Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
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In his first book, Tony Hsieh - the hip, iconoclastic, and widely-admired CEO of Zappos, the online shoe retailer - - explains how he created a corporate culture with a commitment to service that aims to improve the lives of its employees, customers, vendors, and backers. Using anecdotes and stories from his own life experiences, and from other companies, Hsieh provides concrete ways that companies can achieve unprecedented success. He details many of the unique practices at Zappos, such as their philosophy of allocating marketing money into the customer experience, the importance of Zappos's Core Values ("Deliver WOW through Service"), and the reason why Zappos's number one priority is company culture and his belief that once you get the culture right, everything else - great customer service, long-term branding - will happen on its own. Finally, Delivering Happiness explains how Zappos employees actually apply the Core Values to improving their lives outside of work, proving that creating happiness and record results go hand-in-hand.
- Amazon Sales Rank: #442 in Books
- Published on: 2010-06-07
- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 9.25" h x 1.00" w x 6.50" l, 1.02 pounds
- Binding: Hardcover
- 253 pages
- ISBN13: 9780446563048
- Condition: New
- Notes: BRAND NEW FROM PUBLISHER! BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
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?
Business books: Good to Great, Peak, Tribal Leadership Made to Stick
Non-business books: The Happiness Hypothesis Comedy Writing Secrets The Game5. What is the ratio between rebelling against conventional wisdom and sticking to the good old truths in building a successful business?
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
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.
"In DELIVERING HAPPINESS, Tony reveals the secret to his success at such a young age: leadership in culture and happiness." (Lance Armstrong )
"In this fascinating (and often hilarious) account, Tony explains how he turns his beliefs into actions that really do deliver happiness." (Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project )
"This book is awesome. How Tony and Zappos grew to $1 billion in gross revenue in 10 years is just the beginning. From fundraising to finding happiness, from actual e-mails to checklists, it covers it all. Intensely personal and intensely practical." (Tim Ferriss, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek )
"Tony is a wise guy. Sincerely. He's one of the wisest and most thoughtful business leaders of the modern age." (Chip Conley, Founder and CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality and Author, PEAK: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow) (added by author)
"This book could start a revolution!" (Marshall Goldsmith, author of MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It )
"This book illustrates so many of Zappos' core values: it's open and honest, passionate and humble, fun and a little weird. Even if you don't care about business, technology, or shoes, you'll be drawn in by this American tale of how hard work, laziness, talent and failure blend together to create an extraordinary life." (Jonathon Haidt, author of THE HAPPINESS HYPOTHESIS: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom )
"Tony Hsieh is the shining star of a new way of working. DELIVERING HAPPINESS is a book that tells an extraordinary business story -- building a $1 billion online business selling shoes in less than a decade -- but also an extraordinary human story. Tony is one of those entrepreneurs who is both fearless and endlessly imaginative about pursuing his dreams." (Tony Schwartz, Author of THE WAY WE'RE WORKING ISN'T WORKING )
"DELIVERING HAPPINESS is a glimpse into the mind of one of the most remarkable business leaders of our time. Like its author, the book is authentic, oddly original, doesn't take itself too seriously--yet delivers a potent message. This book needs to be read by anyone who takes the happiness of other people seriously. " (Dave Logan, professor at the Marshall School of Business/USC' and coauthor of TRIBAL LEADERSHIP AND THE THREE LAWS OF PERFORMANCE )
"An uplifting tale of entrepereneurial success, personal growth, and redemption." (Publishers Weekly )
A must-read for inspiration ... plus two other suggested titles for practical implementation
There has been quite a crop of customer service related books recently, as well as the classics in the field. They each have their own angle, and I'm going to use this brief review as a chance to summarize where Delivering Happiness falls in this group as well as how to complement it with a couple of other books with different approaches that make for a very well-rounded outlook in tandem.
As far as [[Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose:]]
I was privileged to get a galley of this much-anticipated title. It's the story of an entrepreneur and the different paths he took (or twists in the one path, depending on how you look at it). A fascinating story, and not just because of the bezillion dollars he got selling the company to amazon. (And: how can you not like a guy who calls his warehouse WHISKY (WareHouse Inventory and Supply in Kentucky -- Page 118)? Heavy emphasis on his pursuit of happiness for himself and his staff -- very admirable and inspiring.
