Book Review – Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Title: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Author: Tony Hsieh

Genre: Non-Fiction

Format: Kindle

Recommended By: Automattic

Date Reviewed: 26 February 2015

Rating: ★★★★

Favorite Quote:

“Our philosophy has been to take most of the money we would have spent on paid advertising and invest it into customer service and the customer experience instead, letting our customers do the marketing for us through word of mouth.”

Summary and Review:

The most wonderful thing about ‘Delivering Happiness’ is the validation of the creative, kind, and helpful earning their success by realizing that core values drive culture and culture inspires passion in employees, customers and followers.

The first third of the book is the early biography of Tony Hsieh the eventual CEO who took Zappos from a tiny idea to where it is today. You get to hear about Tony’s childhood entrepreneurial activities, running a late-night cafe in a dorm while a student at Harvard, and the story of his first company LinkExchange that was eventually bought by Microsoft for a little over $250 million.

The second section starts with the small venture capital firm Tony created with the profits and the guy who came to him with the idea to sell shoes on the internet. The story of how Zappos evolved from one guy who would buy shoes at a local store and ship them whenever he received an order to building to an ecommerce powerhouse is interesting but the real meat of the book is in the third section where Tony details all of his philosophies of customer service, marketing, transparency, and how exceeding expectations and WOWing people is a force multiplier that builds way more in marketing and customer loyalty than the few bucks lost by doing things like randomly upgrading customer shipping to overnight delivery for free.

There are a lot of great points here from the importance of establishing a tribe to how if you get the culture right the rest will happen on its own. He also stresses the importance of daily personal growth and how that in turn makes the company grow.

All in all, I’d highly recommend Delivering Happiness if you’re an entrepreneur, if you like reading how “good guy” companies get ahead, or if you or your business is trying to formulate your own core values.

I’ll leave you with the list of 10 core values of Zappos:

  1. Deliver WOW through service
  2. Embrace and drive change
  3. Create fun and a little weirdness
  4. Be adventerous, 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 deterined
  10. Be humble

If more than one of the above resonate with you, I recommend adding this book to your reading list. I hope one day to work at (or even create) a company as dedicated to their values as Zappos.