Delivering Happiness Book Review by Tony Hsieh
In 1999 Tony Hsieh sold his first company to Microsoft for $265 Million Dollars
In 2009 Tony’s second company was acquired by Amazon for 1.2 Billion.
I think that’s a resume that would make most people stand up and take notice, especially when they learn he is only in his mid thirties. Oh yea, and he’s a little weird, and proud of it.
Delivering Happiness is one of those books that I would recommend to any up and coming entrepreneur, especially one focused in the online space. The subtitle of the book is A Path to Profits, Passion & Purpose and that’s what makes this book so much different than any of the other business books you will read.
You see although Tony is extremely humble, he is no fool. He did not just come up with his own ideas on happiness and try to force them on people, he studied it and came to realistic conclusions based off his findings that impacted the way he did business. For those of you who don’t know, Zappos is ranked one of the Top 25 Companies to work for year after year and they have truly built their entire brand upon customer and employee loyalty and culture.
In fact I would go so far as to say they have done for business and the internet revolution the same thing that Patagonia did for business 15 years ago. When the focus is taken away from strictly money a company can reach its highest potential and this is proved true in both cases.
The book itself is an easy and enjoyable read as Tony takes you through childhood experiences, college and the building of his first internet company, Link Exchange. Lessons are learned along the way but the real meat of the book in my humble opinion lies in the Zappo’s tale and the last chapter pertaining specifically to happiness.
Some key takeaways for me were:
- Never outsource your core competency (shipping, cust. support…etc)
- Invest in employees personal and professional growth (libraries, seminars..etc)
- You can create a competitive advantage in any business environment by focusing on internal processes. (Your brand image, your customer support, your employee loyalty)
- Transparency is a must, not just with the general public and customer, but also internally with employees.
- You must establish a strong set of core values and then operate your company transparently by them. This means you must be willing to hire and fire based upon these core values and your culture.
- Your Culture is your brand
- The “way” you do business is your differentiator, that is your product! Do not focus on the commodity as much as the experience with your company from all aspects, customer and employee.
- A company cannot reach its true potential until they shift the goal of the organization from purely profits to a higher ideal. (Ex. a drug manufacturer- Our biggest competitor is XYZ/Our biggest competitor is Cancer)
- Most people and companies do not find sustained happiness because they focus on the wrong “type” of happiness. There are 3 levels, Pleasure, Passion and Higher Purpose. Which one do you focus on?
The last chapter of this book has done something extra special for me. It has given form to a feeling I have had now for over a decade. I have always personally felt that I was focusing on the wrong things to find that sustained happiness and that’s why I never found it. This last chapter has put into words this feeling and the proper procedure for sustainable, long term happiness. I believe in it so much, I paraphrased part of it in my Manifesto.
Long story short, this is a great read by a true pioneer in the internet space that will not only provide valuable insight to many budding entrepreneurs, but also hopefully make the business world a happier place.
You can purchase Tony’s book directly from Amazon (oddly enough).