A few months back I received an advance copy of Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness. I try to only read books that come highly recommended by someone I trust or written by individuals I respect in the business world. There are just too many books being written to try and wade through the junk to find the gold. Delivering Happiness is gold. I have been a fan of the Zappos.com phenomenal growth and customer service but most of all I have been captivated by the company culture that has evolved there under Tony’s leadership since 1999. People that work for Tony are happy. They are constantly improving their expertise as well as developing personal and professional goals.
During my visit to the Zappos headquarters in January, I was continually wondering what makes this place tick. In Delivering Happiness Tony lays out both his own professional adventure from the time he sold his first news letter “The Gobler” in middle school (which was a miserable failure), to describing what elements lead to the Zappos success today. What really stood out to me in the book was Tony’s transparency, his willingness to share both his mistakes and achievements. From the disclaimer early on that he is not a gifted writer and his apology to his High School English teacher for the grammar errors, Tony sets the tone of the book at the outset as an honest story of entrepreneurial adventure and a lifetime pursuit of the science of happiness. Just as Dan Pink argues in Drive: the Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, Tony states that the true ingredients to a company’s success are mutual respect and strong core values.