I read a lot of books and just finished Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh. And since this is a brand new blog, it gets the honor (?!) of being the first book I review (and I use the term loosely) here.
If you're not already familar with who Tony Hsieh is, the quick and dirty is that he's the CEO of Zappos.com. And if you're not familar with Zappos.com, you really owe it to yourself to check out what they're doing in terms of being a kick ass business. They do about $1 billion/year in revenue, were recently aquired by Amazon, and customers are crazy about them.
Back to the book...
What I found most interesting about this book is that Tony and I are about the same age and enjoyed some of the same activities while growing up, such as ordering stuff from classified ads in the back of Boys' Life magazine, stealing long distance, and calling computer bulletin board systems. We both had mail order businesses while still in high school.
Then something happened...
Tony went to Harvard, got in on the whole "dot com" thing, and started making shitloads of money. His first company, Link Exchange, was sold to MIcrosoft for $265 million.
I went to University of Memphis, studied commercial music, and have done ok, but the best I've ever done with "selling" a company was $1 million...in stock. And I didn't take it, by the way.
Why not? The answer to that is the difference between me and Tony Hsieh...and it's probably the difference between you and Tony Hsieh also.
There is no doubt that Tony Hsieh is a smart guy, but is he that much smarter than you or me? Probably not. The main reason for his success, from my perspective, is that he has the brass balls to go for what he wants in a big way.
Not to say that this was (or is) always easy... And that to me is the most fascinating part of the book. There is a lot about Tony's personal struggles of taking Zappos from a "company" that started out purchasing shoes from local retail stores, just like the average person would do, as orders came in, to the "wholly owned subsidiary" of Amazon that it is today.
If you want a very inspiring story about a guy who believed in his "big idea" so much that he was willing to invest a ton of his own money, sell his house at a big loss to keep the lights on, buy out the board to put customers first, and do whatever it took to keep the company moving forward, this is a great read. It's very personable and like hanging out with the guy; a nice break from most business books.
Want some of that attitude to rub off on you? Read it!
Because of this, I highly recommend Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a copy of the Zappos Culture Book, a collection of over 100 short essays written by Zappos.com employees and business partners explaining what makes Zappos tick.
Email email@example.com if you'd like a tour of the company's Las Vegas headquarters.