News & Reviews

Wonder Boy: Tony Hseih, Zappos and the Myth of Happiness in Silicon Valley

03 May 2023 News & Reviews
I WENT to the book launch for Wonder Boy: Tony Hseih, Zappos and the Myth of Happiness in Silicon Valleya transfixing tale of the son of immigrants who was a multimillionaire by the time he was 25, a billionaire at 35 and dead at 46.
One of the co-authors, David Jeans, is a relentless investigative reporter, who started as a police reporter in Melbourne before he went to Columbia Journalism School; he was a student of mine in the investigative journalism program. His co-author, Angel Au-Yeung, who writes for the Wall Street Journal, brought empathy and understanding of the immigrant experience to the project.

Fresh out of Harvard, Hseih and a classmate started an online advertising network, which he sold to Microsoft; he then started a company selling shoes online, Zappos, which he  sold to Amazon for $1.9 billion. He had a multitude of houses in various trendy locations, a private jet in which he flew friends to parties in Hawaii, New York and beyond. He wanted more than wealth, however, and wrote a best-selling book: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and PurposeHe attributed Zappos success to creating an environment where people wanted to work (he would test their commitment by offering $5000 if they wanted to quit), and delivering extraordinary customer service. He died in a fire, trapped in a storage shed, inebriated.

A gripping, uncomfortable read,” says New York Times review.

Wonder Boy is available here.
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