“Delivering Happiness” – A Book About the Zappos Phenomenon

“My path began on a worm farm.” 

When I read this in the book’s introduction, I was hooked.

And I continued to be captivated throughout the rest of Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose written by Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO and successful entrepreneur.

Disclaimer: I received two free advance copies of this book (including one I’m giving away) in agreement to write an unbiased review. Candidly, I highly recommend this book so keep reading to learn why.

Business books aren’t usually described as “page-turners,” but Tony’s storytelling style easily engages as he shares his background and early passion for “building stuff and being creative and inventive.” This is the backdrop for how he got involved with Zappos and how the company built its incredible culture and brand. (I love Tony’s description of a brand as a “lagging indicator of a company’s culture” and his in-depth explanation of Zappos’ core values.)

What surprised me most is that the idea for Zappos – a highly successful online shoe retailer with a unique workplace culture of highly engaged employees who provide legendary customer service (the “WOW!” factor) – didn’t spring fully-formed from the minds of Tony and other key players (Alfred, Nick, Fred, et. al.). Tony candidly shares how the company evolved and persevered despite several near-misses – including coming close to shutting down the business.

In addition, Tony shares a number of internal emails and documents that explain the rationale behind Zappos’ strategy and values, including last year’s decision to “partner” with Amazon. (Note: Zappos is now a “wholly-owned subsidiary” of Amazon.) So Zappos’ story will continue … and I eagerly await its next chapter.

Win a Free Copy of this Fantastic Book!

For participating in the Delivering Happiness book blog tour, I’m giving away a review copy (but not the hard copy) of this book. Here are the details for this book giveaway:

  • Post a comment on this blog entry by June 15, 2010, in response to completing this statement: “I reallywant to read this book because …”
  • I’ll select the winner based on what I think is the best response and will notify him/her by email on June 16, 2010, with a request for a mailing address for the book. (Note: Due to mailing costs, this book giveaway is only available for residents in the U.S. or Canada.) If I do not receive an email reply with contact info by June 21, 2010, I’ll choose an alternate winner.
  • I’ll post a follow up comment here announcing the winner’s name.

I look forward to your entries!


  • Sybil June 16, 2010 Reply

    This was a tough decision, especially as I’m acquainted with each of you. Toby, I know how much you’d enjoy and learn from this book. Ted, your comment is so typically you (!), yet I know how committed you are to your patient-centered practice. Robbi, with all you’re going through, a book entitled “Delivering Happiness” couldn’t hurt.
    So I’m going to order two extra books to ensure that each of you gets a copy!

  • Robbi Hess June 15, 2010 Reply

    “I really want to read this book because … I am undergoing a lot of life changes (separation, cross country move, empty nest) and have lost my path to happiness and my forward motion for my business. From reading info about the book, it seems like something that can help propel me forward again.

  • Ted Shively, DO June 9, 2010 Reply

    “I really want to read this book because, as a physician and a Lehigh Engineer, the road to happiness usually does not begin on a “worm farm”, but begins by getting the “worms far from” you. The farther from you they get delivered, the better.”

  • Toby June 9, 2010 Reply

    I really want this book because I’ve admired the way Tony has lead and positioned Zappos and would like to understand the back-story and how tos.
    Not to influence your decision, but great post Sybil!

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