Narrators: Tony Hsieh, other Zappos employees
Rating: 6 out of 10
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Length: 8 hours, 17 minutes
Pages: 253 (print version)
Challenges: 2012 Audio Book Challenge
Synopsis (from Publishers Weekly): Zappos CEO Hsieh offers a compelling account of his transformation from callow Harvard student entrepreneur through his years as a dot-com wunderkind to the creator of a formidable brand. Interest might flag as Hsieh, fresh off selling his Internet company LinkExchange to Yahoo in 1999 for $265 million, kvetches about lacking fulfillment. But as the tech boom bursts, and Hsieh confronts his dwindling investments, his story comes alive. As the funding for his incubator companies dries up and one of his most promising startups, Zappos.com, a shoe retailer, seems doomed, Hsieh blossoms into a mature businessperson, slashing expenses and presciently making customer service the essence of the company’s brand.
Overall Impression: This is one of those books that’s been on my radar for a while, so I was excited when it came up during one of Audible’s many awesome sales. Unfortunately, it just didn’t live up the hype I’d built up in my head. I was trying to consider why that was, considering it’s been widely lauded for Hsieh’s unique approach to running a business. Then it occurred to me — I’ve never worked for a big corporation. I’ve always worked for small businesses, in which there is already a distinct “corporate” culture of being nice and friendly and doing what you can to go out of the way for the customer — since that’s generally the only thing that keeps small businesses in business!
The content, overall, was strong and compelling. I liked that Zappos mission statement is truly integrated in everything they do, and how Hsieh showed that through real-life examples of employees in the company. It makes their work more than just good. It makes it interesting. It compels employees to do a good job and to be proud of the company they work for. I can understand why this book would appeal to so many in business, and would hope that it has changed some minds about what it takes to run a successful company.
Narration: I liked Hsieh’s narration — it fit well with the book (it’s always hit or miss when an author reads his/her own book). I also loved the sidebars written by Zappos employees, and read by them as well. Very well done.
Positives: Anyone who has a hand in running a large corporation must read this (and probably already has). I can see why so many people want to work for Zappos, and why it consistently hits the Top 50 Companies to Work For list.
Negatives: I was not the target audience — it didn’t offer me anything new for my particular line of work, nor for my personal life. I also thought there was a startling lack of personal information about Hsieh. Not that I wanted to know all about his personal life, but I think more could have been said about maintaining a work-life balance.
Other books I’ve read by Tony Hsieh: none
Other books I’ve listened to narrated by Tony Hsieh: none
Other blogger opinions:
Toothy Books: “I think it’s worth the read regardless if you are interested in business or not.”
A Blog of Books: “The motto of Zappos.com might be delivering happiness, but this book by the CEO of Zappos delivers, period!”
Blogging with Beth: “For a jolt of enthusiasm and positive energy to your day (and to your life), I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of Delivering Happiness.”