Thank you Hachette Book Group for including me in their blogger outreach for Tony Hsieh’s new book, ‘Delivering Happiness.’ (affiliate link) You’ll have to forgive the lack of gorgeous photo but I’m on the road this week and don’t have all the office tools at my disposal. I have an extra book to give away to one lucky Soap Queen reader too! Giveaway details down at the bottom of the review.
I’m a huge fan of Zappos and Tony Hsieh. I’m a happy customer of Zappos. I’ve long admired what they’ve done with their company culture and often wondered aloud to my staff how they could do free shipping and free returns back and forth and stay in business. This book answers a lot of those questions and then some.
If you’re looking for a practical advice, a 1,2,3 step book, this probably isn’t the book for you. If you’re looking for an inspirational, rollicking business experience that reads like an old friend telling stories, this is the book for you.
The book covers starts with Tony’s childhood. He was entrepreneurial from the start and had supportive, loving parents. His parents also had incredibly high standards with a relentless drive of excellence on behalf of their children. Tony told a funny story about how he was forced to practice his musical instruments for four hours a day during the summer. He thwarted his parents plans by putting on a recording of himself and then went and read magazines. He took his entrepreneurial bent mixed with his decidedly out of the box thinking and had quite the college career. Get the book just to learn how he passed his Bible college class. It’s a great idea. For me, the ‘How Tony Became Tony’ portion of the book is the most interesting.
The story about Tony’s post college years – how he grew LinkExchange, turned down buyout offers and eventually sold the company for a cool $265 million reads a bit like a fairytale. It doesn’t go into tons of depth about how the company was built but then again, the book is primarily focused on building Zappos so this part of the book is more like the interlude before the action.
The Zappos story part of the book reads easily and Tony spends the bulk of the time talking about the importance of culture – the key, he believes, to why Amazon eventually purchased Zappos for $1.2 billion dollars. Reading the book made me really hone in on the importance of not only defining your values as a company but making it into a whimsical game, with fun prizes and community building activities. Tony threw raves but you can probably take that down a notch for your organization.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is starting a business, who owns a business or is caught in the doldrums of life and wants an primer for how to think outside the box. You can get your copy of the book at your local bookstore or online at Amazon.
GIVEAWAY! The generous people at Hachette Book Group sent me an extra copy to give away to my blog readers (yay! and thank you!). To “enter” to win, tell me how YOU delivered happiness to someone else in the last month. I’ll randomly draw someone next Tuesday so you have five days to enter. Ready. Set. Go! Deliver Happiness!
That was truly a caring thing – you had every ‘right’ to concentrate on getting yourself better but instead you took the time to care for someone else. And clearly it meant something to her too. Kudos for that – and a speedy recovery to you.
Nice! I once flew to Germany to surprise my Mom and that definitely was a great surprise. I’m sure your Grandma was thrilled and the peonies were a nice touch.
Wow. You really went out of your way for that little guy. I bet he is going to love his sweatshirt. =)
That is such a huge help. My friend Christin’s son passed away last year from a brain tumor and she really really really appreciated the extra help with food delivery and organization. I’m sure your friend feels the same way. And nice touch with the bath products. =)
I’ve never tried s’mores in the microwave but I used to microwave tons and tons of marshmallows until they developed a thick crunchy skin. It was delicious. And also, a dessert that I haven’t had for oh, 18 years or so! =) Your girls must have had such a great giggle over the microwave s’mores.
I am sure they love you visiting even if you didn’t bring all the extra treats but it sure is nice that you’ve taken the time to figure out what will make the residents extra happy.
I’m so glad to have you as a new reader. Thank you! We seriously heart Poppy Paperie and her amazing projects/designs.
Yes, I am sure that you make your two boys happy a lot more than just once a day. =) But, your kind gesture to buy the treats for those little girls is absolutely an unexpected surprise that definitely qualifies for ‘delivering happiness.’
That is AWESOME! I’ve spent many weeks building houses, churches and schools overseas and have always been interested in learning more about Habitat for Humanity. Thanks for the push I needed to find out more about how I can help out right in my own backyard.
That is so nice that your friend had a healthy baby – and I’m sure she loved the personalized soap. I must admit that your bachelor co-worker cooking is an incredibly thoughtful gesture. I’m not surprised it brings a big smile to his face (and I bet his tummy is happier too!).
Now that is delivering big time! Your kids must have been so thrilled (especially your poor dd – what a trooper). The beach sounds like a great trip.
Now that is so sweet. I worked at a retirement center in high school and it was difficult to see how the elderly are often forgotten and not cared for as they should be. That was really nice of you.
Oh Sweetie, I am so sorry to read about your husband. You must be so scared and frightened right now. It’s impressive that you are keeping it all together enough to think of kind gestures like bringing your husband Sudoku puzzles. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband.
That’s awesome that you try to commute in an alternative way. It’s good for you and it’s good for the environment.
Wow – you were a busy soaping fair for sure. Clean the World is a worthy cause and I’m glad you posted, because I hadn’t ever heard of Soldier’s Angels. I want to learn more about that organization. Anything that supports our troops is a good thing in my book.
Oh man, that totally sucks.Your poor sister and her husband. My heart goes out to them (and you). It must have been hard for you to be so far away when your sister really needed your support. It sounds like you put an effort into making her feel loved and supported, even if you couldn’t be with her.
Nice – I’m betting that really was a good pick-her-up for your co-worker. Peppermint is such a good cooling spray for tired feet. Nice job on that one.
A bar of rainbow soap? That sounds lovely. And, your pay it forward check is a great idea. I bet you made her week!
I had some major surgery in the past few days. I am home now, but while at the hospital I had a room mate who was an elderly woman who has pneumonia. She said she was home for only 3 days when she ended up back in the hospital for complications. I could tell she was alone, there was no one to come see her and bring her flowers or a card to cheer up her day. This made me very sad to see, I could not imagine having no one to care or love you. I got to be quite freindly with here during my few days in the hospital. She is smart, sweet and imaginative.
When I was leaving on my final day in the hospital I got to thinking what I could do for her so she did not feel so alone and unloved. I wrote her a long note about how some people come in and out of our lives and there are reasons for this. I told her how she made a difference in my life, because she taught me what it is like to be kind and thoughtful to people, even those you don’t know. I stuck a 4 leaf clover in the note that I had in my book that I was reading at the time. When I gave this note to her, she smiled and said “bless you child, I love you too”!!!
It was the most important thing I have EVER delivered to anyone in my life….it was a sign that someone mattered to me.
I delivered happiness in the form of a surprise birthday party this last weekend…took a day off work and flew home to see my Grandma with a handful of peonies in hand (her favorite flower). It was a weekend to be remembered for sure!
Now that is totally sweet (and you are right – bird cages do cost a minor fortune!)
Wow. I bet that guy was so thrilled to have your help. I’ve locked my keys in the car and it is definitely no fun. Good one!
Aw, that sounds precious. Little kids are so much fun to hang out with because they are so incredibly happy and can access their emotions easily.
Now that is some awesome happiness. Any friends of mine that I did that for would have been absolutely thrilled. =)
Nancy H. just sent me an email with her submission:
I’d love to read this book. I delivered happiness by locating a toddler size sweatshirt for one one of the little guys I see for speech therapy at Dream Catchers at the Cori Sikich Therapeutic Riding Center. I brought it home with me and called his mom to see if she wanted it. She said definitely but they wouldn’t be in the area for at least 2 weeks. That was when I told her I’d brought it home with me and would put it in the mail to her. Since she’d been hoping for a sweatshirt for her little “Dream Catcher” since last fall, she was thrilled.
Thanks, Nancy H.
Heidi Zeigler says
I helped a friend and her son who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was able to set up meals to be delivered to her, I set her up with bath products (soaps, lotions and bath salts) for (non chemical) baths….to help relax her so she can sleep and I have helped guide her in her diet to help her fight the ‘terminal’ diagnosis. I will continue helping her throughout her journey. Please pray for her. Her name is Jana N.
I made two little giggling girlrs delighted and happy by making s’mores in the microwave. The laughed and laughed while making marshmellow beards and getting sticky stuff in their hair!!! They are my soap samplers and proudly display M&P soap projects they have made in their room as they are just too “pretty” to use.
I Deliver Happiness to Mom every other week to her. She is in a home and I drive from Michigan to Ohio to see her. I take her for a ride in the country and lunch. I try and fine the fruit that she likes that is in season and take to her. Cookies in a can she likes also. Plus her two friends that are in the home with her I take things in for them also. I take car mazines in for the men and video of the late time into the home also. The home uses them all.
I enjoy delivering happiness to the serion that are in assistant living and skill nursing. Their faces are so enjoy able to see light up when they have someone come and see them and bring a little gift.
I just have to say: I LOVE your blog! I am here via Poppy Paperie(one to which I am a follower) and have been here surfen around for.. oh…. over 2 hours now. I keep coming back for refrences and intrigue and one time to show my sister how awsome this blog is. With that being said I will tell you that I am fairly certain I make my 2 boys happy at least once a day if not several. But the other day I was at a local convience store in my area and there was a little girl and her younger sister at the counter trying to buy 2 small snacks and a 2 small juices but she was short quite a bit and I couldnt bare watching them having to put it all back and seeing the defeated look on thier faces, so I bought the items for them and those 2 girls were extremely happy, which in turn made me very happy. I love making people happy in general.
Thank you so much for the wonderful blog and the chance at winning this book.
Sharon : )
Wow – a melt and pour project would definitely make an 8 year old happy.
Business books I recommend and in order … right. Let’s see if I can remember that (it was a random comment that I’m sure not to be able to find): Good to Great, The Success Principles and E-Myth Revisted. I would read them in exactly the reverse order – E-Myth first.
Nice. That was generous of you.
Completely agree that homemade meals is so appreciated when the chips are down.
Homemade dinner and extra for the freezer is a very kind gesture. And, your poor friend – a c-section and then gallbladder surgery? Ouch. Speedy recovery wishes for sure.
That is a very generous donation! Lucky lucky dogs.
Aw, that is so sweet. And quality girl time is awwwwwesome! =)
Ooooh, I bet you were super popular =)
Nice – entirely at your own expense is definitely generous. Congrats about being asked to speak. That is quite an honor.
Hi everyone – I’m reading your comments and love them all! It’s very inspiring.
I have spent the last 5 Saturdays as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer helping to build a home for a wonderful lady – Ms Rico. She is hard-working, humble, appreciative and a grandmother, Wow! And, this is her first home.
At the end of each build day – often a bit battered and bruised ;-), she and I reflect in amazement on our daily accomplishments. She is proud as a peacock and nearly in tears each time we talk because of “all the blessing bestowed on her.” Now here’s a twist – Here I am thinking I’m delivering happiness – and I suppose I am – however I couldn’t deny my own feelings of receiving just as much happiness in return – What as awesome feeling.
So – I encourage you to check out a volunteer opportunity at your own local Habitat affiliate – I think you will be amazed. It definitely changed my life!
Friends of mine lost a baby a while ago. This week she gave birth to a fresh healthy baby boy. I gave my first bar of embedded soap ( Blue with he boy’s name embedded) to her and she was very happy with it.
Another happiness give-away is cooking for a bachelor co-worker ( who otherwise only eats pizza or other junkfood) Love the smile it brings on his face.
I delivered big time to my kids three days ago with a surprise trip to the beach. After your sweet comment on my blog about our youngest dd’s birthday, she had a bad fall and hurt her mouth really bad…had to see the plastic surgeon and we were all completely traumatized. So…after she got her stitches out…a last minute trip to the gulf coast was in order.
And no, not one speck of oil in sight where we were!!!
We have a patient at the office that is 98….she’d been going without her hearing aid for several weeks because she had nobody to give her a ride to the office to get it fixed. So I took some things with me, stopped by her place and spent a little time visiting while I fixed her hearing aids.
Elena Z says
My husband got into ER on Wednesday night with brain failure. He is 35 and completly healthy. He is still in the hospital and I don’t know when I can take him home. He is a huge fan of sudoku, so today morning I grabbed news papers for him full of sudoku puzzles and we did one together. It is painful for me wach my hero be so weak and I feel so mad that I can’t help him to feel better. It is very hard, but I’m glad that he smiled and laughed today with me over that sudoku puzzle.
I walk as many places as I can, when I am walking all over I see many people and smile at every single one. It is rare not to have some one smile back. It is a little bit of happiness I can share with everyone, even perfect strangers.
One of my favorite things to do is deliver happiness. This week I sent out my last Rosemary Mint soap to my former neighbor who lives (what seems like) a billion miles away because it’s her favorite. Also sent out my second large box of soap scraps to Clean the World, and a box full of soap to Soldier’s Angels.
My sister’s husband had a heart attack while working overseas. He was without oxygen for 12 minutes and had to be revived via paddles. On the days she had email or phone access, I sent encouraging scripture to her to lift her up and bring her a small piece of happiness.
Happiness is delivered every day for me in small gestures and praise to those I know! Small gestures make people’s days!! (ok ok I just do it for their smiles!!)
My favorite ‘happiness delivery’ was for a co-worker at my somewhat new job as a Medical Assistant. This lady is a tireless helper in the office, friendly and a downright good person. She was complaining of her feet hurting after a long day working with patients. The next day I brought her in a bottle of my Cloud 9 Foot Spray in Peppermint. The look on her face was the exact reason I tend to just give a few things away to those I feel need a pick-me-up… there are too many people out there in this world that ‘do good’ and receive no recognition or pat on the back. And THAT is what makes the deserving!
Pamela Leis says
A fellow soaper (a long time soaper) sent me an unsolicited bar of rainbow soap, one that I admired from a photo. Well I was astounded when she asked for my address and by her generosity. It touched me so, I in return sent her a box of my paltry works with a generous check and asked her to “play it forward”, to use the check to make someone elses week! “Playing it forward”, brought to you by the popcorn lady! Thank you all.
A family with two young boys really wanted a bird, but the cost of the cage was prohibitive for them. I gave them a cage I planned to use, but had just never made a final decision on what kind of feather friend would live there-the two little boys ecstatic.
My husband and I stopped in at Officemax. There was a guy sitting on his trunk of his car talking on his phone. We went into the store did your shopping and came back out. The guy was then shoving coat hangers into his car trying to get in. He had locked his keys in the car. My husband and I walked over and helped him get his keys out of his car. After a half hour of him trying, he was so greatful that we helped him get them out! It felt good to help!
I had two young girls over to my house that needed some help with costumes for a skit. I told them to bring their swim suits and they could swim while I worked on their outfits. I was helping them out, but it was fun for me as well as I joined them for a swim and got to hear about all their end of school year activities.
Francis Santos says
How funny I just saw your email and was like wow! I did deliver happiness to 2 of my bestest friends on Friday! I surprised them both with some handmade sugar, melt and pour scrubs. I was working in my kitchen and thought, I can make these by the time we got together for lunch with my friend Anna who’s birthday was on Thursday. Needles to say they were speechless with all the other goodies I took them! I love delivering happiness it’s one of the best pleasures in life. Especially when its so unexpected ; )
My neighbor’s 8 year old boy has autism and can’t communicate with words. I did a melt and pour project with him and he was giddy! I was amazed at how much he lit up making his soapy project! I even got a big high five.
P.S. Awhile ago I saw you post somewhere (blog, facebook, I don’t remember where) the business books you recommend and the order in which they should be read. Since I can’t remember where I saw this post or how far back it was, would you mind reposting it? Thanks!!
I gave away some of my possessions (ones with real value, not junk) to friends who needed them more…they were thrilled. 🙂
i sent over a cooler filled with 3 freezer meals to a young family having to deal with cancer and thyroid surgery (my husband’s coworker’s wife). hoping it will help nourish them with homemade meals when no one feels like cooking 😀
You mean besides shipping out boxes of yummy handcrafted soap? 🙂 We made several dinners for a friend who just delivered a baby C-section & then 3 days later had to have emergency gallbladder surgery. She was so tickled to have some homemade dinner & extras to put in the freezer instead of fast food for her young family.
Under the Willow delivered 6 month of happiness to our local humane society- Dorchester Humane Society…
We donated 6 month worth of Howlin’ Good Dog’s Natural Laundry Soap… This way they can use their usual “laundry funds” for other uses that will help all the animals sheltered here- until they find their “forever” home…
Nikki Black says
I love delivering happiness – afterall, giving it away is the best way to feel warm and fuzzy inside, so it’s a win win!
A few weeks ago, my mom, dad, brother, sister in law, and their 3 year old daughter were staying at my house. They planned to go to Miami for a few days and me and my three boys were going to meet them there on Saturday (so not to miss school). My brother and his wife are young parents, both working and she is going to school. I remember what that was like, so I offered to keep my neice for the two nights they would be in Miami before my troop would be meeting them. It took some convincing, but they accepted.
I enjoyed the time with my neice. And when I saw my sister in law, she looked so relaxed – she had actually gotten to sit back and enjoy her vacation without having to take care of anyone (isn’t that what vacation is supposed to be?)
As moms, I think we all know what it’s like – when you vacation with your kids, it’s not really vacation as we’re still working! It’s nice to really get away and I was happy to give that to her (and I got some quality girl time too! – since I normally have all boys around).
This book sounds amazing! I baked cookies yesterday and took them with me to every meeting I had (I am a chaplain at a university). Met with a director, then students, then staff – whoever I met with that day I pulled out my bag of cookies – people melted! They loved that I went the extra mile and brought happiness in the form of a double chocolate chip cookie!
I helped someone out with a technical problem on their blog by pointing them in the right direction.
Also, this past weekend I went & spoke at a conference in Chicago about soem new features coming up in WordPress & how to use them. It was entirely at my own expense, so yeah – that made a few people happy. 😀