Delivering happiness, humor and inspiration

Picture of book coverToday marks the launch of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose. I was sent two advance copies and was asked to give an honest review of the book and give one copy away. I was not told what to say or paid for this effort. And, if you comment on this blog post, you will have a chance to win one of my advance copies. So, let’s get to it.

Who is Tony Hsieh?

Some of you may not know who Tony Hsieh (pronounced ‘shay’) is, and that’s ok. You don’t have to in order to enjoy the book. He’s the CEO of Zappos, a company he got involved with in 1999, shortly after selling his own company, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265 million in 1998. He was only 24 years old.

Delivering happiness

In Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh shows you what it would be like if a kid ran the world—a smart kid. Reading his book is like being on a rollercoaster ride. Half of me thinks, “How is this guy not completely broke?” and the other half marvels at his dedication and pure genius and sees exactly why he is so successful.

His story made me laugh out loud at times and shake my head in wonder at other times. Most of all, for me, it delivered inspiration.

It’s inspiring to see that a CEO can run a company based on real values, not boilerplate ones that are made for show. In a time where more and more companies take advantage of their employees, who work in fear of losing their job in a bad economy, it’s refreshing to see a company that gets it right.

And it’s proof that you don’t have to do things the way everyone else does to be successful.

Zappos Core Values

Do your company's values look like this?

Path to profits, passion and purpose

Tony’s path started on a worm farm at the age of 9 and is now at a company he helped build that’s making over $1 billion in sales a year and was just acquired by Amazon. Why wouldn’t you read this book?

At the start of the book when Tony said he insisted on writing the book himself, I rolled my eyes and braced myself. As a writer, I was skeptical. But it couldn’t have been written by anyone else. Once you read the book, you’ll see why. Tony is genuine and didn’t want one word to sound like it didn’t come from him.

Except for a few spots of awkward writing and redundancy—and an ending that while matching his intention, strays from the path—the book is written well. And it’s a fast, informative and entertaining read.

Who should read this book?

Many great lessons pop up throughout the book. The lessons are for businesses, for businesspeople, for adults and for kids.

Adults and children will both laugh at how Tony recorded himself playing the piano and violin and replayed it at times to get out of practicing. Really, why not give your kids an inspiring story of how an energetic, creative kid found happiness and great success at an early age?

Cynical people might not like the book. Positive quotes appear throughout and Tony can lay the happiness stuff on a little thick at times. But that is the point.

Tony Hsieh is an idealist, a venture capitalist, a realist, an adventurist, an entrepreneur, and now an author. Most of all, he’s a fearless humanist. That is what makes him and this book special.


What do you think? Leave a comment and your name will go into a random drawing in which the winner will receive an advance copy of the book. If you want to buy the published version, go here. (I do not get any money for referring you here.) If you’re feeling brave, send a copy to the CEO of your company.


  1. skipshoe · June 7, 2010

    Coreen – thank you for sharing your review of Tony Hsieh’s new book. His list of values are inspiring – and I recognize many opportunities for today’s businesspeople to take note. In particular, your admonition for cynics to steer clear reminded me of Tim Sander’s book, “Love is the Killer App”. While uber-positivity rubs some people the wrong way, I’d rather hang out with the Free Hugs guy (or anyone with passion and creativity) over the cynic any day. It sounds like Tony’s book is an inspiration for anyone seeking to build a “creative generation” business. I look forward to reading it.

  2. Pingback: Rules are Rules, Right? Not If You Want to Keep Your Customers Happy | In the crowds

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