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Sunday, July 2, 2017

(58)Kingdom of Happiness by Aimee Groth

My boss has been a huge advocate of Tony Hsieh and Zappos ever since he read the book Delivering Happiness.  As a team we try to read a book every quarter and discuss what we read, this quarter my boss decided that he wanted us all to The Kingdom of Happiness, thinking it would be about Tony and the inner workings of his team and their  "tribe."  -- Well it was, but not in the way that any of us expected. And to be fair, it was me that brought the book to his attention.

Aimee Groth's first encounter with Tony Hsieh, founder, and leader of Zappos is at the desert rave, Burning Man.  The author is completely enamored with Tony when she first meets him and his - pick your favorite word here - tribe, posse, pack, gang, disciples.  Any of those words would be appropriate.  Like many others, she is quickly charmed and inspired by the leader and his quest to change the world and create almost a Utopia-like society in downtown Las Vegas.   She gives up her life on the East Coast and moves to Las Vegas in her quest for happiness. She starts out couch-surfing then finds her way to the former hotel turned commune-like complex.

What she finds is definitely a work hard, play (or drink) harder culture. She becomes part of Tony's pack and even travels with him.  She gets insight from all sorts of people in his inner-circle and comes to realize that his enigmatic personality instills a loyalty that not many people can command.  The insight the author gains from interviews and first-hand observations leave the reader wondering how Zappos could still be so successful - and then you realize that sales have dropped and his innovative attempt at a Holocracy structure is hemorrhaging both employees and sales.  Not to mention the frightening number of suicides in Tony's world.  One thing is clear - happiness is not as easy to achieve as Tony Hsieh wants everybody to believe.

Bottom-line - The Kingdom of Happiness is an absolutely riveting look at the inner workings of Tony Hsieh's world.  I always love a good "behind the scenes" kind of book and Aimee Groth is shockingly honest in what she found when she became a part of The Kingdom of Happiness.

  • The Kingdom of Happiness by Aimee Groth
  • On Quartz
  • Page: 336
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication Date:2/21/2017
  • Buy it Here!