Delivering Happiness

A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Narrated by: Tony Hsieh
Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6,889 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

Featured Article: Big Ideas in Business and Tech


Even the most successful entrepreneurs had to start somewhere. When it comes to groundbreaking technology, the people who became leading business executives often began as lone visionaries with nothing but an idea. Now that they’re global industry leaders, many of them have shared their amazing stories in memoirs. These tales of heartbreak and triumph will bring you along on the roller-coaster of success, all the while showing you the secrets of how business greats transformed their dreams into reality. Read on to find your next great inspiration!

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Do one thing exceptionally

The first quarter of the book about Tony Hsieh's childhood and the lessons he learned feels a bit forced (my button business taught me the lesson of ______). But, my doubts were quickly dispelled with the story of Zappos. I loved how Tony focused on one thing, the best customer service, and did it really well. To have the best customer service, they focused on company culture through a system of hiring (it's easier to hire people who fit the culture than try to change people) and through employee advancement opportunities through their "pipeline," giving employees perceived control of their careers. I can't think of any other large company that has been able to sustain a culture (Starbucks had a unique culture, but in recent years they've become too big to sustain it). Tony says that the Zappos company culture is their one sustainable competitive advantage. Will company culture work for your company? It's hard to say, but there probably is one thing that your company could do better than any other company...and it is probably worthwhile to develop that.

The argument was made about Tony "getting lucky." I have to agree, but I'd add that any business success is 80% luck and 20% planning, tenacity, insight, and work ethic. The 20% is critical to making success, but it's not sufficient. Even the most brilliant people will fail more often than they succeed, but you don't often see the entire journey of failures before success. You could use the "luck" argument for any success (Thomas Edison just got lucky, after all, he was wrong 999 times before he was right).

I thought that Tony did an excellent job of narrating his book. This isn't the case with many authors turned narrators (i.e. Beer School), but with several authors like Malcom Gladwell and Bill Bryson, hearing the book in the author's voice puts you into the story better than with a professional narrator. I'd put Tony's narration squarely in this category.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring and down to earth book

This is an amazing story, and one that inspires you to move forward with your passion. Success, as everybody knows it when it already hits the media, portrays the glory but not the story. Entrepreneurship is like surfing, you have to ride out the waves, you never know when you hit a great one.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A business case study

This is a memoir by Tony Hsieh about how a company was molded through the founder’s philosophy and made into a successful company.

As Hsieh goes back through his childhood he provides funny and entertaining experiences that provide perspective on how he developed his unique business philosophy.
The book will provide entrepreneurs some useful information on developing a business and can act as a case study of a successful business. He shows how he built a tight-knit family like atmosphere that created happy employees. The employees then worked harder for the company. He also shows how he built team cohesion. At the end of the book there is a statement by Jeff Bezos and also a discussion group with a professor Marshall and Hsieh.

The book is well written and easy to read. The company Hsieh build was Zappos an online shoe emporium. Hsieh sold the company for $1.2 billion dollars to Amazon. Tony Hsieh narrated his own book.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing Growth and Corporate Culture Story

I really enjoyed hearing about Tony's growth as an individual and listening to the trials and tribulations when building Zappos. Opposed to the standard book rambling off stats or uncommon words to give the perception of intelligence; Tony along with some other Zappos employees informally talk to you just like you were at Starbucks telling a story. Opposed to be lectured to like the professor in the last chapter of the book, it feels like you're experiencing birth and rise of Zappos alongside Tony and his staff. If you a business owner looking for an excellent inspirational book that provides a blueprint on how you can start thinking about changing your company's culture then this is the book!

The only thing I couldn't handle was the listening to an interview with Warren Bennis and Tony at the end. This guy is the typical professor who is obsessed with himself, self promotes another one of his ignoramus books, and talks down to Tony, all while trying to appear that his vast intellect is fair superior than Tony's while having no clue who Tony even is. I seriously would have rather listened to an air horn next to my ear than listen to Warren Bennis for another second. What's even worse that that the guy that introduces Warren and Tony to the group is so infatuated with him (Warren) that I wasn't sure if the guy was going to start licking Warrens big toe or start talking about the fan club.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Delivering: a recipe for organizational culture

I had heard of Zappos as the online shoestore, but never as the company that sees its culture as its core competence. The book outlines Tony Hsieh's (the owner/CEO) personal business biography and combines it with the steps he and his team took to build Zappos.

Tony shows that success is also a matter of luck: Zappos hovered on the brink of bankruptcy for a few years and only his own wealth prevented it until finally some investors put money on the table, and even then it took 4-6 years before Zappos was out of the danger zone.

