Read: Cover to Cover, but skipped a lot
Category: Best Seller, Entrepreneurial, Branding
If you never heard about the Zappo’s story, push very hard on the bottom of the rock you’re under, and step into the sunlight. Having purchased two of my very favorite pairs of shoes from Zappos, getting FREE upgraded next day shipping for five pairs of shoes that I ordered, returning three pairs that I didn’t want for free, was, well… amazing. So, having directly interacted with this company, my interest was in ‘how the heck did they figure this out?’ Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay) tells his story. The problem I had, was that he started at the beginning. Not at the beginning of his career, but I’m not kidding, when he was a very small kid. The start of the book was like listening to a speaker start off with, “It all started 60 years ago in a small cottonwood plantation…” and you know you’re in for some lengthy self-indulgent crap. I didn’t care that he had a failed worm farm or he had a failed advertising scheme or that he sold buttons all before the age of 10. Really. I don’t. Tick-tock. So the book got off to a rocky start for me. It didn’t get any better when he found himself a little lost (after selling his first company, LinkExchange to Microsoft for a cool $265 million – I should have such problems). Gambling, partying, Red Bull – he talks about all the woes of a a poor little young rich kid, buying up loft space. Again. Move the story along. Finally we get to Zappos. Now that’s an interesting story worth reading. Real struggles – not the “I started it, some big VC funded it, I worked my magic and then sold it to Amazon for 1.2 billion,” although he did sell for 1.2B – he was part of a team effort, he did have to sell that loft (don’t cry for me Argentina), had a bit of luck, made some tough decisions, and eventually made good. He shares some excellent insight into creating something that is meaningful, and doing it not for the money. The end of the book is a self help monologue on “Happiness” because, I think at the end of the day, he is a learner, a reader, and that’s how he is wired. Right now, he is into learning the science of happiness and wants to share it with a reader.
He claims he didn’t have a ghost writer help him with this book, but maybe for the next one, he should.
Since I read at all these books from the “how can it help independents” viewpoint, I have to say, there are lessons for entrepreneurs starting a new project, corporations and bigger businesses with many employees, but the “finish” ( the final taste impression of a wine or beer), is that if you’ve got only enough time to read one book to help you in your business right now, wait for the Cliff Notes version to come out.