Thursday, October 21, 2010

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh (Book Review)

Excuse me one second while I send a message to my past self from 10 years ago: "Drop everything and go west and get a job at this new company Zappos."

Delivering Happiness is probably the most authentic business book I've ever read. It's not that the book tells the origin story of one of the coolest, most innovative companies (Zappos) in the country, although it certainly does that. It's not all the sound business advice and lessons imparted from Tony Hsieh, although there's plenty to consider in these pages. It's not even that the book is inspiring, although it definitely will make you believe that anything is possible again.

All those good elements aside, the book really resonated and stood out for me because every bit of it felt genuine and real. Tony Hsieh made the decision not to use an editor, and it really paid off. I felt no degrees of separation when reading this -- instead, the reading experience was intimate, as if the author was writing to me. Even the occasional awkward grammatical phrasing didn't matter -- it just worked.

There are so many reasons to recommend this that I couldn't possibly list them all. Instead, I'll just list the Zappos core values, as they figure prominently in the book (and Tony's story) as well:

   1. Deliver WOW Through Service
   2. Embrace and Drive Change
   3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
   4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
   5. Pursue Growth and Learning
   6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
   7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
   8. Do More With Less
   9. Be Passionate and Determined
  10. Be Humble


  1. What does your wife think of the idea of *that* being what you'd tell your younger self? :-)

  2. I suspect she believes in romantic fate as forwarded in the film "Sideways". So, if I followed a different (geographic) path years ago, I still would have ended up with her, because it happened / is happening / will happen.