A couple of years ago, my husband I visited Zappos in Las Vegas–spurred on by my reading of the book by their CEO, Tony Hsieh, “Delivering Happiness:  A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” (2010). The tour was a blast and, as we talked with the employees and viewed the work space (a redo of the city’s former city hall), it was clear to me that the hype of the book was being practiced in the workplace and in the business’ community commitments.

The book describes the corporate and personal philosophy of the founder and illuminates ways the corporation works to foster happiness and well-being among its employees and customers.  The philosophy is defined as “WOW’ and includes these tenets: Embrace and Drive Change, Create Fun & A Little Weirdness, Be Adventurous, Creative, & Open-Minded.  The author encourages readers to apply these elements (and the other seven–read the book and you’ll learn more) to their personal life.

Happiness is really just about four things: perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness (number and depth of your relationships), and vision/meaning (being part of something bigger than yourself).Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

The last chapter, “The End Game” focuses on the science of happiness and how to apply that science to daily living.  Acknowledging three types of happiness, pleasure, passion, and higher purpose, the author connects those types to the three elements for great long-term businesses and companies: profits, passion, purpose.  I would add that those three elements apply to building a better community, city, even a neighborhood.

So, even if you are doubtful about happiness as a science, this book can hook you by making the case that happiness in how a person lives is compatible with (not contrary to) working in or leading a successful business (and community, city, neighborhood).

When you look for the book, first consider buying it through a brick and mortar bookstore, or, at least, from a bookstore’s online service.  Yes, I know it’s cheaper from you-know-where, but, at least from this author’s perspective, “buying local” keeps the practice of doing happy today in the realm of walking our talk.

Anita Fonte, PhD, is currently the sole proprietor and principal for Community Renaissance, with 26+ years in community development, deliberative dialogue and community-based issues education. A current board member of the Tucson Women’s Chorus, she also loves to develop collaborative partnerships with private and public organizations that incorporate principles of compassion, equity and community benefits into their mission and practices.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *