in 111 Books in 2011

#20/111: Delivering Happiness

What is it about?

This book is half autobiography by Tony Hsieh and half company history of Zappos. Tony Hsieh communicates what is important in his life and how Zappos reached its extraordinary customer focus.

Key points?

Be happy: Happiness is the key. E.g. Tony Hsieh quit Microsoft, after selling LinkExchange, although this move lost him $8 million. He did it, because he wasn’t happy. He recognized over the years that the most important thing in his life is being happy.

Build a culture: Zappos is famous for its core values. The people at Zappos act according to the core values and they only hire people who fit into this culture. This allows Zappos to deliver constantly remarkable results. Without a culture a company converts rapidly to a faceless corp.

Don’t outsource your core competencies: In their first years the management of Zappos decided to outsource their logistics. This lead to undesirable results in the whole process of buying shoes. Therefore, they decided to run their own warehouse that executes according to their culture.

WOW people: WOWing people is one of Zappos’ core values because people will remind it, they will love your company and probably recommend it to their friends. Even if it’s something small like faster delivery, people will be astonished that your company don’t act like every company.

Conclusion

Although Tony Hsieh has an impressive vita, he never acted arrogantly. He embodies the core values of Zappos and so does the book. It is very well written, got some funny anecdotes and shows how a great company is built over 10 years.

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