Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Author: Tony Hsieh
Review by: Graham White
Uncertainty is all around us, never more so than today. Whether it directly concerns the global pandemic, or the multitude of issues woven through the effects of the virus like a golden thread touching our economy, our finances, our job, our health and even our relationships, it all plays a part in the undeniable discomfort and anxiety we are facing daily. Whilst we might want to think the new norm includes coping with uncertainty the reality is that we as human beings crave certainty more than any other feeling or emotion. Our desire to have a keen sense of control over all aspects of our lives supersedes many of the other expectations great thinkers like Mazlow have attempted to map out for us as members of humanity.
However, we can’t simply badge all of us under this one umbrella assuming there is a simple definition and solution that when applied delivers a magic bullet that addresses uncertainty in a unilateral manner. We are all different in so many ways as we are different in how much uncertainty we can each take before we fall over. Having worked in a wide range of organisations I have interrelated with so many different people, some seem to enjoy a degree of risk taking and living with unpredictability in their lives whilst other lived in a distressing quandary if there was even a minute amount of randomness about their existence. However, during this period of pandemic confusion each of us has struggled to survive never mind be authentic, credible, and happy.
So, you can quickly appreciate my own huge, anticipated joy in this period of stress and anxiety, when I discovered a truly amazing publication that claimed within the first few pages that it would show me how to get back to the core of who I was whilst also assuring me it would provide directions that delivered for me a purpose driven life. As I fumbled with indecent haste to turn these pages, I found a publication that made no unfounded claims nor unsupported promises but rather, a piece of remarkable writing that is already gathering momentum as it draws from a wealth of current research and practice presenting to its readers a life changing guide in a manner that blends an inspiring read with a bold challenge. Within the first few chapters you find yourself embarrassed by your previous leadership initiatives whilst also thrilled by the potential for a new way of sharing purpose, growth, and success. I wanted to be the first to say this book never pulled its punches, but I can’t because they have already reminded me in the first ten minutes of reading that Mike Tyson once said, “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
Just like a punch in the mouth life is remaining unstable for the foreseeable future, so it is not only refreshing to read a genuine post pandemic publication riddled with experiential learning. it is a crucial need for individuals, leaders and organisations who are seeking a new way forward that delivers a road map in support of self and organisational wellbeing as the Covid Reset Button is finally pressed. As we are all reviewing our own and our organisations efforts during the virus and reliving the good and bad decisions made along the way this book has landed in our laps like manna from heaven. Whilst so many are worrying about future office space, more intricate communication systems and how to protect themselves from being replaced by Wall-E or some other unthinking gadget this book takes us on a journey that is using the reset button to accept no assumptions or logical given’s but rather simply says looking at all of the evidence, experience and fall out from the past it presents a realisation that the way to future proof yourself, your family and your organisation is to focus on people.
This book, whilst a blinding flash of the obvious has arrived at a crucial time as we sit lost in the melee of empty offices, unanswered telephones and a level of unhappiness never before imagined. However, despite us wanting to see its content as logical and straightforward it also stops us in our tracks as it revisits what personal authenticity really means. Whether it is the example of the “director of first impressions” which took only a quarter of a page to read yet left me gobsmacked for the next 15 minutes or the world stopping moment as I read of an organisational quality defined as vulnerability as one team member in an organisation describes working there was like living in a “world of no”. These two defining examples are just a snippet of the treasure house of content and data held within this publication. Jenn Lim, the author has a special name for it, she calls it ROI which stands for “ripple of Impact.”
The structure of the book is pleasantly logical as it takes us on a journey that has a very exciting and unexpected conclusion. It is not my preferred model of book reviewing to reveal the secrets held within any publication and especially not to reveal how the knowledge experience and learning shared in a book concludes. However, I can assure readers that the logical journey from “me to we” and from “we to society” will cause you to rethink what you base many of your current assumptions on. I would also advise readers not to jump to the end too quickly. As tempted as I was to discover and explore the greenhouses that you are temptingly yet only vaguely introduced to all the way through it is worth leaving it to the end to allow the book to have a truly impactful concluding purpose for you.
On a practical point this book goes beyond informing and inspiring as it comes equipped with a range of stunningly attention-grabbing diagrams and a myriad of deeply revealing exercises and activities spread throughout the book each providing opportunities for the reader to initially practice on themselves before ultimately using the analysis on everything from their own lives, families, social groups, work teams and even their whole organisations.
In recommending this book I have no hesitation in signing up to the “science of happiness.” I am more than convinced that the world of work has already moved beyond the need for a good “work-life balance” but it took this book as it unfolded to help me see that the need for greater fulfilment both in the workplace and in our lives is as the author describes it when she said we all need “work-life integration” And it doesn’t stop there, the book is inspirational in stimulating a sense of progress, control, and connectivity as it embeds an inherent desire for the reader to build happiness in their lives on a daily basis. However, the desire to be the best self, doing the best work in the best environment isn’t the end of it, the book goes on to empower the reader to evangelise happiness spreading joy and fulfilment to others in business and beyond.
In these two hundred- and seventy-four-pages Jenn Lim demonstrates the profound impact happiness can have on businesses’ ability to thrive in an ever changing, uncertain and volatile world and what steps we all as individuals can take to increase happiness, both at work and at home. I leave the final words to Jenn herself who when considering which superpower, she would like she sums up her desire for universal happiness when she said she wanted, “the ability to sit down with everyone in the world until they know I see the light in them.”