#63/111: Fish!

What is it about?

You are now in charge of a team of discouraged people and your job is to increase their productivity. What would you do? Mary Jane, the fictive new manager, has gone to a fish market and learned why you can be productive and happy despite having a exhausting job.

What can I learn?

Choose your attitude: You chose your future and how you will experience it. If you truly decide to be energetic, you will be energetic. If you decide to be depressed, you will be depressed. You decide how you see the world.

Play: Work don’t have to be exhausting and depressing. Try to include some fun. You can make games out of the most boring activities. I have once worked on a really boring assignment where I had to check about 10,000 addresses per hand. I created some goals and tried to get faster from hour to hour. It wasn’t the greatest game ever played but at least I had some fun.

Make their day: Do something that will WOW others. You have always the opportunity to be outstanding. Can you finish a project sooner than announced? Can you do something remarkable for your customers? Just think and let your mind flow. I’m sure you know something.

Be present: There’s a Zen lore where a pupil asks his master why he is so happy. And the Zen master answers: “When I eat, I eat. When I walk, I walk. When I sleep, I sleep.” When I heard this the first time I thought that it was obvious. However, it isn’t. The key is to be present and do one thing. Don’t play with your kids and talk to the phone. Don’t read a book and watch TV.


Fish! is a nice book in an unusual setting. It’s really short, i.e. you can read it in 60-90 minutes. I don’t really have anything to criticize but also I’m not overly impressed. However, these principles are really valuable and if you haven’t implemented them yet, you probably should read this book and start making your life more livable.

#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.


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.