I have only one complaint about this book: it’s so good that I can’t see how I’m going to fit what I want to say into just one post.
Bought because I heard so many people talking about it and about the author, Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay), I figured it would make a quick read on my flight back from speaking in Chicago.
No way. This book is worth studying, underlining, highlighting, note-taking and absorbing.
I don’t know the author personally and have never purchased shoes or anything else from the company around which this book focused, Zappos.com. So, I knew nothing about them or about him other than the names.
The Title is Delivering Happiness, which is exactly what Zappos.com does. Shoes and their other items are what John David Mann and I refer to in Go-Givers Sell More as their “MacGuffins.” In other words, while shoes and such are the objects around which Zappos.com revolves…they are not what the company is actually about. The subtitle is A Path To Profits, Passion, And Purpose. Very accurate, as well. Though, like practically all great and outrageously successful leaders (and, make no mistake, the 35-year old Hsieh is both), he focused first on taking care of his people; both internally and externally even before all that.
The first part of the book is fun and interesting, and provides insight into the author’s mind and how it works, but at a certain point it accelerates into an entity where pretty much every page becomes loaded with life-enhancing and business-changing “A-Ha’s.”
…..it’s now 30 minutes later and after racking my brain on what to share from the book…..
If you don’t mind, let’s look at a core aspect of the author’s/company’s success. In doing this, however, first understand that they had a goal of $1 billion in gross merchandise sales in 2010. They accomplished it…in 2008!
According to Tony Hsieh:
“Looking back, a big reason we hit our goal was that we decided to invest our time, money and resources into three key areas: customer service (which would build our brand and drive word of mouth), culture (which would lead to the formation of our core values), and employee training and development which would eventually lead to the creation of our Pipeline Team).
“Even today, our belief is that our Brand, our Culture, and our Pipeline are the only competitive advantages that we will have in the long run. Everything else will eventually be copied.”
In Delivering Happiness, you’ll find out exactly how Tony and his leadership team elicited the type of employee buy-in and raving consumer fans that has become legendary; experienced to this degree by only a handful of companies ever. Hint: You’ll find the words “Core Values” and “Customer Service” to be prevalent. And, yes; those words can often be as overused as “think outside the box” (which, fortunately, you won’t find). The difference here is that they figured out the what and the how of those concepts, and they implemented them.
Mistakes? They made their share and the author willingly shares them with us. However, they did a lot more right. Mainly they decided what they stood for; what exactly their values were. And, once they did, they did not allow anything to take them off course. While this tough stand created some tense and dangerous moments; not to mention a loss of some immediate revenue, it rather quickly led to a financial success uncommon in these or any times.
Hmm, focus on providing immense value to everyone whose lives you touch and you’ll make money. Provide that immense value to the lives of many, and you’ll make a lot of money. This is what Free Enterprise is all about. And it’s exactly what Tony Hsieh and Zappos.com does.
This book is so deep and wonderful and terrific, unfortunately this review simply did not do it justice. So, I hope you’ll purchase it and enjoy it as much as I have.