Book Review – Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose


When first told about Delivering Happiness I thought it was going to be one of those business books which talks about what you need to do to make your customer’s think they’re happy.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Delivering Happiness is an autobiography about Tony Hsieh and his business ventures.  This book was very enjoyable, with Tony picking apart his triumphs and failures, and ultimately building Zappos and the internal struggles he faced with that company.

This book I would recommend if someone is in for some good light reading.  There are a few good business points in it, such as don’t outsource your business’ core competency and don’t neglect managing your company’s culture, but for the most part its a good story.

From a community style business perspective, I personally found his description of his investors and share holders at the company’s a good cautionary tail.  Having a directing class in a company may create misalignment with the company’s goals (the grand ones put forth as vision statements) and its workers goals.  In this book Tony has one business which he lets go of, through the sale of the business, and one business which he finds a solution to this problem (Zappos).  With Zappos, Tony finds Amazon, who is interested in what the company is doing without wanting to change the company or its culture and absorb it.


Book Review – The Lean Startup


This was a great book for anyone to read. Wether you’re part of a startup or not, this book will outline an approach which will focus you on gaining real ground on your area of expertise in the 21st century. The way I interpreted the book there were four main concepts: How to understand and adapt to your customer base, the validated learning model, small batch vs. large batch philosophies, and systematic issue management. The majority of the book focused on getting you to buy into the first two concepts, which tend to be the largest delta from how things tend to get done in business.

How to understand and adapt to your customer base

This concept is the initial point of emphasis, at least for me, where the book discusses how to understand customer feedback. It really boils down to the customer’s feedback, while valuable, is a fairly small datapoint in how decisions should be made. Customer feedback where there is no buy in, purchase for products or sign up for free services, is useless, as the customer sees it as a philosophical choice, not a real world decision for themselves.

Recommendations in this book discuss how to get real feedback, and how to do just enough work to validate a business direction before committing to it. During this process, this book also discusses how to identify when you should pivot your product or service.

The validated learning model

This part is blended with the previous, but I wanted to break it out specifically as it can be used independently from the previous, and at any level inside any business. This topic in the book focuses on how to break down an idea into theories which can be proven before committing time and effort in a fully flushed out production effort. It can be applied to your business concept, feature, product idea, management systems, etc.

Small batch vs. large batch philosophies

This section focuses on how to construct a product or service. It discusses how the large batch approach tends to seem more efficient, but actually decreases the effectiveness of the organization as a whole, especially when it comes to adapting to customer needs.

Systematic issue management

One of the most interesting things I found in this book was the issue management system they describe. It starts off with outlining a system to identify root causes to the problems in the organization as a machine, but it also dives into methods he had implemented to identify issues, reduce effort, and increase productivity.

I’ll admit, generally speaking, I do like to fix the fundamental issues, and live through the pain for the short term.


In conclusion, I’d recommend this book to anyone in any industry. It will geer you up to identify how to be more productive on those things that are actually important.

Check it out on amazon