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The first quarter of the book about Tony Hsieh's childhood and the lessons he learned feels a bit forced (my button business taught me the lesson of ______). But, my doubts were quickly dispelled with the story of Zappos. I loved how Tony focused on one thing, the best customer service, and did it really well. To have the best customer service, they focused on company culture through a system of hiring (it's easier to hire people who fit the culture than try to change people) and through employee advancement opportunities through their "pipeline," giving employees perceived control of their careers. I can't think of any other large company that has been able to sustain a culture (Starbucks had a unique culture, but in recent years they've become too big to sustain it). Tony says that the Zappos company culture is their one sustainable competitive advantage. Will company culture work for your company? It's hard to say, but there probably is one thing that your company could do better than any other company...and it is probably worthwhile to develop that.
The argument was made about Tony "getting lucky." I have to agree, but I'd add that any business success is 80% luck and 20% planning, tenacity, insight, and work ethic. The 20% is critical to making success, but it's not sufficient. Even the most brilliant people will fail more often than they succeed, but you don't often see the entire journey of failures before success. You could use the "luck" argument for any success (Thomas Edison just got lucky, after all, he was wrong 999 times before he was right).
I thought that Tony did an excellent job of narrating his book. This isn't the case with many authors turned narrators (i.e. Beer School), but with several authors like Malcom Gladwell and Bill Bryson, hearing the book in the author's voice puts you into the story better than with a professional narrator. I'd put Tony's narration squarely in this category.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful
This is an amazing story, and one that inspires you to move forward with your passion. Success, as everybody knows it when it already hits the media, portrays the glory but not the story. Entrepreneurship is like surfing, you have to ride out the waves, you never know when you hit a great one.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
I had high hope for this book after reading the other reviews but I have to say having just read the Steve Jobs autobiography this is woeful in comparison. The book is padded out with detail that neither has relevence or any entertainment value.
eg. I made a cup of tea for Dave, I took a cup and put boiling water in it and then I added a tea bag. Dave waited a while for the liquid to cool and raised it to his lips. He then started drinking the liquid.
Yes Tony we understand how a cup of tea is made.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book written by Tony Hsieh or narrated by Tony Hsieh?
What was most disappointing about Tony Hsieh’s story?
How did the narrator detract from the book?
It sounded like he was reading straight from the book.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Any additional comments?
The book was very repetitive. Didn't contain any insights. It was generally annoying to listen to.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about this story?
It was equally thought provoking and informative.
What does Tony Hsieh bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
I really enjoyed the authenticity of this story.
Any additional comments?
Well worth reading and in my case a must read that I would highly recommend.
This book is more a testament to Tony Hsieh's ability to raise finance rather than strategic planning and business skill. Very few usable lessons or comments throughout the book. He talks extensively about the family culture but is prepared to fire staff wantonly. Not impressed.