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on 18 May 2015
Loved it! Now to go do it...
Hadn't heard of the company before, living in Europe and all, but understanding the journey, feeling the struggles, it's encouraging and inspiring. What would this look like in Europe....dreaming already...
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on 29 May 2017
One of the best books I have read. Would recommend to anyone wanting to become a better manager or leader.
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on 26 May 2017
Fantastic book about entrepreneurship and company culture. I would highly recommend.
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on 4 January 2015
Very inspiring book
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on 28 October 2010
At some point in each of our lives we draw up a balance sheet of our achievements - What was the meaning of our life and what part did I play in the chain of being? Did I manage the trade off's? Did I find the right balance? This book is about one man that did.

Tony Hsieh book is compelling because it is clear his vocation and destiny is mapped out from the outset. He already had that extra bit of wiring that turns an individual from good into out performs.The first section of the book that maps out the early years is an important part of the autobiography but not the reason for buying the book.

However, it is the insights offered into the unique culture that is Zappos, which went on to be sold to Amazon in just 10 years after it was founded for $1.2bn, that makes this book unmissable for anyone interested in corporate culture, employee engagement or the creation of a great place to work. Above it is the way Tony Hsieh makes key transformational ideas deceptively simple as he sets them down in what becomes, through out the book, his characteristic voice - vivid, self-deprecating and bluntly realistic. His messages are compelling.

Whilst the Zappos culture is unique and not readily replicable, particularly in a large long-established organisation, it provides real insights to help you come up with your own ideas for creating a culture that is unique and special for your own business.

So if you're one of those people who thinks that going to work should be fun, loves the experiential approach to business, this is an autobiography that has a great and inspiring story to tell, from Hsieh climbing Kilimanjaro while the company was running out of cash, uprooting the entire company and moving to Las Vegas, and the trials and tribulations of managing stock the supply chain - Product availability, cost of inventory, overall cost to serve. Yes he even makes that interesting.

Like many people in business I have read many autobiographies This book is different and none of them save Jack Welch's winning and then only in places are a patch on this book.

If you're a student of business culture, responsible for customer service, a struggling entrepreneur, or someone fascinated by leadership,or somebody convinced that the holy grail to a meaningful life is getting a proper work, self, home life balance then this is a gold-mine of a source-book.

If you are a member of the BUSINESS COMMUNITY church believing that the only route to profitability is to "extract productivity under duress" and doubt that making people (customers and employees) happy is a profitable business strategy, then prepare to be convinced!

Recommended to readers of Funcky Business, Karaoke Capitalism and Superfreakonomics and other books by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner et al
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on 29 April 2017
Not as good as expected, a bit too boring, still reading and bought 6 months ago
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on 13 July 2010
Delivering Happiness is very simple, easy to read, funny and fantastic book. After I finished reading the book, I had a very nice feeling, was happier but I was expecting more, lot more material.

In this book, Tony writes from his experiments as young entrepreneur to creating a successful business model based on (simple) core values. He narrates his experiments with worm farm, photo button and pizza business as a boy; his stint with oracle that ended with setting-up LinkExchange as young entrepreneur; his learnings from LinkExchange deal with Microsoft ($265 Million) and as investor; his experiences (and experiments) in building $1 billion Zappos brand in less than 10 years from nothing and finally Zappos "marriage" with Amazon ($1.2 Billion).

He also writes about personal experience and learnings on the way as a kid, in school, at university, first job, raves and parties, hikes and marathons, hiring and layoffs..

Book is very good initially but as it progresses, looses kind of plot and appears to be over hyped. It seems to pass on the message of self-glorification and suggest "my way is high way". This pretty much could be Tony's style, which he has proved to be successful.

Still it is true (as Tony mentioned in closing lines) this book can potentially help you:
- make your customers happier (through better customer service) or
- make your employees happier (by focusing more on company culture) or
- make yourself happier (by learning more about the science of happiness)

Good: written in very simple language unlike other business books, with lot of humor and real life examples, fast-paced, will force you to think, motivational and inspiring.

