Reading Happiness: Tony Hsieh’s Reading List

In 1999, 24-year-old Tony Hsieh sold a company he co-founded to Microsoft for $265 million. He then joined online shoe and clothing retailer as an advisor and investor, and eventually became CEO, helping the company go from virtually nothing in sales to more than $1 billion in gross merchandise sales each year. Hsieh’s first book, Delivering Happiness, which made the case for how a unique corporate culture can serve as a powerful model for achieving success, debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.

When it comes to reading, Hsieh leans toward books “that combine research on human behavior with business results.” Here are some of his favorites.

Made to Stick

Why are some ideas successful? Why do some fail? In this bestseller, educators Chip and Dan Heath outline the six traits common to all “sticky” messages, and offer advice on how to make not-so-sticky ideas more powerful. Made to Stick is an indispensable guide for transforming the way you communicate.

How Will You Measure Your Life?

Clayton M. Christensen, whose work has been championed by Hsieh, as well as the late Steve Jobs, has created a passionate collection or priceless observations and insights that can help virtually any reader of any age at any stage of their life or career forge their own paths to a fulfilling life.

Get Off Your “But”

While psychotherapist and professional speaker Sean Stephenson was born with a rare and extremely painful disease which makes his bones break when subjected to even the slightest pressure, he has been able to rid himself of self-doubt and insecurity — and help others do the same. Get Off Your “But” will challenge and empower you to face challenges, no matter how big or small.


If advertising doesn’t really work, why do people talk more about certain products than others? Why are some stories or rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral? Jonah Berger combines unprecedented research with powerful stories to reveal the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social sharing.

Fake “Work”

Each year, millions of people spending millions of hours doing work that’s not really work. This “fake” work not only drains a company's resources without improving its bottom line, but it also robs conviction, care, and positive morale from employees. All of this leads to high turnover, communication breakdowns, and cultural patterns of poor productivity. Brent D. Peterson and Gaylan W. Nielson use anecdotes to help to you spot, avoid, and not be subject to fake work — both for your benefit and the benefit of your organization.

Try these and a few of Tony’s other favorites on for size.

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