Tony Hsieh is a really nice guy. This is what makes him a very unusual CEO, which is what makes his company so interesting. It also makes him a writer who doesn't use much corporate lingo, and a terrifically casual reader of his own book on the growth and development of Zappos, his unique company. One part memoir, one part philosophy, one part corporate handbook, and all silly optimism, Delivering Happiness will appeal to a surprisingly wide audience.
Hsieh begins with his business history, which adequately conveys his wackiness. First, there was the worm farm in elementary school. All the worms escaped, and he lost money. Then there was the mail order button business in middle school, so successful that he passed it along to his younger brothers in succession. In high school, he learned a bunch about programming, thereby combining his instincts with an appropriate knowledge base. He laughs out loud at his own computer club lunchtime antics, and so will you. Then there was the pizza business in his dorm at Harvard, where Hsieh found innovative ways not to attend any classes, and a high-paying corporate gig after graduation where he once again did as little as possible.
This is a man who likes to take business risks, and as he explains how he made decisions that caused him to grow from slacker into a Red Bull-pounding, 24-hour working machine, you'll be amazed that it sounds like he's smiling the entire time. From his first major start-up, which was subsequently sold to Microsoft, to his repeated close calls where Zappos almost went under before it was eventually bought out by Amazon, this true story of one man's corporate odyssey will leave you believing that anything really is possible. It will also at least make you want to shop at Zappos, if it doesn't make you want to move to as Vegas to work there.
Shot through with brief guest-narrations using the actual participants relevant to Hsieh's fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, there are a wealth of memos, emails, and testimonials that all serve as evidence to his weird intellect. And if you played a drinking game where you drank a shot every time Hsieh mentions having a drink, you'd be drunk before the book is half finished. From the tone of his voice to the story he tells, this is clearly a guy who needs his work to be fun and challenging. Just as Zappos has done, Hsieh's book casually fires the opening volley in a new era of corporate culture and management.
This eye-opening treatise on how to be happy at work has the added bonus of an hour-long conversation between Tony Hsieh and Warren Bennis, who has been universally considered one of the most significant leadership gurus for the past 40 years. Much of what Hsieh says is a more concise version of what he says in the book, though insights from the aging but still hilariously astute Bennis do offer something extra exciting. They discuss happiness in a way that is useful to all people, not just corporations. Megan Volpert
In this, his first audiobook, Tony Hsieh - the widely admired CEO of Zappos, the online shoe retailer - explains how he created a unique culture and commitment to service that aims to improve the lives of 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. Even better, he shows how creating happiness and record results go hand-in-hand.
He starts with the "Why" in a section where he narrates his quest to understand the science of happiness. Then he runs through the ten Zappos "Core Values" - such as "Deliver WOW through Service", "Create Fun and A Little Weirdness", and "Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit" - and explains how you and your colleagues should come up with your own.
Hsieh then details many of the unique practices at Zappos that have made it the success it is today, such as their philosphy of allocating marketing money into the customer experience, thereby allowing repeat customers and word-of-mouth be their true form of marketing. He also explains 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 - and to making a difference in their communities and the world.
©2010 Tony Hsieh (P)2010 Hachette
I was really interested in how they created the culture and customer experience at Zappos. That content is definitely here, but there's a lot of meandering around to get to it.
I like that Tony wrote this book without a ghostwriter, but it definitely does show in the pacing and amount of "filler" content. I don't need to read word-for-word emails that you sent (several times throughout a book). Just tell me the cause and effect.
While I admire that the author wanted to narrate his own words, I found his tone to be much too monotone and sleepy. I found myself constantly wanting to move ahead and get to it.
Yes, I plan to listen to it again, because it's just such an uplifting story.
The most memorable moment, by far, is when Tony (the author/narrator/protagonist) is watching his party get broken up by the cops, and a mysterious woman turns to him and tells him that he has a gift for bringing people together.
No, but it made me smile quite a lot.
After listening to this book, I've been inspired to make a pilgrimage out to Las Vegas and see Tony Hsieh's "Downtown Project" with my own eyes.
I love listening to audiobooks especially Spy thrillers (Daniel Silva type books) and business books (Steve Jobs autobiography as an eg)
The story of Tony is brilliant. I listened to Jeff Bezos book too but Tony was merely a small fraction of the story.
Made me Cry a bit
A very powerful book with plenty of messages not only for startups but for everyone - my sister is a home maker and i would recommend it to her too.