Not so good: seems like selling self or company, appear incomplete at places, could have been much better, unnecessary sarcastic humor

Must read for at least to be entrepreneurs. Lot of things could be grabbed from Tony's experiences learnings.

-- ashutosh jhureley
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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 Zappos.com, 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 my way to Zappos...The second section, `Profits and Passion,' is more business-oriented, covering many of the important philosophies that we believe in and live by at Zappos...The third section is titled `Profits, Passion, and Purpose.' It outlines our vision at Zappos for taking things to the next level, and will hopefully challenge you to do the same." As Hsieh explains, the name Zappos is derived from the Spanish word "zapatos" meaning shoes. The company's gross sales exceeded $1-billion in 2009.

As I began to read the book, I was especially interested in sharing Hsieh's thoughts about subjects such as these:

Why he sold a company he co-founded, LinkExchange, to Microsoft
Why he became involved with Zappos initially
Why he agreed to become CEO
What the drivers of Zappos' extraordinary growth have been
How Zappos has differentiated itself from its competition
Why Zappos offers $2,000 to some of its new hires to quit
How and why everyone in the company is customer-centric
Those who have had the greatest influence on his development as a leader and manager
Why he agreed to have Zappos acquired by Amazon
How both he and Zappos have been able to retain an entrepreneurial spirit

Near downtown Dallas, we have a Farmers Market at which some of the merchants offer sample slices of fresh fruit. In that same spirit, I now offer three brief excerpts that suggest the thrust and flavor of Hsieh's insights.

"One day, I woke up after hitting the snooze button on my alarm clock six times. I was about to hit it a seventh time when I realized something. The last time I had snoozed so many times was when I was dreading going to work at Oracle. It was happening again, except this time, I was dreading going to work at LinkExchange." He was co-founder of a company whose culture, over time, had changed from an "all-for-one, one-for-all" team environment to one that was now "all about politics, positioning, and rumors." (Page 48) Hsieh realized then that the most successful organizations are those whose people love what they do and do what they love.

After Zappos was literally "saved" by a line of credit provided by Well Fargo Bank, Hsieh sent an email to Zappos' employees, vendors, and friends. After citing the increased sales (from "almost nothing" in 1999 to $32 million in $32) and noting that the company is "on track" to reach $60-65 million in 2003, he warns against carelessness and overconfidence. Zappos will continue to be customer-centric, not because it has to do it to achieve shirt-term results but because "we believe that in the long run, little things that keep the customer in mind will end up paying huge dividends" to everyone. "There will be a lot of changes ahead as we grow, but one thing will always be constant: our focus on constantly improving the customer experience." On this very special day. Hsieh reaffirms the company's commitment: "Deliver WOW Through Service."

Whenever asked what he would have done differently if doing Zappos all over again, Hsieh responded, "I do wish that we could have done things faster." He makes that point again on another special day when he sums up everything in one sentence: "Getting married to Amazon will allow us to fulfill our vision of delivering happiness to the world much faster... To me, that one moment [of celebration and appreciation] represented success far beyond what I could have possibly imagined would be achievable ten years ago...[The moment signified that] half intentionally and half by luck, we had found our path to profits, passion, and purpose. We had found our path to delivering happiness."

True to character, Hsieh devotes the final chapter of his book to his reader to whom he speaks directly and frankly, asking tough questions and making practical suggestions because he is determined to help his readers - as he continues to help Zappos colleagues - to find their own path to profits, passion, and purpose...a path on which they can also "deliver happiness."
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VINE VOICEon 19 May 2012
Most non-fiction books I have read recently appear, absent the author's need to write a full-length book, fit to be or have remained a long-form essay. Not this one though although it too could have benefited from some editing. Yet, once one makes peace with the colloquial tone - which is a refreshing change from many "business books", but then again this isn't exactly one - the book is a page-turner. At just over 250 pages - not including the appendices - for the paperback edition I read, it took me just under 5 hours to finish.

