Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Book Review - Deliverying Happiness


As a business owner, I am always looking for new inspirations for my business. When our FTEC member Eleen recommended the book "Delivering Happiness", I was intrigued by its title. We all want to be happy, but what exactly does Tony Hsieh mean by "Delivering Happiness?"
Delivery Happiness started as an informal autobiography, with stories of Tony Hsieh's multiple failed business attempts as a child as a result of big dreams, great concepts, and lack of experience and research. Hsieh's desire to make big money by owning a business was not deterred by his failed attempts, and eventually one of his business ideas (custom buttons) actually succeeded and generated good income for the teenager. From there Hsieh continued to have different businesses. He became a milti-millioanaire after selling LinkExchange (which he co-founded), got involved with Zappos as an adviser and investor, and then eventually became CEO. Within 10 years, Zappos grew from almost no sales to $1 billion in gross merchandise sales, and was eventually acquired by Amazon in 2009 in a deal valued at over $1.2 billion on the day of closing.
Just like many other great success stories, Hsieh's success almost seems too glamorous and too easy -- that is, if you don't read the book Delivering Happiness, in which Hsieh candidly shares his roller coaster ride with the readers. There were ups and downs over the course of 10 years, and it took a lot of courage, passion and wisdom to create an empire.
Half way through the book, just when I was about to start wondering, "ok, so this book is about the background of Hsieh's success story. And what does it have anything to with 'Delivering Happiness'?" the direction of the book suddenly changed.
The book was divided into three sections...
Section I - Profits
Section II - Profits and Passion
Section III - Profits, Passion, and Purpose
These three sections symbolically represent different periods of Hsieh's life. Before his business succeeded, all Hsieh wanted was profits -- "I just wanted a job that paid well and didn't seem like too much work."(p.29) Then, after his success with LinkExchange, the young millionaire realized that money alone couldn't bring him happiness -- "I didn't know exactly what I was going to do, but I knew what I wasn't going to do....I had decided to stop chasing the money, and start chasing the passion."(p.54)
A turning point of Zappos was when Hsieh and Mossler(Fred) decided to make the Zappos brand about the best customer service -- "in the long run, little things that keep the customer in mind will end up paying huge dividends."(p.128)This is where "Delivering Happiness" came in --"As we rolled out these additional services, we slowly realized that we were becoming part of a bigger movement. It was no longer just about Zappos. We were helping change the world."(p.208) Hsieh talked about how Zappos delivers happiness through their unique culture/core values. Not only does Zappos try to make customers happy, it also strives to make the employees and vendors happy.
I had started reading Delivering Happiness hoping to learn to make profits, and it was nothing like what I expected -- It was much, much more.
If you are interested in learning more about Delivering Happiness, check out their website, twitter or facebook page! (I especially love Tony's twitter page among the three)

mollie (aka muyinmolly)
Disclosure: I have received the book free of charge . I am honestly reviewing the products and have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

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