During the month of December 2010, I was stoked to run the Rock ‘n Roll Las Vegas Marathon.  Well, it was supposed to be a half-marathon… but at the last minute I decided to go for it.  Pretty gutsy, but I’m glad I did it.

Zappos was the sponsor of the marathon and they were handing out free copies of Tony Hseih’s book, Delivering Happiness.  While Tony does not claim to be a writer by trade, his personal style and stories really took me by surprise.

I’d seen Tony speak on the “Delivering Happiness” tour and previously bought a copy of his book.  However, due to lack of time (and probably motivation) I hadn’t started reading it.

On the plane ride back from Las Vegas, after I left my other book in the seat pocket of a different place, I figured I’d skim through the free copy of Delivering Happiness that I’d picked up at the race.

While the book is full of insightful learning moments from Tony, his friends, employees, etc, it’s also bundled with life lessons that have the potential to positively impact your life.

1. You can’t get anywhere by yourself.  Throughout the course of the book, Tony talks about the power of relationships and how he’s achieved his level of success by partnering with other people who are as talented and driven as he is (or more!).  This is even true of the marathon completion – without having training partners, encouraging family members, and resources for coaching advice, nutrition, and hydration, finishing that race might as well been on my bucket list forever.

2. Dig into your childhood and revisit what made you come alive. Tony reminisces about some of the things he used to do in his childhood.  These included selling greeting cards to earn prizes and creating “free stuff” for kids.  It is apparent that he loves to create and build things which is fitting with his level of happiness because he has been building and creating in his role with Zappos over the last 10 years.

3. Overnight successes are a fantasy.  Despite becoming famous through Zappos in the last couple of years, Tony has spent the majority of his life building multi-million dollar companies and helping others with their multi-million dollar companies.   He didn’t just become an amazon phenom in a matter of a couple of months.  Or even a few years.  It took time and effort — blood, sweat and tears.  And a good amount of calculated risk.

Despite a few rough areas here and there, this book gave me a lot to think about.  Tony has focused his life on what he does best.

Do you work in a role that allows you to focus on what you do best?  How are you delivering happiness to those around you?