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Best Business Books: The Zappos Story


I like to listen to books that might help me improve some aspect of my life. Whether it’s my writing, the marketing of my books, juicing or how to be more organized, I like continuing to learn.

If you’re looking for a book on how to start your own business, then my most recent read – by audiobook – Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh is for you. This is the Zappos story.

I love Zappos as a company and have been so impressed by their delivery, the selection of shoes on their site. I came to this book as an admirer of the business and completely convinced of their celebrity status in the world of internet business.

It was a little surprising then to see the company’s very humble beginnings and how it had started the way any idea starts. By regular people with doubts and uncertainties and a whole lot of hope.

One of the best business books I’ve read, this has a ton of life lesson takeaways. The thing that struck me most is how easy it is to assume that the guys who make it big got super lucky with a great idea and great timing.

Tony Hsieh reveals the story of how Zappos came to be in a way that makes it clear it takes so much more than that.

The main ingredient needed? The ability to problem solve. Time after time after time. After that is relentless determination. So that if the first solution to the current problem doesn’t work, you come up with solution number two. And then three. And so on. Until one is found that solves the problem. Then you wait for the next hurdle to arise, and tackle that one with the same resolve to beat it back down.

The world is full of naysayers. Ready to shoot your idea down almost before it’s out of your mouth. My time in dog rescue taught me a lot about naysayers. Here are a few of the regular responses to my belief that pets should not be killed because someone has decided they don’t want them anymore.

“Local pounds cannot be no kill.”

“There are just too many to save.”

“Nobody wants to adopt an old dog.”

“Only shelters with lots of money can find places for them to go.”

Zappos had plenty as well.

“No one will ever buy shoes that they can’t try on.”

“Vendors won’t sell to you because you don’t have a physical retail store.”

To grow a dream, you have to tune out the naysayers.

Zappos didn’t get waved into existence with a magic wand. The main players in the company hammered it into existence, one nail, one board at a time.

Dog rescue has taught me how to problem solve. And after listening to the Zappos story, I realize that’s a pretty handy tool to have in your toolbox.

Problems don’t mean your idea won’t work. It just means you keep after it until you find a solution. Even when others tell you there isn’t one.



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