A new book explores the dramatic life and tragic death of Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, who died at the age of 46 in 2020 from an accident.
Why It’s News
Hsieh became a billionaire at the age of 35 when he sold Zappos to Amazon in 2009, having gained a reputation for leading one of the best company cultures in the world. He sought to make his employees happy and led a employee-friendly culture at Zappos that became renowned around the world.
Following his immense climb to success, his life progressively declined as he became consumed by despair and drug addiction, leading to either an accidental or purposeful death from smoke inhalation due to a fire in his storage shed.
This dramatic rise and fall is documented in Wonder Boy: Tony Hsieh, Zappos, And the Myth Of Happiness In Silicon Valley, a new book by Wall Street Journal journalist Au-Yeung and Forbes reporter David Deans, which draws a picture of Hsieh’s life from hundreds of interview of those who knew the man in his battles with happiness and despair.
A movie adaptation of the book was already optioned by Blue Bayou filmmaker Justin Chon on April 18, The Hollywood Reporter notes.
What The Critics Are Saying
“Au-Yeung and Jeans interviewed nearly 200 people for the book. With its eye for scene-setting—if a house was ‘painted in a rich cerulean’ or a floor is littered with spent Whip-Its, they note it—Wonder Boy reads like a novel informed by dogged reporting,” says The San Francisco Chronicle.
“They suggest Hsieh’s childlike earnestness and desire to be a ‘man of the people’ disintegrated into grandiosity and delusion as he began using ketamine and became insulated from the interventions of friends and family by yes men on his payroll until he died … Au-Yeung and Jeans’ empathetic portrait is as enthralling as it is achingly sad,” says Publisher’s Weekly.
Wonder Boy: Tony Hsieh, Zappos, And the Myth Of Happiness In Silicon Valley was released on April 25, 2023, by Henry Holt and Co.