Libro – Delivering Happiness de Tony Hsieh
“Envision, create, and believe in your own universe, and the universe will form around you, she said softly. “Just like what you did tonight.”
I just finished reading Delivering Happiness by Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh. I write these lines on Sunday April 25, after a reading marathon paused to have some beans and rice, a hot bath, a nap and 1h run through the spring fields after the rain.
Tony (I hope you don’t mind me using your first name) has spent the day with me. It is amazing when you connect with someone even though that someone might not even be by your side or even living in the same century as you do. And that’s what I felt today.
Delivering Happiness is not a business book. Delivering Happiness is not an autobiography either. Delivering Happiness is the friend you hadn’t seen since high school and one day, just when you where rushing to get your groceries, you just run into. How about having a tea (or Red Bull) and talk about life?
That is what Delivering Happiness is. I few hours chatting with an old friend about life, learning, business and making a difference in the world Just before you draw your terminal breath (thanks Monty Python.)
The book is divided in three different sections:
1. Profits, or the Road to Zappos
It is funny, Tony and I were born 4 months apart but I could feel and even share some of the experiences he talks about in this section as if I were there. He skipped classes in Harvard and I used to pop in at the end of the term to do some PR and photocopy my classmates’ notes.
I found amusing how many times he says “I learned.” I even found myself counting how many “things” he learned and comparing them to how many other “things” I learned until he made it big with LinkExchange. I had no LinkExchange-like experience myself but Tony’s insights not only let peek into the legendary Silicon Valley’s VC world, but also how individual interests can break a community.
2. Profits and Passion, or Building the Tribe
This section deals with a question I have always wondered and asked a few wise men in my life. “What do you do when you make it?” This is an especially difficult to answer when money is not what drives you out of bed every morning. I guess this is the part of the book where Wall Street sharks and London City boys stop reading. “25 and $40m? Live the vida loca!”
On the contrary, after some time playing to the start-up incubator, Tony tell us the story of Zappos, how he got involved with it and how he focused on what seems to be his gift, mastering the art of tribe building. Shoes? Completely circumstantial. It could have been health insurance or cars.
Remember when you were a kid and thought of running a zoo with your best friends after visiting with the school? When you were a teenager and dreamt of creating a videogame empire with your fellow Daley Thompson’s Decathlon athletes? (I don’t even know today who Daley Thompson was.) Wasn’t it you the one who tried to talk up your drinking buddies into opening the most successful beach bar?
Tony tells us how he managed to transfer a fellowship of trust and community into the “real” and business world… and make it work.
If you are not familiar with Zappos’ world famous 10 core values and all-business customer service culture (where have you been? Do you still think that Zappos is Spanish for “toads”?), in this section Tony and his tribe explain you how they came to live.
3. Profits, Passion and Purpose, or Making a Happier World.
Passionate and hard work always pays in the long run. Or at least that’s Tony and Zappos vision.
It is the advice a marriage counsellor would give you. Keep the flame lit, and remember it everyday.
All in all, for the Zappos connoisseur, reading Delivering Happiness you will learn first-hand how Tony got where he is and you will wonder if it could have been you.
For the Zappos newbie, this is mandatory reading if you ever wondered why we work and what’s the purpose of profit. This post was meant to be published in June 7. It got delayed due to the unfortunate and unexpected death of my best friend and business partner, Jose Pazos. As Tony Hsieh and his tribe are trying everyday, and as Jose did in his own way, don’t waste time searching the meaning of life, give life a meaning.