Happy at Any Cost: The Revolutionary Vision and Fatal Quest of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

S. & S. Mar. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781982186982. $27.99. BUS
Grind and Sayre’s book about Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh (who died in 2020) explores his contributions to Las Vegas, as well as his personal struggles, by means of a comparison to the investor Howard Hughes, who arrived in Vegas in 1966 and never left the top floor of the Desert Inn; by 1970, Hughes was Nevada’s largest private employer and largest owner of casinos, but his storied reclusiveness was an odd note in the life of a man known for parties. Grind and Sayre argue that the legacy of Hsieh’s Zappos tenure was a management style famously focused on whimsy, fun, and kindness, even as the ghost of Hughes hung over Hsieh’s private life and mental illness. Hsieh’s pre-Zappos tech career is covered early on, but the book largely focuses on the last two years of his life, when Hsieh hid substance addiction and massive spending sprees. Beyond their discussion of Hsieh’s tragic death and legacy, Grind and Sayre also provide insight on the larger issue of mental illness and addiction hidden under Silicon Valley’s sunny surface.
VERDICT Unlike most tech entrepreneur biographies, which are often hagiographies of a singular genius, Grind and Sayre’s volume focuses on a flawed man struggling to make happiness part of his business and his life.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing