Delivering Happiness Top 10 books of all time!

Delivering Happiness: Tony’s (CEO of Zappos) book is full of amazing insights and tidbits into finding your true happiness.

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. “ -Buddha

“It is amazing what 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

These 3 quotes at the same of book summarize his mentality and his pursuit of happiness really well.

He links us to his happiness movement which is pretty cool. You should check out.

The last chapter in the book summarizes a lot of his main points well.

There are 3 types of happiness- The first one is pleasure which you can think of a rock star chasing the next high which is what most of us do. Buying the next car, buying the next pair of shoes, buying a bigger house thinking that it will make us happier.

The next level of happiness is passion- Which is the state of flow when you do things and time goes by really quickly. Also engagement, for instance, athletes describe this state as being in the zone.

This happens to me sometimes when I am reading a good book and before I know I finished the whole book in a day. Similar to when I reading this book and couldn’t put it down. It is often uninterrupted when you are at work being super productive.

The last level which is the most important is finding your purpose so being a part of something bigger than yourself.

Zappos’s example is creating an experience and creating the WOW factor which is basically just going above and beyond the call of duty. He gave an example of how one of his friends asked which pizza places are open at this time (it was really late) and the customer loyalty rep told him to wait and helped him out right away and was super sincere about everything.

The parallels between a great business and happiness are similar.

Purpose- passion- pleasure.

Seeking pleasure is what we do when we get drunk or find hook ups, or buying a nice outfit etc. It is an externally driven world.

Business equivalent is seeking profits.

Passion is the 2nd level for both.

Purpose is the highest level for both.

He gives us an exercise to do.

What are your values?

What are you passionate about?

What inspires you?

What is your goal in life?

What are your company values?

What is your company’s higher purpose?

What is your higher purpose?

I love how Tony is so vulnerable in this book even though he is a billionaire.

He is just so relatable more so than almost anyone I have ever read about.

Some of the other takeaways from the book is – defying conventional wisdom. He basically did what everyone else neglects to do. Invest the most energy and time into your customer service department. Most companies dread spending money on customer service and pay their customer service employees the least amount of money. He does the opposite and creates a whole company based on giving the customer the ultimate WOW experience.

Truly innovative. Tony was always very ambitious and credited his work ethic from having super strict Asian parents. He was forced to go to Harvard because his parents said it was great for bragging rights to compare to other Asian parents that they lived near in the bay area. He was very entrepreneurial even in middle school and high school. He created his own business and all he cared about was money when he was a young child. He was super money hungry that way he described when he first received his first check and when he started his own businesses and became very successful from it. His parents actually wanted to do more something more practical than computer science.

He just has a passion for learning and is open minded about everything. He is not afraid of judgment you can tell by him pouring out his heart by still open and honest about everything. Admitting all of his mistakes and thought process for every decision he makes. The fear of bankruptcy and going out of business time and time again.

Do not get it wrong, he has many many failures. I think many of us read that and say sure…. But we don’t truly understand the significance of it. Normal people think of failures it’s like maybe once in awhile when we will have failures but he had so many failures it is even hard to comprehend sometimes unless you are Mark Cuban or a serial entrepreneur.

He makes a lot of comparison with poker to business. Some of his analogies are: Appearing weak when strong and appearing strong when weak. Being in it for the long term game and being flexible and most importantly the table that you sit at- he talks about being on table with a lot of poker chips is tired people vs professionals with a small stack. His analogy is that the table represents your market and when he was just in the shoe market. His options were limited but by opening it up to accessories and so much more. His options grew exponentially.

He talks about just having fun in everything in life. Do not take anything so serious, it is just not worth your time and energy to get bogged down when your first 100 businesses do not work out. The earthworm farm story was memorable because he was talking about his first business venture at the age of 6 was he wanted to grow earthworms because he heard they multiplied when cut in half so he put a wire at the end of his farm but that did not work out and they ended up all escaping.

“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.” – Soren Kierkegaard

“Be humble: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.” -Shunryu Suzuki.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” -Jon Wabat- Zian

These are questions to ask yourself in your are in a business or in a management level position:

Ask yourself: How do you plan and prepare for change? Do you view new challenges optimistically? Do you encourage and drive change? How do you encourage more change to be driven from the bottom up?

Are you empowering your direct reports to drive change?

Another common theme I have noticed is that Tony is an amazing story teller. He is extremely funny and witty which makes the stories that much more memorable. You can’t help but root for the guy.

Ask yourself: How do you encourage more teamwork?

How do you encourage more people to take initiative? How do you encourage more people to take ownership? What can you do with your team members so that you feel both like a family and a team? How can build stronger relationships with your team members both inside and outside the office? Do you instill a sense of team and family not just within your department, but across the entire company? Do you exemplify a positive team spirit?

Doing more with less- Being scrappy is extremely important as well.

Ask yourself: How can you do what you’re doing more efficiently? How can your department become more efficient? How can the company as a whole become more efficient? How can you personally help the company become more efficient?

The TLDR version is that life is too short to worry about what others think of you.

Find your passion and ask why? If you keep asking why to your response you will eventually get happiness is the reason why you do the things you do.

Most people think of happiness is having materialistic things but he argues that it doesn’t matter at all. True happiness revolves around connectedness, something greater than your yourself, making a difference and paying it forward.


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Davidson Hang is currently in Sales at Cheetah Digital which is a Marketing technology company located in NYC.

Davidson is an avid networker, personal growth- life and business coach.

He loves spreading the love and regularly helps people create and design the life they want for themselves.

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