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Delivering an entertaining story

  • May 3, 2011
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I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book. I had heard about Zappos and had heard about their deal with Amazon but I had never purchased from Zappos in my life. I also wasn't sure if it was going to be a book where it would be 200+ pages of why you should buy from Zappos. Sure there's a little bit about it in there but it wasn't overwhelming in the slightest. Before I started reading, I briefly skimmed through some reviews and saw that people had written great things about it.

What it's about:
The author, Tony Hsieh prefaces it by saying that he opted against having a ghostwriter and wanted the book to feel more real and apologizes ahead of time for butchering any grammar in the book. Definitely an interesting decision but it definitely gives the reader a feel that they are listening to him tell the story, rather than reading a book about a story.

He also goes on to say that he wants to explain his mistakes so that way no other person will have to make the same mistakes he did and have to deal with some of the problems he encountered.

He goes way back to when he was a child and how he first started to get his entrepreneurial spirit by selling products at an early age through mail order, then working conventional jobs and explains some of the problems he encountered.

Later down the line he talks about his company LinkExchange and how he had money and all of the material things he ever wanted but he wasn't completely happy.

He had all the resources to begin his next endeavor, but there were so many unforeseen obstacles that almost caused him and his team to lose everything which included an incident where a truck carrying several hundred thousands of dollars worth of merchandise was lost due to an accident.

Hsieh and his team also changed their business model to focus more on customer service and really wanted to WOW customers with their service and product. By doing so they had to make the right relationships with other businesses including UPS to help minimize their shipments to the consumers.

He goes on to explain that things eventually were under control and begins to talk about the culture of the company and how he always wanted to retain the vision despite difficult times such as their massive layoff in 2008. Thus was the reason why he and his team opted to have Amazon buy out the shareholders rather than sell the company again. The vision was to keep the company going the way it currently was.

I really enjoyed the book and his story was definitely fascinating. I've read in some reviews that people believed that too much of what happened was based on luck and being in the right place at the right time but I don't feel like that's a fair judgement because I think in order to be successful you have to make the right decisions just to be in the right place at the right time.

I felt like the end of the book was a little bit less entertaining and some of the culture guidelines and testimonials felt a bit repetitive but were still interesting.

I think anyone who reads this will appreciate what Tony Hsieh has accomplished and can definitely learn from his mistakes. Towards the end of the book he talks about happiness and the psychology behind it and the reader can question whether they are happy or not or what makes them happy. Definitely something to think about instead of just going through the motions. Definitely a great book for anyone regardless of what profession they are in.

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July 07, 2011
Well done.
May 04, 2011
Fantastic review, Peter! I'm always fascinated with how entrepreneurs get started and what goes into making a company the way it is. Going to have to check this out. Thanks for sharing!
May 05, 2011
No prob! His stories growing up and getting the entrepreneurial spirit was quite fascinating too.
May 04, 2011
Surprisingly interesting :) I'm adding this to the business matters community. If you're interested to repost it, you're more than welcome to join us!
May 05, 2011
Sure thing! =)
May 03, 2011
Great write-up, this sounds like an interesting read! Thanks for sharing :)
May 05, 2011
No problem! Thanks for reading =)
More Delivering Happiness: A Path t... reviews
review by . August 10, 2010
In this volume, Tony Hsieh (pronounced "SHAY") shares all of the business lessons he learned from success and (especially) from failure prior to and then during his association with, first as an adviser and investor in 1999 and then as CEO, a position he continues to occupy after the acquisition of Zappos by Amazon in 2009. He has organized the material in this book as follows: "The first section is titled `Profits' and consists mostly of stories of me growing up and eventually finding …
review by . August 08, 2010
Imagine a company that actually cares about its customers. Sure it sounds like a fairy tale, but its not. I know almost every company SAYS they care about its customers, but actions speak louder than words. This is a truly unique company, and you can learn a lot about success by reading this book.    I read a lot of business books and I have heard a lot about Zappos, so I was very happy to see they wrote a book. The book talks about the process and hard work that went into creating …
review by . August 03, 2010
If you are expecting a handbook about how to deliver excellent customer service, you will be surprised by this book.    It's about one man's journey through the startup seas from the late 1990's through 2009.    Tony Hsieh made $40 million in the dotcom boom in the late 1990's. He lived life on his terms, built a tribe of friends he enjoyed to hang out with. Left millions on the table after one deal, poured all his money into another deal (I won't spoil all …
review by . April 07, 2010
I certainly had no trouble reading Delivering Happiness; it moves smoothly through the story and kept me turning pages. My disclaimer is that I can't tell the difference between Zappos and any other on-line shoe vendor so I am not moved to care about the company behind the scenes.    Funny. I can't generate any enthusiasm for writing the review, nor recall any particularly moving parts of the story. If you want nuts and bolts of starting a business, Norm Brodsky, The Knack, delivers …
About the reviewer
Peter Kim ()
Ranked #7
I love basketball, exercise, reading, business, movies and occasionally some brainless reality TV shows =P I am more than happy to help anyone out with anything here on Lunch and definitely looking forward … more
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About this book


The visionary CEO of Zappos explains how an emphasis on corporate culture can lead to unprecedented success.

Pay new employees $2000 to quit. Make customer service the entire company, not just a department. Focus on company culture as the #1 priority. Apply research from the science of happiness to running a business. Help employees grow both personally and professionally. Seek to change the world. Oh, and make money too.

Sound crazy? It's all standard operating procedure at, the online retailer that's doing over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales every year.

In 1999, Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay) sold LinkExchange, the company he co-founded, to Microsoft for $265 million. He then joined Zappos as an adviser and investor, and eventually became CEO.

In 2009, Zappos was listed as one of Fortune magazine's top 25 companies to work for, and was acquired by Amazon later that year in a deal valued at over $1.2 billion on the day of closing.

In his first book, Tony shares the different business lessons he learned in life, from a lemonade stand and pizza business through LinkExchange, Zappos, and more. Ultimately, he shows how using happiness as a framework can produce profits, passion, and purpose both in business and in life. (edited by author)

Amazon Exclusive Author Q&A with Tony Hsieh, Author of Delivering Happiness

1. In the book you say, "I've been an entrepreneur for most of my life." Do you think people are born ...
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ISBN-10: 0446563048
ISBN-13: 978-0446563048
Author: Tony Hsieh
Genre: Professional & Technical, Business & Investing
Publisher: Business Plus
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"Entertaining enough"
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