Book Review: “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh

It was about building a lifestyle that was about delivering happiness to everyone, including ourselves. (it’s not all about money)

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

A business can be more than just about money.

It can be about making customers, stakeholders, employees, and families happy.

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh shares the insights and learnings he developed during his tenure as CEO at Zappos.

Let’s dive in.

What it’s all about

Delivering Happiness shares the insights and learnings Tony developed during his time at Zappos and with the sale of his first startup.

Despite selling his first startup, he noticed something about the culture:

We knew the outside world probably thought we were jumping up and down and doing cartwheels, but instead our mood was a strange mix of apathy and relief. The excitement of LinkExchange had disappeared long ago.

Knowing this, he set out to create a culture at Zappos that focused on making employees, teams, and customers happy.

For example, whereas every business at the time hid its phone number, Zappos displayed it right on its homepage.

Over the years, the number one driver of our growth at Zappos has been repeat customers and word of mouth.

Short story, Zappos did incredibly well.

They eventually sold to Amazon with Tony continuing to manage the business.

The key message

Businesses can be fun and still serve their purpose of helping people.

Focus on an amazing culture.

Focus on making customers love your business.

And as always, do what’s best for the customer (forget KPIs).

Why I loved it

I share a lot of the same feelings Tony has about business.

My near-decade in Corporate Finance showed me culture is a problem for many businesses, small and large.

Additionally, I’ve seen many businesses not do what’s in the best interests of their customers.

This book will remind you why having a great culture, focusing on customers, and, overall, making people happy matters.

Why you should read it

I believe all founders and company executives should read this book.

It’s a great reminder that businesses thrive when people are happy.

It’s also a reminder that businesses ALWAYS start at the top.

No amount of MBA and studying can teach you that people are people.

Customers, stakeholders, employees, executives.

Focus on happiness.

You can buy the book here.

Memorable quotes

Over the years, the number one driver of our growth at Zappos has been repeat customers and word of mouth.

We also offer a 365-day return policy for people who have trouble committing or making up their minds.

We believe that customer service shouldn’t be just a department, it should be the entire company.

To WOW, you must differentiate yourself, which means do something a little unconventional and innovative.

We must all learn not only to not fear change, but to embrace it enthusiastically and, perhaps even more important, encourage and drive it.

They told me they really enjoyed the personal stories, and they said that, even though many of them had already read about Zappos in the press, it made a huge difference to actually hear it come from me. They told me they could really feel my passion for company culture, customer service, and Zappos in general.

In the end, it turns out that we’re all taking different paths in pursuit of the same goal: happiness.

I believe that there’s something interesting about anyone and everyone—you just have to figure out what that something is. If anything, I’ve found that it’s more interesting to build relationships with people that are not in the business world because they almost always can offer unique perspectives and insights, and also because those relationships tend to be more genuine.

Your thoughts?

Have you read Delivering Happiness?

How did you feel about the book?

Any interesting takeaways?

Let me know!

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