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    Delivering Happiness Reviewed

    February 22nd, 2011

    It has been quite some time since I tore through a book but Tony Hsieh‘s account of his life, struggles he faced, and visions for the future of Zappos was easy to finish and hard to put down.  I give this book an 8.5 / 10 and would classify it as an “inspirational” type book.

    To start at the end, Delivering Happiness is about the path to the current Zappos brand promise to deliver happiness – quite a bit more broad than the “largest selection of shoes” that was the promise in 1999.  Continuing from the end backward, the book takes on the sale of Zappos to Amazon, the early (and tough) days of the company, Tony’s selling of LinkExchange, and it starts with some stories of what made Tony the person he is today.  I think the thing that really makes this book so easy to read is that it reads more as a story than any sort of handbook, guide, biography, or company history.

    The book was particularly pleasant for me because I would stop and make parallels to my own youth along the way.  It was fun to think about some of the things that I did growing up – some of the ‘business’ ideas that I tried and failed at.  It also reinforced the simple truth: CEOs of the most successful companies were just kids at one point, making mistakes and learning along the way.  This is a truth that would do many good to remember when they stumble in their lives.

    There were also moments of reflection for me while reading.  Having worked at one of the great customer service companies, Lands’ End, I share a passion for the customer.  A belief that we should try and help the customer.  Some of the parallels of the companies are amazing.  But at the heart of it one this is clear – both were the passion of their founders.

    One point that I want to emphasize is an idea that I have had for a long time and it is interesting to hear it from a leader like Tony, that a brand cannot exist with out a company culture that matches it.  When looking for employment, schools, or areas to live this is a key thing to keep in mind.  A nice job or a fancy house or the most elite school will do you no good if the culture doesn’t fit.  You will not be happy.  And, as is pointed out at the end of the book, the short term ‘pleasure’ happiness is not enduring.  It is fleeting.  A passion is what leads to longer term happiness and being part of something  bigger than yourself lasts longest of all.  Are you making choices to be happy?

    Have you read this book?

    This has been a Thought From The Cake Scraps.