Sunday, June 6, 2010

Book : Delivering Happiness, by Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos

First things first.

I only know that Zappos is an online shoe store in the US. Never heard of Tony Hsieh, and when I did, I imagined that he looked like Nobu Adilman from The Food Jammers. Heh. I was wrong.

Anyway, earlier this week I received advance reading copies of his new book "Delivering Happiness - A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose". I was so excited because it took less than a week for them to deliver the books to me. For FREE. Happy me? Of course. Expectation exceeded.

So I got on to reading the book. This is not a proper book review by the way, I am not sure I know how to review a book other than to say that I either liked it or hated it :)

Tony tells us of his childhood and his student days in college. As early at 9 years old, he is already thinking and looking at ways to make money, and more money (he ventured into worm-breeding). Then forays into mail-order button-making business, newsletter, and Christmas cards.

In college, he continued to seek ventures to fulfil his entrepreneurial hunger - upon graduating he ended up working for Oracle in a job that paid well, but bored him day in day out. Together with Sanjay, he founded Link Exchange, which was later sold to Microsoft for $265 million in 1999. He became a multi-millionaire at 24.

At this time, with all that money and not having any ventures to pursue, he started asking himself, 'what is happiness?' Basically, in my lingo, a 'what now, brown cow?'

The later half of the book shares more about his 'career' post-Link Exchange, and the uncertain survival of Zappos, first as an adviser and investor, and later as its CEO. The jittery first few years, the relocation, the layoffs are all described in detail, but not to the point of being boring.

Being a HR-person, it was interesting to read how Tony strove hard to build a culture at Zappos, and together with the team set Ten Core Values to live by. They have a Zappos Culture Book. 'Crazy' policies like paying new employees $2000 to quit. By the way, Zappos is currently ranked #15 in Fortune's Best Companies To Work For list.

What is my take away from Tony's book? Find a purpose in your life, and know your passion. Am I inspired after reading this book? Yes. In my own little way. So thank you Tony; yes, you have done your part in helping others achieve our higher purpose.

The book is easy to read, as Tony admits writing this without a ghostwriter - 'to reflect how he would normally talk, and partly to annoy all his high-school English teachers' :P

Did I mention they sent me two copies of the book? So instead of keeping both, I'd like to give away one copy to one of you out there, my lovely readers ;P. Sharing is caring. Anyone who's interested please drop me a line, if there's more than one person then I'll draw lots and pick a random 'winner'.

There's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.
- Morpheus, The Matrix.
(quoted via Delivering Happiness book)

Pics : Redux. Somewhere in Google.


  1. Me! Me...i'd like to have that extra copy! I am currently reading Robin Sharma's 'The Man Who Sold His Ferrari' also talks about finding purpose in life..actually more to living an enlightened life...the best part is, the man who was sharing his story found his enlightenment high and deep in the Himalayas!

  2. Paolo Coelho inspires me. As does Anthony Robbins.

  3. Now I remember where I saw his face. On a recent episode of the reality show (I forgot the name) where someone (I forgot his name) fires someone every week.

  4. never heard of him b4 but now I'm interested in getting to know more of him. But yes, I think he's inspiring..

  5. Debs - yeay you'll get the book!! I can drop it off sometime soon or when I see you next :) Oh that Robin Sharma book is good, a classic - it helped me make a huge decision; one particular sentence jumped out of the pages and hit me in the face.

    Jason LT - Coelho does that to me too with his earlier books. Tony Robbins - haven't read any I'm afraid. Yes ! I read Tony was on The Apprentice as the teams had an assignment with Zappos. I know you know who the guy with the toupee who fires people every week is ;P.

    JIPP - he's part of a new generation of young successful people doing good. We all want to be rich,while he's already rich and is thinking 'what now?' :)