Monday, June 7, 2010

They say money can't buy you happiness...

But can happiness help make you money?

I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of "Delivery Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose" by Tony Hsieh. You may not know that name but you DEFINITELY know his site. Sure, they sell shoes (and make MAD MONEY) but they are also ranked as one of the Best Companies to Work For each year by Forbes and have an incredibly unique and well-defined "company culture" as Tony describes it.

If I had to define myself as one "thing" at this point in my life, I'd say I was a business woman. I am not a Carrie or a Charlotte. I'm probably a cross between a Miranda & a Samantha (with a little more soul and a lot less money). That being said, I have never taken an economics class, a finance class, a business class nor do I know a damn thing about the stock market. When I was first given the book by a client I figured I would start it...hate it...leave it in the lobby of my building for some nerdy finance/tech guy to take.

After just a few pages however, it was clear that this was not your typical "do what I do and get rich" book. He describes his entrepeneurial childhood selling buttons and "magic tricks". When I was a little girl, I used to take random potions from my mom's bathroom and pour them into Dixie Cups. I would then go door to door and sell it as "perfume". I actually used to do this more at my friend Emily's house bc she lived in the rich neighborhood and I was more likely to get $5's or even $20's then quarters for my little cups of junk. At age 5 I was already a saleswoman AND knew my target demographic :).

Tony goes into detail describing his life and the growth of his companies, first LinkExhange which he sold to Microsoft for $265 million when he was TWENTY THREE YEARS OLD (holy shit) and then of course Zappos. What makes this different than a typical "business book" is that it is mostly devoid of facts and figures. He literally pours his heart and soul into his company and his employees and by extension, this book.

By the end of the book, he stops telling his story and brings up my FAVORITE subject- Positive Psychology. He applies this to his business and his employees: Make customers happy and they will come back. Make employees happy and they will work hard! Make YOURSELF happy and you will never work a day in your life...Sure, we've all heard this before but for some reason not too many people believe it. I've always believed the reason why I've had any success at all is because I enjoy making people happy and in turn they like me. It's such an easy thing to appreciative, listen, help, don't give tude, etc. That's basically my "business strategy". Sure plenty of people get to the top by lying/cheating/stealing/stepping over their colleagues/ruthlessness, but Tony shows you just how unnecessary all that nastiness is. Hopefully people like Bernie Madoff and Ken Starr will serve as examples of how NOT to get rich and Tony Hsieh will be the new paradigm of success.

Oh and hopefully my own "happiness" will net me a couple million or billion sometime soon...

P.S. PLEASE read this book if you are at all entrepeneurial.

p.p.s. I have a plus one for the release party for the book tonight...anyone want to go with me? I've been promised a personal intro to the author :)