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Book Review: Delivering Happiness

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose is part candid memoir and part fascinating business book written by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh describing his remarkable journey in the business world and the lessons that he learned along the way. He writes about his rapid and unorthodox ascent from Harvard grad to becoming the CEO of a very successful online shoe and apparel company. The first half of the book reads like an autobiography while the second half of the book discusses his unusual business practices and his philosophy to customer service and company culture. Here is what I like about this book.

1. This book is funny, and easy to read.

I found myself laughing out loud many times when I was reading the first section of the book, which gives details on Tony’s entrepreneur adventures from his childhood, college years, to his association with Zappos. His writing style is informal, down to earth, and entertaining. It almost felt like he is in the room telling me his stories in person.

2. This book is filled with useful business tips.

The second section of the book is about what Zappos is and how they became the largest online shoe store. Tony and his team did a good job collaborating this section by using past company e-mail, personal narratives, and real life examples to illustrate how they came to focus on: customer service, culture/core values, and employee training and development. Check out Zappos’s core values (page 155-190). My favorite one is: Deliver WOW Through Service.

3. This book has a thought provoking take-home message.

The third section of the book details how Zappos got acquired by Amazon in an all-stock deal worth about $1.2 billion in 2009 and how they came to this vision statement: Zappos is about delivering happiness to the world (page 230). The take-home message for me is: the lasting happiness is closely linked with a higher purpose. In pursuing a higher purpose, we will bring happiness to ourselves and to others.

Delivering Happiness is one of those books that challenges conventional wisdom about business and life. I highly recommend this insightful book to anyone who wants to make a profit while living their purpose.

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