If you're looking to directly transform your customer service/customer experience, you may want to add to Tony's inspiring autobiography some directly actionable books to help you turn his ideas into techniques you can put into practice right away -- and that are highly consonant with Tony's pro-employee, pro-customer, outlook -- I suggest two books --one a classic, one that's new this Spring -- that can take care of this for you.
1. Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization
This, like Tony Hsieh's book, is a new title this Spring. Practical, useful insights from the insiders who created high-tech startups and The Ritz-Carlton. Contains specific prescriptions for how to handle many different customer situations like they're handled at the companies profiled inside (incl: Zappos, Ritz-Carlton, Netflix, Charlie Trotter's, Lexus,), appendices with scripts you can use right away, etc.
2. [[Customers For Life: How To Turn That One-Time Buyer Into a Lifetime Customer]]
This is an older title, and a classic: how a texas cadillac dealer, of all people, mastered great customer service. Extremely simple, but never simplistic. Has inspired many business leaders since it was written. Many pages have usable, actionable insights. If you don't have this in your library (and in your psyche) yet, why not? You can probably grab it used for next to nothing, and the wisdom is timeless enough that you hardly need the "latest revised edition" if you need to save a few dollars.
Too much hype and not enough substance
I can not believe it but after 12 years of buying my books on Amazon, I am compelled to write a review. I found this book extremely creepy.
First, I was disappointed in the flip tone of this book. The preface includes a blurb about not bothering to have the book edited by a professional editor because the author did not find it necessary and wanted to continue to poke at his past English teachers because obviously he "showed them" by being a best-selling author and not bothering to be a conscientious writer. I can not imagine having an ax to grind with a teacher I haven't seen in 20 years who may have corrected my work during my "formative years".
Second, I want to personally apologize to every [...] employee. How does one work for a fellow who prides himself on not hiring "talented people"? I am dead serious. Tony clearly states that bringing in talented people into the organization as it grew would cause the culture to change so would not be part of his strategy to build the company.
Third, I also fail to understand how drinking with your co-workers and spending nearly every waking moment with them brings profit, passion and purpose. Yes, team cohesion is obviously important. The military wouldn't function without it. Spending a happy hour with co-workers and eating lunch together for instance, makes sense. Failing to keep your job because Bob in accounting doesn't like socializing with you after work, doesn't make any sense. Failing to be promoted because you don't drink and (horror) actually go home to your kids at night, doesn't make sense.
To summarize, I would re-title this book "A Formula for Running a Successful Cult" by Tony Hsieh aka The Big Pumbah because he has mastered the most important features of a well run cult.
1. Alienation (Done! Replace real family with new family - aka other Zappos employees! Eat all meals together, work long hours, socialize with employees only.)
2. Us/Them Syndrome (Done! Emphasize the collective over the individual. Executed brilliantly by administering a culture test and immediately firing anyone who questions the company as arrogant and not a fit.)
3. Charismatic Leader (Done Well! Name another Zappos leader? Thinking, thinking. . .Can't? No because the cult(ure) is the cult(ure) of Tony! Let's go shave our head and paint it blue!)
4. Exclusivity (Done! Private company. Private goings on. No nasty prying by Wall Street and no grown-ups (remember the missing talented types that were going to destroy them?) to correct us. It's a Zappos' Thing, You Wouldn't Understand!)
This book traces Tony Hsieh's rapid progress in the business world, from callow party dweeb with a high IQ to his selling of Zappos to Amazon for north of a billion dollars. Along the way, we get some ups and downs in business startups, the hunt for money, the hunt for the secret to corporate long-term success, and some input from partners and employees along the way. Zappos' leadership eventually decided to emphasise sterling customer service as the key to their own corporate culture, and the last third of the book - the part worth reading - covers what this means to the customer, to the employees tasked with turning it into a reality, and to the bottom line. The idea was to infuse ten larger values (with numerous sub-meanings and applications) into every aspect of every department of the company. Since Hsieh is now a billionaire or very close to it, one can say that, certainly in this case, it worked.
In general the book is a very light read. It is destined to be given out to employees for free, and to serve as a sort of corporate diary and the documentation of the corporate mythology. That's not necessarily bad, just what it is. The last few pages are a little more thoughtful, where the author tries to relate his business experience to a philosophical discussion of life, the universe and everything. This stuff might be a bit of a stretch, but it is the kind of expansive view of things one can expect from a businessman in his position and there are few business books by hugely successful authors that can resist this kind of thing.