The book is a very nice story, and although Tony is not a narrator (he speaks a bit fast) his enthusiasm and personal touch make him the ideal storyteller nonetheless. I am not much for biographies, so the book for me became really interesting when he starts to describe how he build the culture of the company step by step. Not planned or methodical, because that's not how it works, but purposeful with deep commitment from his colleagues, co-workers and the extended Zappos family.

For any organisation that wishes to strengthen (or make explicit) its culture, this book gives plenty of ideas and suggestions on how to do it and what might result from it. Not only for startups or internet companies, but for any organisation bigger than 25 people. Some ideas that Tony shares:
- hire only people that share your values: that way, the live what the company stands for instead of following their own agenda
- teach company values in a intensive introductory training
- live the company values also with your suppliers (it is easier with your customers)
- have your employees co-determine the values of your organisation. Re-iterate them regularly, to see if the culture is still where you want it to be. A 'culture book' helps to both verify the culture as well as share it with new employees
- encourage community and getting to know other employees outside your own department: this fosters a 'we' feeling (instead of departmental kingdoms)
- share, commit and take risk also as managers.

The culture of Zappos might not be the culture you wish or have, but that is not the point. The key is that a strong culture can strengthen your position and can be purposefully built. Try it yourself!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great ideas and entertaining

It was an entertaining book to listen to on the road, great ideas about culture in companies, customer service, experience and capacity building. Will start to apply ideas in my company.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Uplifting business book

Great book going through the history of Zappos and showing a successful business can be run a different way. Unlike other business books that put the owner on a pedestal this one keeps it real. What amazed me was the huge risk he took to make Zappos happen. While he should not read other books his voice added a level of authenticity and depth to this one.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Delivering Spin

Delivering Happiness is part brief autobiography, part “here are my brilliant ideas for how to conceive, start, and run a business”. He is more strongly oriented towards creating a corporate culture than any other business guru, and presents interesting ideas for how to create that culture. However, I’ve got a problem with Tony and the book - proof (or at least viable evidence) and replication. Tony was at the right place at the right time once and pretty much by accident made millions in the process. Out of boredom he joined what was to become Zappos. 10 years later he has made Zappos the largest online store specializing in footwear, with sales over $1B per year. But Zappos has always been on the verge of failure and is completely dependent on an ongoing 100 million dollar line of credit with their banks. This tells me that they have less than $1M (less than 10%) in profit. This would not be considered a successful situation for any business. For all of the hype about how brilliant Tony is, he hasn’t proved that culture is the key to business success. I wish he had–I’m a huge believer in developing corporate culture, one based on integrity, contribution, and “doing what is right”. He as not demonstrated that if you build the right culture the profits will follow. He has not demonstrated anything except that he was successful at making money by accident one time in his life, and his Zappos isn’t it. More disappointing is he discusses the dozens, possibly over a hundred other companies he helped start, most of which failed, none of which had more than marginal success. So like most of the other business gurus, he provides no proof or evidence of his ideas, and has not been able to replicate his one (apparently accidental) success. Not someone I would consider a viable role model, leader, or even teacher.

75 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Read!

This book is interesting and very informative for a business owner. I love Tony's style of writing - it's very natural and you feel like you know him. I would recommend this book to other business owners and my employees.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good read, not good Business!!

Here is the thing, the book is a good listen. It was a crazy trip the man took from start to finish and made for an exciting listen. But as for a business book, not good. There is nothing business about it. The book should be in Entertainment section.
I am in business, and i can tell you, if you are doing $46 millioin a year in rev. and not making a profit. you have issues and a horrible business plan. Yes in the end it worked out for him, but 999 out of a 1,000 times the person will be writting a book on how they lost everything. And he almost did, dont get me wrong i know how the story ended and they deserve everything they got in the end.
But not because of great business, if anything, it shows when the owner of Amazon (a real business man) wasnt interested in the company until years later when really business people made it profitable....
With that being said, like mentioned earlier, great listen, exciting, but dont plan on learning anything to help you in your business.. this should be in entertainment..

34 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Craig Beck
  • 01-26-12

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.

13 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Christopher
  • 12-16-16

I don't know how this book has rated so well....

I was expecting inspiration, a great story and something totally different to what's in this book, the reviews I read before purchasing this book lead me to believe it was awesome, but I think Zappos staff wrote them all....

I got a refund.

All filler, no thriller...

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ashleigh McKeown
  • 04-01-19

Love this Book

A Bible in perfect execution of customer service.
I love this book.
written like a story but full of practical experience and knowledge that you can apply immediately in your own business.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Spencer Lea
  • 02-11-19

Rare page turner

I wanted to keep listening chapter after chapter. There aren't many business books that are page turners - this is one of them.

