Tony Hsieh Completes His Service on Earth

Tony Hsieh standing on rooftop in black and white with his quote "The Best Leaders are Servant Leaders", his name and the years 1973 to 2020

Tony Hsieh, an outstanding example of servant-leadership, the former CEO of Zappos and founder of LinkExchange, passed away Friday November 27th, 2020. He succumbed to injuries suffered during a house fire on November 18th, while visiting family for Thanksgiving.

Tony Hsieh & Servant-Leadership

Hsieh wrote the book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, which remains one of the best contemporary cases for servant-leadership in business. His employees and customers were passionate advocates for the cultures he built.

Zappos had such high demand for tours of their workplace and studies of the culture Hsieh built, that they established an entire division focused exclusively on meetings those needs. I participated in a tour shortly before they were purchased by Amazon. While on the tour I was fortunate enough to meet Tony. He could be easily overlooked, as his workspace was in a row workspaces, nondescript from any other. Were I not a fan of his leadership development advocacy, I also would have missed him.

Tony was an amazing leader, a great business professional, a passionate advocate of servant-leadership principles, and a wonderful human being. He will be sorely missed.

As a tribute to all Tony did to inspire and motivate us, consider sharing a quote from him, or implementing more servant-leadership in your own organization. Some of our favorite Tony Hsieh quotes, include:

“…the best leaders are servant leaders – they serve those they lead.”

“For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny.”

“The brand is just a lagging indicator of a company’s culture.”

“Ask yourself: would you be comfortable printing everything your employees, customers & partners have to say about your culture?”

“I made a list of the happiest periods of my life & I realized that none of them involve money.”

“I had decided to stop chasing the money & start chasing the passion.”

Farewell, Tony. We thank you for your service.


Picture of Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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