The book is above all a story: of the making of Tony Hsieh (now the CEO of Zappos.com), of his entrepreneurial journey starting in his childhood through college and later, of how he came to be involved in Zappos.com first as an investor and then as the CEO, and finally of what made Zappos.com the unique e-commerce success story it is. Organised in three parts, titled "Profits", "Profits and Passion", and "Profits, Passion and Purpose", it appears to map Mr Hsieh's journey of personal and professional growth.

Mr Hsieh is a child of Taiwanese immigrants. The parents feature in the book, but refreshingly not in the holier-than-thou tone, which is the staple of much immigré writing. They have made seminal contribution to his entrepreneurial spirit, mainly by not strangulating it with the burden of parental expectation, although Mr Hsieh himself, as a young person, wasn't above some mischief to get his own way. In many ways, it made me wonder if Mr Hsieh's story could pan out the same way anywhere but in America.

The story slowly morphs from being about Mr Hsieh's entrepreneurial adventures and misadventures - including the lessons he learnt at Link Exchange and the Venture Frogs fund he ran jointly - to being about Zappos.com. It is in the description of the the mechanics at Zappos.com that the tone changes to more business-like, especially the emails he has included. In illustrating what the famous Zappos.com values mean, he has included write-ups from his colleagues and Zappos.com employees. That is a nice touch. The story culminates with the share deal Zappos.com made with Amazon, after which Amazon let Zappos.com continue to operate independently.

The recurrent themes in this story are loyalty, relationships and risk-taking, besides the obvious ones in the title of the book, namely, profits, passion and purpose.

There is intended and perhaps, unintended, humour in the book. For instance, Mr Hsieh writes about how his parents appear to have found "all ten" Asian families in Marin county for regular get-togethers. Michael Moritz of Sequoia doing the Macarena is not an image easily banished from the mind! There are also some notable gaps. Not all key characters in his story are featured, a sometimes deliberate exclusion which Mr Hsieh explains in the foreword. But while Fred Mossler appears prominently, rightly so, Nick Swinmurn, the founder of Zappos.com appears to have been glossed over and his departure doesn't figure in the book. This seems a bit strange seeing as the Zappos.com story is about motivating the team, and engaging and leading them to a higher purpose. Towards the end, the book become a tiny bit tedious and "corporate". Especially in the chapters titled "Taking it to the next level" and "End game".

But if one can get over those quibbles, it is an engaging, hilarious, often moving, thought-provoking and inspiring read about creating a business that many now look to as the exemplar in customer service.

Usefulness note: While reading it, I thought of mentors, friends and young entrepreneurs I know and admire. Many of them appear to have read the book already; others will certainly benefit from reading it.
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on 9 June 2014
I bought this book after several recommendations from friends and a business coach. My main purpose for buying it was because I own some hotels and our main, flagship hotel has been performing particularly well on Trip Advisor...but I'm always seeking new inspiration for new ways of doing things. Tony Hsieh's book came highly recommended and it didn't disappoint.

My reading tends to happen very slowly - I tend to read about 6 pages at night before I drift off to sleep. I read this book in four sittings (which is unheard of) and I now know what people say when they say "I couldn't put the book down".

The back-story that led Tony to be leading Zappos is hugely interesting and inspiring and there were so many useful nuggets of information and ideas which we can modify and implement in our own business. He seems genuinely keen to share best practice with other business owners and I had a chance encounter with someone only yesterday who had met Tony - and said that the book genuinely matches his personality and enthusiasm.

A very good read if you are looking for a story of triumph and togetherness - a frankly superb read if you are also looking for ideas of how to instill a culture of exceptional customer service into your business/organisation.

Massively recommended.
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