“Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” by Tony Hsieh

I have been spending more time in the library on campus recently. My school provides great resources that I believe are underused by most students, myself included. For the past few weeks, I’ve been searching for new books to read and things to research by utilizing the library.

I was standing in front of the bookshelf where all the business books are. There is something about entrepreneurship that strikes a fire in me. Reading books about making businesses and taking risks excite and inspire me. Today, I was looking through the books in the hope of maybe encountering a business idea. The amazingly friendly and knowledgeable librarian that works there noticed me standing there and assisted me. I am really glad he did.

The librarian gave me four books to read, and I finished one already today. It was Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.

For those of you that don’t know, I live in Las Vegas, the same city that Zappos is headquartered in. Tony Hsieh has done great work for the Downtown Las Vegas area with Zappos and have really revitalized the area.

The book is about his life, his business, his experiences, and the philosophies he has that guide his personal and professional life. There is a lot of relevant material in the book for achieving happiness.

Zappos is a company with a unique culture that emphasizes a family-like connection between employees and puts service first in it’s customer relations. You can really see the passion that Tony Hsieh has for the work that he does and his amount of genuine care he has for everyone.

The last section of the book takes a shift from Tony Hsieh giving his story to him giving advice on how to reach personal happiness in your own life. The whole book talks about how much service he provides to the people he works with, his customers, his friends, and it felt refreshing when he reached out to the reader because you know that he is serious about spreading happiness.

I’d recommend the book to anyone, even if they aren’t an entrepreneur. Tony Hsieh has an interesting story and he feels very real and relateable.

Have a superb day,

-Austin

We need to switch to an opt-out organ donation policy to save lives and better the public health

It is National Donate Life Month. This is an important month for advocacy and awareness about organ donation and transplantation. It makes me happy that we have a month dedicated to increasing organ donation but more needs to be done than designating a month as National Donate Life Month.

The United States is facing a public health crisis. Year after year, the demand for organ transplants rises while the organ supply remains critically low. There are currently 118,186 men, women, and children in need of a live-saving organ transplant. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 22 people die each day while waiting for a transplant. In addition, another person is added to the waiting list for an organ transplant every ten minutes. If nothing changes, the waiting list will continue to grow and Americans will continue to die in wait of an organ transplant. There is a simple and effective way to combat our crisis, however. The solution lies in switching our current organ donation registration process into a presumed-consent system instead of our current opt-in system.

Presumed-consent, or opt-out consent policies make it the default option to have an individual’s organs donated posthumously. Someone would need to explicitly state that they do not want to donate their organs if they wanted to be excluded from the organ donation registry.

Why should we switch to an opt-out system?

Opt-out policies increase the number of registered organ donors. According to a medical article published in Medicine and Health Rhode Island by Ghazi Ahmad and Sadia Iftikhar, MD, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, and Sweden have consent rates of over 85%. These countries all have opt-out consent policies. Perhaps the most stark statistic is found in the comparison between Austria and Germany, two countries that are similar culturally as well as geologically. Germany, with an opt-in policy, has a consent rate of 12%. Austria, with an opt-out policy, has a consent rate of 99.98%.

A similar study conducted by Eric J. Johnson and Daniel Goldstein, published authors in ScienceMag, countries with an opt-in system have on average 42% of their population registered as organ donors while countries with an opt-out system have an average of 82% of their population registered as organ donors. Simply put, opt-out policies increase the amount of registered organ donors.

Opt-out policies increase the number of performed organ transplants. According to a research article published in BMC Medicine by Lee Shepard, Ronan E. O’Carrol, and Eamonn Fergurson, opt-out consent policies lead to a relative increase in the total number of livers and kidneys transplanted. Even though the number of living donations was reduced in countries with an opt-out policy, the number of organs donated posthumously still led to a higher amount of organs transplanted.

