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
This book is part autobiography, part inspiration. As a business owner I enjoyed every minute of it. You'll be inspired by the determination of these guys. As they will tell you, they weren't an overnight success, and, if it weren't for a little luck, they may not have made it at all. Very inspiring.
For me, this book was everything that "Onward" (the new Starbucks book) was not. Firstly, it gives a fascinating look into what is probably the world's best example of a culture driven organization. This is a topic that fascinates me and is relevant to me professionally. But the big thing that made this different than other books written by CEO's is that it came across as truly genuine. Since reading it I have signed up to visit Zappos for a Zappos Insights 2-day boot camp and look forward to attending.
This book is a history of Zappos and a biography of Tony Shea. It covers some non-traditional methods to build a great business culture. You will learn how Tony Shea achieved his first major business success by developing and selling the company Link Exchange. This provided him with funds and skills that would be essential to help the original founder of Zappos Tony Hsieh into company with intense customer and employee loyalty. After reading this book, I took a tour of Zappos (anyone can go on the tours – highly recommended) which proved that the company is extremely different than other companies.
One of the memorable stories in this book is how Tony Hsieh got the attention of Tony Shea for business funding. At the end of a not so good voice mail message, he mentioned that the catalog business was a multi-billion dollar industry. This one statement caused Tony Shea to followup eventually leading to the starting of Zappos. If you are looking for funding, have important (and shocking) credible industry information to justify business investment. If you are starting or running a business, this book will give you some great strategies and tactics along with some good motivating stories.
The three stars don't really do it justice, but the book was a little long and I felt Tony repeated himself a lot towards the middle of the book. The subject is inspiring for all of us who have a dream of making it big and the fact that Tony keeps it real throughout makes it entertaining and easy to relate to.
While the reading aloud of emails sent out to his company was revealing, I felt it was TMI a good deal of the time. All in all an enjoyable listen, but be prepared to get mired down in the message of culture. It is important, but could have been communicated in a lot less words. Sometimes brevity is our friend.
I wish I had bought the hard copy book and just read it myself. Tony Hsieh's monotone narration put me to sleep many times. That's great when you're trying to go to sleep, but not so great when you're expecting a great read. Interesting information in the book, but like others have said before, a lot of it turns into pro-zappos propaganda at the end which gets tiring. I've heard the actual book is a great read, probably because you get to hear it in your head in your own voice, and not Tony Hsieh's. It sounds whiny right now, but just wait until you've listened to him for 30 minutes. You'll know what I mean.
This book was such a validation to me. I've never started and sold huge companies and sold them for tons of money but it sure is wonderful to see that I think along the same lines as someone who has does all that. It's hard to be an employee, know the right way to do things and see the opposite happen. It's incredibly reassuring to know that there are other people out there who believe in creativity, being a real human being at your job, speaking plainly, solving problems even if they are not your problems, caring about what your customers think of you, and having big dreams for the project you are working on, is the right way to go. It's hard when there are so many examples of people stepping on employees, treating them as interchangable cogs, delivering the least amount of work to reap the most profit, being considered "successes." Here Tony reminds us what success really is, and profit doesn't always define success. There are two kinds of workers in this world. Those that can and do, do a good job because they find it fulfilling, and those who can't or don't, and decide to make their life's work a shell game of delivering just enough and politicking enough to move their way to success. I very much fall in the first category and so do the people of Zappos. I'm glad to see this permeating throughout Zappos and as their employees move on, or train, it will spread to other corporations. As it can rot from the top, so can it grow. Tony sounds like the guy you'd want as your neighbor and I thank him very much for writing this book. Now I'm reassured that it's OK to care, and do it the right way long-term, even if at times I might feel like the odd man out.
While this book does not give you a cookie-cutter approach to building a successful company, it does show how passion and perseverance can. The idea of building and maintaining a company based upon a culture of make the customer happy is one that I hope many more big names in the retail industry take to heart. Tony reads this book as he wrote it - clearly and with his own unique point of view. I highly recommend this book!
I couldn't put this audible book down! Read by Tony himself - and talk about Customer Service!!!! Makes you notice every phone call you make, every time you check out at the registers, every time you even purchase something......and every time I WORK WITH MY CLIENTS!!!! Thanks Tony - talk about a good kick in the rump to get my business back on track!!!!
I really liked this book and what made it even better was Tony himself read the book along with other Zappos employees. A great read.
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