By Tony Hsieh
Published by Business Plus
Copyright © 2010
When I picked this book up I wanted to know: “How can I start a business and make money like this guy?” Now please don’t misconstrue, this book is not a how to start a business snd make tons of money type of book. That is just what I was hoping to discern from reading it.
This book is actually a half biographical/half philosophical book on the making of Zappos. Zappos is a web store now owned (but not operated) by Amazon. They started out by specializing in footwear, but they have spread into other apparel and accessories.
“Delivering Happiness” begins by chronicling Tony Hsieh’s forays into building his own businesses. From a young age he was always trying to figure out how to make money. But money wasn’t the be all and end all of the process for him it was also about the passion and the joy that he got from starting an adventure and seeing it through to completion.
This chronicle continues through his funding and joining Zappos when it was still in it’s infancy (of course at 10 years old this company is still a child) when it was still trying and failing to turn a profit. You see hints of it with his earlier company, but especially when delving into the operations of Zappos Tony begins develop his/Zappos philosophy on how to run a business that makes the owners, employees, and customers happy. (And having bought a pair of winter boots from Zappos less than a year ago, I’d say they do a good job of keeping their customers happy.) Their focus on customer service is great. Also, while their focus on fitting into company culture makes them one of the top companies to work for; it does come off, as Tony alludes to at one point, as a bit cultish.
Whether you will enjoy this book depends on who you are and what you want to get from it. If you have a lot of money then this book might motivate you to start your own business doing something you’re passionate about, maybe mail-order-meat or something. If you already have a mail-order-meat business then you might pick up some things that might make your business better. If you are like me and have neither this book won’t help you a whole lot.
To tell you the truth there were bits and pieces of this book that I found interesting, but overall it is a book about a boy who had nearly every advantage and made it big. Whoopdeedoo! It is really nothing personal though. Tony Hsieh seems like a nice guy and his business model is inspirational, but his story as a privileged Harvard grad millionaire isn’t.