Americans overwhelmingly support organ donation. According to the article published by Ahmad and Iftikhar, 85% of Americans reported that they would donate their organs. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 95% of Americans support organ donation. With numbers like these, it is a surprise that the United States only has 51% of our population registered as organ donors, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Opt-in policies compounded with a lack of education about registering as an organ donor lead to confusion and misinformation. Many Americans falsely believe myths about what it means to become an organ donor. Some believe that doctors will not put the same effort into preserving your life. The truth is that the priority of doctors is to save your life if you are sick or injured. Donation is only considered after the death of an individual. Some believe that organ donation will alter the appearance of their body and make an open-casket funeral impossible. The truth is that all organs and tissues are recovered in a surgical manner and all incisions are closed and dressed. Donation will not disfigure the body. When asked to register as an organ donor, many Americans do not understand what it means and instead opt for the default position. By changing to an opt-out system, people are more likely to choose the default position, to become an organ donor.

All major religions support organ donation. A commonly cited reason to be against an opt-out system is the religious implication, however, all major religions in the U.S. support or encourage organ, eye, and tissue donation as an act of charity. The vast majority of religions have no qualm with organ donation. Information about the positions of different religions can be found at https://www.organdonor.gov/about/donors/religion.html

Opt-out policies still allow for individual choice in the important decision to become a donor. An opt-out policy is not a binding, universal contract that forces every person to donate their organs posthumously. An opt-out policy simply changes the default position to one in which consent is presumed for posthumous organ donation, something that most Americans already agree with according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Individuals in an opt-out system have the option to unregister from the organ donor registry if they make the choice to. They simply have to make it explicitly known that they wish to not be an organ donor.

 

If you agree with all of this, please, sign my petition here.

Have a wonderful day,

-Austin

 

100 Happy Days | Day 18: Better Than Expected Grade

Hey everyone, it’s been a great day for me. I figured out that I performed a lot better on my exams than I thought that I did!

Here is a picture of my grade for an exam I thought I did very poorly on.

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I felt extremely unprepared for this exam but I ended up doing great. I need to study more in the future though because I really did not like feeling as unprepared as I felt for this.

Regardless, the outcome turned out in my favor and I am grateful for that!

Have a splendid day,

-Austin

100 Happy Days | Day 16: Done With Exams

Hello everyone, I feel like a huge weight is off of my shoulders. I have finished 3 exams today.

Today’s picture is of one of my study materials for my exam.

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I took a biology exam, a physics exam, and a political science exam. They were challenging but I think I did well on them. I am anxious to see how I performed!

Have a great day,

-Austin

100 Happy Days | Day 14: Clean Bedroom

Hey everyone, it was a nice Saturday today. I did not have any responsibilities so I used the day to clean up around the house.

Today’s picture is of my clean bedroom featuring Molly.100-happy-days-day-14-clean-room

Since I did not have anything to do today, I spent the day cleaning. I cleaned my bathroom, my bedroom, and the yard. It rained today and I was lucky that I started with the yard and finished before it started to rain!

I haven’t had an opportunity to clean up in a while so this was a nice surprise. I thought that I was going to be working but I did not get scheduled so I spent the day doing this instead! Having a clean living space helps keep my mind focused on more important things rather than the calamity that surrounds me.

I have been looking a lot at aquaponics systems recently. The engineering of it really fascinates me and I think I might want to build a miniature system of my own. If you don’t know, an aquaponics system merges the two disciplines of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (no soil gardening). I have to learn a lot more about it before I can jump in though. I have difficulty conceptualizing and building systems, so maybe this will be a challenge for me to learn from.

Tidy up this weekend if you can,

-Austin

 

100 Happy Days | Day 13: Shakespeare

Hello everyone, I had an amazing Friday and I hope that your day went as well as mine did!

Today, I was able to watch a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

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The set is super cool! This picture was taken before the play started so don’t get angry at me for having my phone on!

The actors that performed were exceptionally talented and seemed passionate in what they were doing. The Utah Shakespeare Festival visited last year here as well and I got to see a performance of Hamlet. I am always blown away at how amazing these performances are!

After I went to the play, my “We the People” class had a little celebration for being finished with our competition and being finished with the stress of preparation. We had tasty sub sandwiches and cake catered to us. I am looking forward to how we spend our time in that class now that the extremely stressful parts are out of it.

Be happy,

-Austin