Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh Notes & Summary

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh | Grand Central Publishing

Link (Amazon)

Tells the story of Zappos, the story of Tony, the story of happiness. Brilliant, witty, and charming writing. I bought it for three people and recommended it far and wide. Must-read. Although the basis is entrepreneurship, you can take the information here and apply it to whatever endeavor you are pursuing. These notes will not do justice to the brilliance of the book. I implore you to check it out yourself. Favorite read in 2019.

  • Many similarities between poker and business. Here are some:
    • The game starts before you even sit down. (Table selection is everything.)
    • It’s okay to switch tables if you discover it’s too hard to win at your table.
    • The players with the most stamina and focus usually win.
    • Educate yourself and learn by doing.
    • The one who makes the most money isn’t the one who tries to play and win as many hands as possible.
    • You gotta love the game. To become really good, you have to live it and sleep it.
    • Have fun. The game is a lot more enjoyable when you’re trying to do more than just make money.
  • If you’re investing, ask yourself why? What is your goal? Tony stepped away from daytrading and investing because he felt he wasn’t building anything.
  • Value of a tribe was everything to Tony. His happiness is/was centered on relationships and how connected he was.
  • When Tony went to his first rave, he was swept with an overwhelming sense of spirituality – a deep connection with everyone who was at the rave as well as everyone in the rest of the universe.
    • “It was as if the existence of individual consciousness had disappeared and been replaced by a single unifying group consciousness, the same way a flock of birds might seem like a single entity instead of a collection of individual birds.”
    • Raves were about “Peace, Love, Unity Respect.” Normal to strike up conversation with others. Represents a philosophy of being open to meeting people no matter how they looked or their background. We are all human at the core, and it can be easy to overlook that in a world ruled by business, politics, and social status
  • There’s something interesting about everyone, you just have to figure out what it is.
  • “Envision, create, and believe in your own universe, and the universe will form around you.”
  • “You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.” –John Kabat-Zinn
  • Scary times in business can be good. The need to survive and figure things out had an unanticipated consequence… it brought everyone together.
  • Fire sold all of his assets for Zappos.
  • Even if Zappos failed, he was okay, because he knew he had done everything in his power to chase a dream he believed in.
  • Success is not immediate. But with passion and determination to make a plan work, you can make incredible results. You are in total control of your future and your life.
  • No matter what happens, always be respectful. Carry yourself with a quiet confidence, because no matter what happens in the long run, our character will speak for itself.
  • It doesn’t matter what your core values are. What matters is that you have them and commit to them. They become the default way of thinking. (Here are the core values for
  • If you make sure all of your products and services continually wow people, eventually the press will find out about it. You don’t need to put a lot of effort into reaching out to the press if your company naturally creates interesting stories as a by-product of delivering a great experience.
  • On public speaking: this was not something Tony was good at initially, but like anything else, he realized with practice, he would improve. He typically always wrote down his speech but soon realized nobody would ever know if he skipped a sentence or an entire section.
  • How to tell a speech (aka why Gary V is so good at public speaking): 1. Be passionate. 2. Tell personal stories. 3. Be real.
  • For most people, achieving your goal – whether it’s making more money, getting married, or running faster – does not actually bring them sustained happiness. And yet, many people pursue what they think will bring them happiness.
  • Happiness is about 4 things: perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness, and vision/meaning.
  • Guiding principle of Tony’s life: What would happen if everyone in the world acted in the same way? What would the world look like? What would be the net effect be on the overall happiness in the world?

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