This is a great insight into the mind and life of a guy who has made a lot of money doing what many people hope - selling their business to a big company. I found the insight about how money doesn't buy happiness really valuable and think it's worth hearing and adding to your thinking.
I enjoyed the honesty about what was happening at each stage for these guys. The openness about making money, risking it all, and being happy no matter which way the deal goes was good to hear.
No I haven't heard him speak before. But I do listen to a lot of audio books and his performance was easy, calm, and fluid. Very easy listen.
I was turned onto the book because I went on a tour not of Zappos but CEO Tony Hsieh's "The Downtown Project". My whole world has changed since going on the tour. After finishing the book, its all starting to make sense how and why he built what he did downtown. He has started a very important revolution which may be a turning point in industrial and corporate culture history.
It is a great book; it has given me idea of importance and how to develop an business culture. I am grateful to the author, Tony Hsieh and his team has shared many anecdotes.
To be fair to Tony, I am impressed by then man and what he has done in business and with both LinkExchange and Zappos. I had high hopes for the book, perhaps too high.
The story is interesting, though the narration is difficult to listen to. I understand the idea of being authentic and using the peoples real voices but sometimes it really is best to leave it to the experts.
I found the story of Tony's life the most interesting part though the repetition of key beliefs and approached to business got a little tiring.
Overall I just think I was expecting too much. I did enjoy it, though it didn't blow me away.
build around customers
He is very passionate about the company. He and his team went through ups and downs and stayed the course.
Great book. Build your business around the customer. Word of mouth is the strongest advertising. Surround yourself with great people.
Yes. It was nice to hear how Tony and his colleagues value culture.
No - too long
Very good book if you are looking at how culture can contribute to a company's success or failure.
Overall this is a great book to learn Tony's story, how he grew up, what drove him, and what he did to create his company. There is so much good information to learn and model that I find myself re-reading this book every six months or so.
"Dull and over simple"
I had high hope for this book after reading the other reviews but I have to say having just read the Steve Jobs autobiography this is woeful in comparison. The book is padded out with detail that neither has relevence or any entertainment value.
eg. I made a cup of tea for Dave, I took a cup and put boiling water in it and then I added a tea bag. Dave waited a while for the liquid to cool and raised it to his lips. He then started drinking the liquid.
Yes Tony we understand how a cup of tea is made.
"Dull, dull, dull!"
It sounded like he was reading straight from the book.
The book was very repetitive. Didn't contain any insights. It was generally annoying to listen to.
"Last year I read 30 books this was the BEST"
If you are passionate about business or just inspiring journeys of self discovery this book is a must read. I loved it and I am sure you will too.
Loved this as my why / purpose is about peacefully adding quality and value to others so that they can connect with the best version of themselves. Tony's obsession with customer service and culture has given me huge inspiration for what we are building at MYDNACOACH.com - thanks Tony!
"inspirational book. highly recommended. "
an insight into building one of the World's most customer centric companies and how to build the culture that delivers such high levels of service. the author Tony Hsieh describes in detail how he created 1 multi million company that sold to Microsoft but where the early fun culture had changed. taking this learning and seeing seeds of a great company in Zappos he charts the early struggles with financing, cash flow, and ultimately creating a culture that is the envy of many organisations before doing a deal with Amazon. suitable for any business looking to differentiate through service.
really enjoyed the content and delivery of this. some really great insights and very interesting culture content.
"Enjoyable to listen to"
Didn't know much about Zappos before listening but was prepared to be amazed, which I was. Not only does this provide some really valuable lessons and business/life rules to live by, but the way Tony reads the story is also enjoyable and humorous.
"A great book !!!"
Honesty, Integrity and trust. I found this book very interesting in many ways. But main reason is the way how author describes his story and himself in various situations of his life.
There are many out there. I would rather not to do it. Every book is unique..
Developing the right culture in a company.
It is possible to be happy and deliver results.
"Some great concepts that anyone can add to their business"
A fantastic book with some many great ideas that you can implement into your own business, as well as a very interesting look into the creation of Zappos. Well worth a read, can't wait to work on some changes to my own business
"Great Personal and Business Development."
Yes, there is so much information to get from this book and I want to listen again so that I can take it all in.
I loved the mix of his personal life and business life. I loved how he compared the business world to poker etc.
I felt like he was talking to me directly, helping me grow as a person.
No - definitely something that you digest over time.
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