return the favor by giving an honest review of a personal, humorous, and informative narrative told by the CEO of Zappos himself, Tony Hsieh.
The book gives you an insight into the life of Tony Hsieh, whom many have only heard about through the recent acquisition of Zappos by Amazon. He discusses his adventures in entrepreneurship – from worm farms, through building a customer service enterprise – in his pursuit of delivering happiness to the world. Along the way Hsieh dabbles in the art of making and selling buttons through a mail-order catalog, running a pizza business during college, building Link Exchange and selling to Microsoft for $275 million, and finally, through the survival of Zappos during a period where they were walking within inches of financial bankruptcy.
Just the story of Tony’s life is an interesting read in and of itself. You learn of why he acquires a love for the peace-love-unity-respect (PLUR) culture after attending a rave for the first time, why he sold his million dollar loft after throwing a massive birthday bash, why he left a stable well-paying job at Oracle, and of course, the journey from an initial investment in ShoeSite.com to what we know today as Zappos.com.
Our Brand, Culture, and Pipeline are the only competitive advantages that we will have in the long run. Everything else can and will eventually be copied. – Tony Hsieh
Of course there’s much more than just an interesting story. There is also a look into the culture of a company dedicated to delivering the best possible customer service both to its customers, as well as its employees. Throughout the last half of the book there are excerpts written by employees, vendors, and customers that give insight into the company.
I can easily recommend reading this book, especially those in charge of managing and running a business, as it’s a great guide to building a great company culture and having excellent customer service. If you are just starting a company then definitely check it out now before your company grows too large – it’s worth learning Tony’s mistakes, failures, and successes.