Delivering Happiness – Book Notes

Delivering Happiness is largely a series of stories from Hsiegh’s experience.

Happiness is both an art and a science, and the science part can be learned

Tony Hsieh

What are your Goals in Life

Ask yourself Why?

Dig a little deeper and ask Why again?

Happiness Right?

Example 1. Grow a Company – Retire Early – Spend time with Family – Why? Happiness

Example 2. Get a Great Job – Make Money – Buy a Home – Why? Happiness

Example 3. Find a Girlfriend/Boyfriend – Find a Soulmate – Get Married – Why? Happiness

Example 4. Be Healthy – Run Faster – Run a Marathon – Why? Happiness

  • At the end of the day the goal of everyone is to be Happy.


  • Money isn’t the source of happiness. But having a larger amount of money makes it much easier and likely to actually work on things you are passionate about. This can make you happy, too
  • Money and achievement to prove something to others are both tempting distractions from pursuing more fulfilling activities


  • Friends are vital to creating a successful business and living a successful life.
  • Including others in your success makes your success and happiness that much greater and more rewarding

Company Culture/Values

  • Good culture is critical for organizational success because it creates a company’s brand.
  • Culture is not an immediate byproduct of the people working at a company but rather the product of conscious work and effort
  • Zappos’ success is a clear illustration of the importance of not only strictly adhering to core values but also having them be complementary to each other.

Don’t follow the Norm

  • Treating vendors well pays off in the long run.
  • Sometimes you have to believe in yourself and your passion, and take a leap of faith, even when no one else does
  • Businesses built on loyalty usually end up driving greater penetration than focusing on penetration alone
  • Choosing where to play is the most important decision in business.
  • Many of the services Tony was religious about at Zappos (e.g. free shipping, upgraded overnight service, culture book, customer service) were expensive and had hard-to-quantify ROI’s , yet ultimately drove long-term success for the company.

Happiness framework 1

  1. Perceived Control
  2. Perceived Progress
  3. Connectedness
  4. Vision/Meaning

Happiness Framework 2

Customers: Meet expectations – Meets Desire – Meets unrecognized needs

Employee: Money – Recognition – Meaning

Investors: Transaction – Alignment Relationship – Alignment Legacy

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs

Happiness Framework 3

Three types of happiness:

Pleasure: Shortest lasting.
Chasing the high, Rockstar Lifestyle.

Passion: Medium lasting.
Flow, Engagement.

Higher Purpose: Longest lasting.
Being part of something bigger than yourself.

  • Higher purpose matters a lot more than immediate pleasure.
  • Happiness isn’t always immediate
  • Happiness is not driven by achieving a goal. It’s driven by figuring out what circumstances make you happy and then creating those circumstances.
  • That which makes us happy is always evolving and requires constant attention
  • Happiness comes from experiences and perspective, not from things
  • The risk/reward payoff in pursuing happiness is better than one thinks