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Monday, June 7, 2010

Bite and Booze Book Review @dhbook: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

I thought I would try something a little different on Bite and Booze today even though it may be a bit of a stretch to fit it with the food and beverage theme of the blog.  Doing a book review about a food, beverage, and culture book would make sense, and perhaps I’ll get to some of those in the future, but for now I’d like to share a book that I had recently had the pleasure of reading during my trip to DC and Alaska.  I received two advanced copies of the book, one for me to read, and one to give away through Bite and Booze.  Since the book's ending theme is about happiness, and since enjoying bites and boozes with my friends makes me happy, I felt like the book still has relevance here.

Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, paints a vivid landscape of his company, Zappos.com, though excellent storytelling about his personal and professional lives.  Though the language can get a little repetitive at times, Tony keeps the reader interested in the story and constantly wondering what happens next in his entrepreneurial journey.

From his childhood, through college, to his professional career with Oracle, LinkExchange, Venture Frogs, and eventually Zappos, Tony tells the story behind his hard work and fortuitous luck that allowed him to be a huge success in the Internet revolution.

As a food and drink blogger, I really enjoyed Tony’s open and candid thoughts about the link between dinner, cocktails, and business.  He notes that most of the great ideas that have come from him, his friends, or his colleagues were conceived and orchestrated over adult beverages.  Tony tells how he and his partners celebrate successes with shots of Grey Goose, even if they have to take them via conference call from different corners of the world.

Tony also succeeds and tying his business to the science of happiness.  The subject of happiness is something that I am passionate about and a big reason why I reached out to get an advanced copy of the book.  For as long as I can remember, my answer to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” has always been “Happy!”  Then, if people clarify that they meant to ask about my preferred occupation, I respond that I don’t have a clue, but I’ll be fine as long as I’m happy!

Happiness for businesses and people are virtually the same.  Both contain passion and purpose as key ingredients.  While individuals also seek pleasure to make them happy, the third component for a business is profits.  Tony's success in Zappos came in large part to creating a unique company culture the kept him, his employees, investors, partners, and vendors both passionate about their mission and purposefully working to accomplish their goals.  The profits then followed.

One thing that Tony admits made him happy as a child was pickles.  This may be the single setback that Tony and I would have if we were to meet for dinner and drinks.  If you aren’t aware from previous readings on Bite and Booze, I despise pickles.  I’m not sure what it is.  I like cucumbers.  I like vinegar.  I just don’t generally like anything that has been pickled.  Oh well, I guess happiness comes in different forms for different people, especially when it comes to happiness through food and drink!

If you’d like to win a free copy of Delivering Happiness, please leave a comment on this blog post telling me your thoughts about happiness.  Make sure you leave a twitter handle or contact email so that I can contact the winner!  In addition, since the book launched today, you can go to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy!  Just follow the link below and you'll be all set!



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