I finally had a chance to finish up reading the Delivering Happiness book I’ve been reading and writing about for the last few weeks. In all, I do recommend the book both to startups, and to those running a larger company. The book is almost two books in one. The first half, as I covered in my posts, Discovering Happiness and Now This is Real Passion, are about Tony’s early startup experience and the path he was on that led to his personal discovery of what his passions really were. This was the part of the book that I enjoyed the most as it focuses on my situation and on one of my favorite areas of interest: internal motivation and discovering one’s passions.

The second part of the book deals with the management of Zappos, as Tony transitioned into running and growing a company. Here, he discusses how he built the now famous Zappos culture. He discusses this in detail, including many internal memos and company letters, and even including 24 pages of the company’s Core Values Document. I touched on this in my previous post The Zappos Culture Book. This is all very interesting, but since I’m more involved in the early startup days, it’s a bit beyond where I need to be. It was still helpful and I identified with many of the core values, and felt like I would be comfortable adopting the entire thing, as-is, for my own company, though with some personal changes here and there.

I do think that overall, the book could have been better with an editor reviewing and chopping out maybe 25%. For that reason I gave it 4/5 stars, compared with 5/5 for both Rework and Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It. If you remember, with Rework, between the next-to-last and final draft they cut the book in half, down to 27,000 words from 57,000. Delivering Happiness would have been better a bit shorter and more focused.

In this second part of the book, spanning sections 2 and 3, you will learn what it is that Tony believes are the only competitive advantages they have, “everything else can be copied”. You’ll read examples of how the company stood behind its culture and core values and how they developed what those would even be. Tony will discuss the number one driver of growth: customer service and word of mouth, and how that is more than a marketing scheme, but a way of life for the entire team at Zappos. Tony also discusses the importance and value they place on their call center, and how differently they handle that than most other companies, and how other companies can instill excellent customer service at their companies.

As I mentioned earlier you’ll be able to read the entire Core Values Document of the company with helpful example stories where they put it in practice and how it effected the people and the company. Tony will discuss his experience with beginning to speak publicly and how he changed his approach on how to prepare for speaking and how freeing the new approach was. He concludes with a discussion on the science and study of what happiness means and the frameworks of happiness.

I would summarize the entire book into one main theme: Do what you are passionate about, embrace your passions, and share them with others, focusing, in all you do, to make others happy in every opportunity, using all your skills, experiences and passions.

Remember to post a comment on any of my Zappos posts to be entered to win a free copy of the book. I’ll name the winner on Monday. You could share an idea, ask a question, share a related quote or experience as well.

Update:I’ll be shipping a copy of Delivering Happiness to the winner of the free book, Amber Weinberg. Thanks for reading Amber!

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. ~ George Bernard Shaw

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. ~ H.S. Truman

We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. ~ Carlos Castaneda

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.~ Ralph Waldo Emerson