Monday, 23 August 2010

Book Afterthought: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Score: 4/5

Delivering Happiness is written by the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh.  Zappos is an online company that sells shoes, a bit like the Amazon of shoes.  Zappos had gone from zero to 1 billion in revenue in 10 years through exceptional customer service, with jaw-dropping policies such as 365 days return period for shoes sold online.

In this book, Tony outlines how he grew up and ended up being the CEO of Zappos, what lessons he had learned through running the business, and where he sees the company and going in the future.

It’s a great book and easy to read.  I especially enjoyed the candor and a little weirdness of Tony.  The later part of the book was a little long and repetitive, but overall I really enjoyed the book.  Below are some of my favourite moments/quotes.

1. Much of our sense of reality is perception.  At one point Zappos was weeks from going out of business from lack of cash.  The source of funds was unclear.  During this time Tony took a trip he had planned for a long time to climb a mountain, and here’s his experience:

The next four days hiking up Kilimanjaro tested my physical, mental, and emotional strength.  We hiked twelve hours a day…I ended up getting a cold, with a cough and runny nose.  The dryness at higher elevations caused me to get a bloody nose.  Half the time spent hiking was with tissue paper stuck in my nostrils, making breathing even more difficult.  And even though I’d taken altitude sickness medication, the high altitude resulted in headache, vomiting, and diarrhea.  I was only carrying a day pack, but my shoulder and back started acting up and spasming…There were no showers or bathrooms…This entire experience was by far the hardest thing thing I had ever done in my life.  It was testing every ounce of willpower I had.  After what seemed like an eternity, we finally reached the summit just as the sun was rising.  I couldn’t believe that we had actually done it.  We were standing at the highest point in all of Africa, looking down at the clouds below us, with the sun directly in front of us, its rays welcoming us to the beginning of the new day…In that moment, I thought to myself, Anything is possible.

2. There is a time to harvest, and a time to sift:

“In the pursuit of knowledge, something is added every day.  In the pursuit of enlightenment, something is dropped every day.” – Lao-tzu

3. Great quote to live by:

“No matter what your past has been, you have a spotless future.” – Author Unknown

Hope you enjoy the book!

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