Happy at Any Cost: The Revolutionary Vision and Fatal Quest of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh
From award-winning Wall Street Journal reporters, “a startling portrait of one of our greatest tech visionaries, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh” (Robert Kolker, author of Hidden Valley Road), reporting on his short life, untimely death, and what that means for our pursuit of happiness.
Tony Hsieh—CEO of Zappos, Las Vegas developer, and beloved entrepreneur—was famous for spreading happiness. He lived and breathed this philosophy, instilling an ethos of joy at his company, outlining his vision for a better workplace in his New York Times bestseller Delivering Happiness. He promoted a workplace where bosses treated employees like family members, where stress was replaced by playfulness, and where hierarchies were replaced with equality and collaboration. His outlook shaped how we work today.
Hsieh also aspired to build his own utopian cities, pouring millions of dollars into real estate and small businesses, first in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada—where Zappos is headquartered—and then in Park City, Utah. He gave generously to his employees and close friends, including throwing notorious Zappos parities and organizing gatherings at his home, an Airstream trailer park.
When Hsieh died suddenly in late 2022, the news shook the business and tech world. Wall Street Journal reporters Kirsten Grind and Katherine Sayre discovered Hsieh’s obsession with happiness masked his darker struggles with addiction, mental health, and loneliness. In the last year of his life, he spiraled out of control, cycling out of rehab and into the waiting arms of friends who enabled his worst behavior, even as he bankrolled them from his billion-dollar fortune.
Happy at Any Cost sheds light on one of our most creative, yet vulnerable, business leaders. It’s about our intense need to find “happiness” at all costs, our misguided worship of entrepreneurs, the stigmas still surrounding mental health, and how the trappings of fame can mask all types of deeper problems. In turn, it reveals how we conceptualize success—and define happiness—in our modern age.