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 haven't read the printed version but this book was narrated by Tony Hsieh which sounded a lot batter than other audible books!!!
While I applaud Tony's desire to narrate his own book, I don't think the audio could be much more boring. It was hard to slog through for that reason alone.
Otherwise, I thought his writing was very good and he expressed himself and his company well. May be the case where you should read it rather than listen to it.
BTW - I listened to this to hear about the Zappos culture and see if there was anything we could incorporate into our business and there was plenty. What I got most was the need to do one thing and try your damndest to be the best at it. Zappos just decided to pick the coolest concept and then aced it.
Worth Listing To!
Tony... It's his life of Creating Success
The Realness of his life
Way to go Tony :) Great book.
Interests in Design/Engineering, Architecture, & History
Here's the bottom line, I enjoy business books and memoirs to hear about people's struggle and wisdom and how they achieved their goals. As a result of these books, I'm inspired, and I approach my day with more confidence and feel-goodness.
This book doesn't deliver. You won't feel inspired, like you should "go out and and get 'em", you won't really learn anything new, and you'll be surprised there's a long section on how to play poker popping up in the middle about a book presumably about Zappos.
This book treads between the worlds of not supplying enough information or story when it is needed, and then going off topic on threads that really shouldn't be in the book in the first place. For example, when starting and selling his first business to Microsoft for 260+million, there could be more information on the business itself, how it ran, what it was like, but instead, it's over in less than a few minutes, and hey, he's a millionaire. Then a long rambling section on how to play poker??? Even if it's helpful, even if it's true, if I wanted to read a book on how Tony Hsieh plays poker, I would be looking for a book called Delivering Poker Chips by Tony Hsieh. In this book it just sticks out like narcissistic rambling.
Didn't make it that far
Yes!!! Tony's voice was very boring and monotone and did not engage me as a listener.
Yes, search for a better book for entrepreneurs.
Tony's stories about his childhood lemonade stands and other ventures did not inspire me at all. I wanted to learn more about Zappos' amazing supply chain and business model, not about a typical asian-american upbringing in America.
I am not an avid book reader. I try. But I have a stack of awesome books that are half read sitting on my bedside table hoping to be absorbed by osmosis. Tony Hsiesh's Delivering Happiness was different. This was my first audio book and I listed to it daily in my office as I started my day. Some days I made mindless things up so I could concentrate more on Tony's intense and brilliant words that were so easy to relate to - I felt like I could have been one of his best friends hanging out in that Party Loft. That would have been me...and I would have been one of the friends just wanting to help get him started.
I just am blown away at the simplicity, humbleness, love for his people, core values, company culture, and finding the truth about HAPPINESS from Tony. I'm sad for the book to be over, but will start over on Monday until I can feel that same passion from within without having to even think about it. It won't be exactly a Zappos company...nor do I want it to be, but it will be a little bit weird, a little bit fun while delivering WOW through service.
Tony Hsiesh - blown away by you and want to hang out and drink some cold beers with you.
You are one incredibly awesome man.
I guess when he left Microsoft and he realized -
"I had decided to stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion"
The Rave: (I've so been in this exact moment)
the music was moving through everyone - it was the heartbeat that radiated and flowed through everyone at once.
PLUR: Peace Love Unity Respect - mantra for life - Approach a stranger and get to genuinely know them
YES YES YES YES YES
gifting this to biz partner and my director of marketing. Inspiring, yet funny, easy to listen to and just awesome.
I enjoyed the first half, the story of how Mr Hsieh was raised, started his first company and how Zapos started. The second half starts in with the "Zapos Culture" BS. Huge sales pitch, bunch of "corporate climate" crap (aka, how to get your employees to work harder without paying them more).
No. His story is told, and that's all he has.
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