Becoming Professional: A Blog

Sleepy-Eyed Book Reviews: Delivering Happiness

Posted on: June 11, 2010


Not too long ago I published the post Go On. Give It a Go! about asking for, and recieving two advance coppies of Tony Hsieh’s new book Delivering Happiness. I was really excited to get the books. I gave one to an entrepreneur friend of mine (you can see his project here) and immediately started reading my own copy. I wanted to be able to fulfill my part of the free-book bargain: post an honest review of the book to this blog on June 7th, or at least during that week. Of course, this was also right before the 2010 Phoenix Comicon. I didn’t get to read more than 10 pages a day. In the past week or so since the convention, I have been reading as much as I could. It has reminded me of being in school again, trying to finish all the chapters before a test.

As you can see, I wound up missing the June 7th blogging date, but, by golly, I’m going to publish a review of this book during the business week! I litterally just finished the book and am going to publish this post without the typical day of rest and thought I usually give all my posts, to be sure the content is valuable and there are no type-o’s. I’m doing this because I feel obligated to hold up my end of the bargain with Tony Hseih and his publicity team.

And now… A Sleepy-Eyed Book Review of Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

This is a great read. Tony tells stories much like he talks. I heard him speak once while I was in college. He spoke about the corporate culture at Zappos! and how customer service can lead a business to success. Not surprisingly, that’s really what Delivering Happiness is about. Those are his two favorite topics.

The book is structured like an autobiography. The first part of it is actually about his childhood. He has a few cute and anecdotal stories about trying to get rich through a worm farm, a button press mail-order business, and a magic trick mail-order business. And then he progresses to college and pizza, his first company, Link Exchange, and then Venture Frogs, a venture capital firm he started with the money he got from selling Link Exchange, and finally Zappos!. All the while, it’s told in a personal, often wondering, narrative.

Often wondering? Well, as I said, the book is written much like Tony speaks. It has an almost stream of consciousness style to it. He’ll be talking about starting Venture Frongs one moment, then be talking about a really big New Year’s Eve Party the next, end it all with a vignette with a nameless woman who said something eloquent, and be back to Venture Frogs and Zappos! in a few pages. Not that this is a bad thing. Rather it makes the book interesting becuase you’re never sure what you will read about next.

Of course, with a title like “Delivering Happiness,” the book isn’t entirely an autobiography. As Tony mentions in the end, it will likely be used as a handbook for Zappos! employees. He talks a lot about Zappos! once he gets to that stage in his life. It’s not hard to understand why. After reading this book, I have come to see that Zappos! really is Tony Hsieh’s life. He put everything into that company. The book discusses the evolution of the company to its present day, bought-by-Amazon status. He goes in depth into the company’s culture, which is fine by me, since it is fascinating.

Lastly, the book is about a bit more than just Tony’s life or how Zappos! came to be. It’s about how to be happy. The last chapter or so is all about the science of happiness, which we, the readers, can walk away with and apply to our own lives. Pretty nifty.

All in all, I love the book, but it did leave me with one huge question: Tony Hsieh did not start Zappos! That was a man named Nick Swinmurn. Where did he go and how did Tony wind up the CEO?

The people who kindly gave the this book to review asked me to include two links in this post:

Now go buy the book. I’m going to go turn in to a Zappos! customer.

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Who Am I?

I am a Digital Native who is trying to puzzle out what exactly that means. I share my thoughts on social media, digital business models, and PR here on this blog.

I am currently getting my Masters in Digital Marketing from Hult International Business School, having gotten my B.S. in Marketing from Arizona State University. Everything is on track and I am making headway towards my dream: World Domination... or being a productive, helpful citizen and marketer. Whichever comes first.

Don't hesitate to get in touch. I Tweet daily at @KateDavids and also have a science fiction and fantasy blog (maskedgeek.wordpress.com) and Twitter (@Masked_Geek).

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