Interesting book brought to life by stories and anecdotes. Found some the culture parts in the middle of the book a bit creepy ( started to sound like a cult - that feeling quickly passed as I listened on) but you can't fail to admire the authors total faith in his approach and the success of Zappos. The Zappos focus on customers and culture will become the norm in 20 years time I'm sure.

3 things that stuck with me after reading it:

1. You can find a way to solve any problem if there is enough at stake.
2. Offering new employees $2,000 to leave after they complete their initial training is genius.
3. I wish I'd started my own company when I left University.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Clive
  • 01-27-19

What you really should know about business.

This is a great book, full of insight and examples of how being a better person can often lead to being a better business person. I wholeheartedly agree with the ideals behind this book and hope to emulate in my own business the principles of the Zappos brand.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Farrukh
  • 01-11-19

Inspirational and unconventional

I heard about this book from another author (Kristen Hadeed). This is one of the most inspirational reads ever. Spread happiness in your own company and your employees will deliver that to your customers, who will in turn make you happy by causing your business to expand. The second part of this loop is commonly talked about - "offer great customer service", but the first part is often missed out - that's what Hsieh has brought to light. Zappos allows its employees to talk to the customers in their own words - no written scripts. Company's values were created through crowd sourcing within the company..... and it goes no.
A must read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • david
  • 07-17-14

Dull, dull, dull!

Would you try another book written by Tony Hsieh or narrated by Tony Hsieh?

Nope!

What was most disappointing about Tony Hsieh’s story?

Repetitive

How did the narrator detract from the book?

It sounded like he was reading straight from the book.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Unhappiness!

Any additional comments?

The book was very repetitive. Didn't contain any insights. It was generally annoying to listen to.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Niki Byrne
  • 08-08-19

Great listen.

I thought some of the skits from other people could have been recorded better than they was

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • James Woolfenden
  • 05-31-19

Great insight

Very valuable insight for anyone interested in e-commerce and business in general. It charts the choppy waters of any business which is great to hear when on that journey - keeps things in perspective. It’s also great inspiration, particularly around values and customer excellence, which I’m totally aligned with. It’s a great touch Tony also narrates too - thanks Tony!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • alain
  • 02-08-19

Good advices not only for entrepreneurs

Fantastic book. I enjoyed it and will try to apply some advices in my own life.
thanks Tony

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Justin
  • 02-26-19

Fun, but a lacks insight and detail

Was expecting something a little more business focused, but the detail is fairly light when it comes to Zappos.. It is interesting to listen to and some good insight into who Tony Hsieh is, but is a bit like, I was bored, I started an online advertising company and sold it for $200m+ and then got bored again.. my advice is listen to this once and enjoy it for what it is, the second time you find a lot of holes..

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jarron
  • 07-28-18

Loved it!! Great story and so many gums of wisdom.

I’ll keep it short.. it’s an easy lesson with so many gems of wisdom that if you are a part of a workplace or own a business this is one book you need to read!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michelle
  • 07-10-18

This drives me to run my business in a similar way

This book and Tony inspired me to think about the culture of the business I want to build and how it can make a massive difference. Loved it and highly recommended for any business owner / entreprenuer who wants to achieve greatness and have a following to support them.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-03-20

WOW

i had not heard of zappos or tony hsieh one week ago . now tony and zappos have changed my life and give me so much inspiration/knowledge at the perfect time .🙏🏽

and I’m not even a customer WOW.

thank you universe for sending this book,thank you tony, thank you zappos .

im so grateful 🤸🏽‍♂️🌈


  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 10-22-19

Happiness

Definitely worth listening to and thinking about. Challenges you to question what really makes you happy

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-13-19

REAL, well narrated, human

i really liked this book, it gives a down to earth example of how people can work together and shape an organisation.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-21-18

Enjoyment

Hi enjoyed listening to Tony Hsieh will be trying to implement a few things .Thanks Paul Roberts

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • lara
  • 03-02-18

Inspiring and Uplifting

What did you like best about this story?

It was equally thought provoking and informative.

What does Tony Hsieh bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I really enjoyed the authenticity of this story.

Any additional comments?

Well worth reading and in my case a must read that I would highly recommend.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-23-17

Don't bother reading this book

This book is more a testament to Tony Hsieh's ability to raise finance rather than strategic planning and business skill. Very few usable lessons or comments throughout the book. He talks extensively about the family culture but is prepared to fire staff wantonly. Not impressed.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 10-11-17

It's a great story and insight

Great story and insight into Tony's world and the two main businesses. Really enjoyed the story and takeaways. Well worth a read.

I guess the main thing that I was a bit bummed about is that he only barely touched on happiness and the concept of purpose within business and kind of at the very end.

However there were lots of great moments throughout the book and I would recommend to anyone interested.