There is something compelling about the Tony Hsieh's style. Maybe it is the light tone, or the quick pace. Maybe it's the effortless way in which he gets things done. Maybe it's that we can relate to times where we worked with focus and purpose towards a big goal and found that time flew by or had a beverage with some friends and found the conversation inspiring. Maybe it is the magnitude of his accomplishments, or maybe the humanness of his humor. Whatever it is, the compelling nature of this book, now considered "old" (published in 2010), draws you to read on. I found myself laughing, nodding, and crying. Imagine a business book that brought tears to your eyes. (I did not see that coming.)
What do you expect from a book like this? A road map, a how to, a life's lesson? This book contains it all. The key to this book however is just the words but the implied actions. Zappo's is a leader in corporate culture, claiming title to one of the top 100 places to work in America. Now owned by Amazon (and purchased for $1.2 Billion USD in 2009), Zappo's continues to carve out a reputation for doing things differently, building their people by being authentic, and focusing on 10 core values. It is easy to copy down the core values, and it might even be easy to come up with your own, but the essence of success lies not in what the values are but rather how true everyone in the company is to them.
There are many amazing elements to the Zapppo's evolution and culture that hit home. Lead from the bottom up, ask for input from everyone, have fun, celebrate being a little weird, find your higher purpose, be transparent, take risks, share your vision, have a common goal, the list goes on. It's a good list. But the story that brought tears to my eyes was found in the passion that employees carry with them. Outside work, Zappos employees pay it forward with random acts of kindness. Not because they have to, but rather because it makes them feel good. Once you get a taste of this environment, it must be hard to settle for anything less.
Tony Hsieh and his partners are beyond traditional. They have empowered their people to create a culture that inspires generosity, contribution, continuous improvement and education. With a singular focus of putting the WOW in customer service, they changed the dynamics of online shopping. If you the least bit curious on the how, read this book. It will inspire you and change your life.