Book review: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Mixed feelings. That’s what I get now that I’ve finished reading Delivering Happiness – a path to profits, passion and purpose by Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh.

Maybe the problem was my set of expectations. I had heard good reviews on the book and the fact that both happiness and passion were part of the book’s title made me even more curious. I chose this book for my post-Christmas holidays as I wanted to read something inspirational. So maybe the problem were high expectations.

The book basically tells the personal story of Tony Hsieh and that of his company Zappos and is written in an informal tone. And here comes expectation unmet 1: although I have no problem with informal writing, as if you are telling a story to someone (and Hsieh admits that he did not use a ghostwriter), I confess that I was expecting a more inspired tone from a book entitled Delivering Happiness.

Fast forward the first part of the book – the more personal side of the book when Hsieh talks about the days at school and the first jobs – and you get to the rather interesting story of Zappos and their unique culture. There the reader gets lots of insights into the developments of the company, the struggles, the setbacks, the victories up until the company it is today. But here again the book failed to inspire me, although I admit that some of the practices of Zappos and their openness regarding their values and culture is highly commendable (the core values of the company are listed and explained in the book, ilustrated with testemonies from employees, partners or other people related to the Zappos environment).

And to end it, just a glimpse of maybe what I was expecting: a tiny chapter called End Game that talks about the science of happiness and the parallel between happiness in a personal and business context.

There is, however, one thing that I just kept thinking while reading this book: young entrepreneurs should read it because I believe they would profit from the stories being told and the advises being shared.

All in all, although I have some takeaways that might be useful from the book (namely some ideas on how the company treats & trains employees) I just feel that it didn’t quite deliver the “happiness” I was looking for…

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