Author Tony Hsieh


This is a review of the book Delivering Happiness:  A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose written by Tony Hsieh.  Hsieh (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Hsieh) is an American internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and CEO of Zappos.  Prior to Zappos, Hsieh co-founded the internet advertising network LinkExchange, which he sold to Microsoft in 1999 for a mere 265 million dollars.  This 42-year-old has a current net worth of 850 million!  In this book, Hsieh provides solid ways companies can achieve unprecedented success and how creating happiness and record results go hand in hand.  Hsieh details some of the unique practices at Zappos which has made it the success it is today.  He discusses why Zappos’ number one priority is company culture and his belief that once company culture is right, everything else, including great customer service and long-term branding, will happen on its own.  Delivering Happiness explains how Zappos employees apply the ten core values to improving their lives outside of work and making a difference in their communities and the world.  Hsieh also explains in this book how a person and his or her colleagues should come up with their own by creating a little fun and even a little weirdness to build a positive team and family spirit.

Hsieh has been an entrepreneur his whole life.

In 1996, he co-founded LinkExchange which was sold to Microsoft in 1998 for 265 million dollars.  In 1999, he became involved with Zappos as an advisor and an investor and eventually became CEO.  They grew the company from no sales in 1999 to over a billion dollars in gross merchandise sales annually.  In 2009, Zappos was acquired by Amazon in a deal valued at over 1.2 billion dollars on the day of closing.  It appears they were both overnight successes but Hsieh said there were a lot of mistakes made and a lot lessons learned along the way.  Hsieh is an avid book reader which has influenced where he is today.  He hopes this book will serve as encouragement to businesses and entrepreneurs who want to create their own path to success.  He takes things to the next level and hopes to challenge others to do the same. 

In search of profits

Hsieh began selling earthworms when he was a young boy.  He built a worm box in the back of his yard and fed it with egg yolks in hopes to produce more worms, but nothing developed and the birds pretty much ate all the worms.  His parents were typical Asian-American parents.  His dad was a chemical engineer for Chevron and his mother was a social worker and he had two younger brothers.  The Asian culture was all about discussing their kids’ accomplishments.  His parents stressed good grades, attending a good college and obtaining a professional degree and obtaining musical mastery in piano or violin or both.  He was expected to get straight A’s in school and was only allowed to watch TV for an hour a day.  His mother, especially, wanted him to be a doctor, but he fantasized about making money.  Hsieh sold greeting cards and had a button business in grade school.  He learned early on he could make a successful business by mail order without any face to face interaction.

 

Hsieh started at a very young age striving for financial independence.  It kind of makes me wonder if there is an entrepreneur gene or is it something that happens out of a personal need that must be fulfilled?  Check back soon for my next post.  Sorry to leave you with a cliffhanger, but I have reading to do.