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Journalism Alumna Kirsten Grind Publishes New Investigative Book

By Sophie Lincoln

Happy At Any Cost
Happy At Any Cost

A new book released in March 2022 uncovers aspects of the personal life of noted entrepreneur Tony Hsieh and the truth behind his mysterious death in November 2020.

The book, “Happy at Any Cost: The Revolutionary Vision and Fatal Quest of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh,” is written by Kirsten Grind (Journalism ’02) and her Wall Street Journal coworker Katherine Sayre and published by Simon and Schuster.

During her undergraduate studies, Grind worked as managing editor for Mustang Daily, now known as Mustang News. She was in charge of selecting and making the final edits for all of the newspaper’s content every night to make brand-new daily print issues.

“To this day, that was still my hardest job in journalism. It was so hard,” Grind said. “But even though it was such hard work, it really made me fall in love with newspapers and that grind – I just loved it. It was so fun.”

Grind also said that her work at Mustang News has helped her get to where she is today.

“Once you get into the industry, you see a lot of people come from journalism schools with a master's degree, and I honestly felt like I have fared way better than those people because it was so much more hands-on at Cal Poly,” Grind said.

Grind currently works in the Wall Street Journal’s San Francisco Bureau, focusing on technology reporting as an enterprise reporter. This role involves investigative coverage on stories that require some extra digging.

Grind began reporting on Hsieh soon after his unexpected death through a series of investigative articles for the Wall Street Journal. But as she continued to dive deeper and find out more about Hsieh’s life before his death, she decided to turn her reporting into a book. Grind said audiences can expect to see a documentary as well.

“It’s a really heartwarming but very heartbreaking story because he was really well known for all of these incredible management experiments,” Grind said. “But his whole life, he was struggling with mental health issues that went untreated."

This will be Grind’s second published book, the first being “The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual-The Biggest Bank Failure in American History,” which also began as a series of investigative articles in 2008. Grind was covering banking for the Puget Sound Business Journal when news of the bank’s failure began to unfold. “The Lost Bank,” published in 2012, chronicles the story of Washington Mutual based on her own investigative reporting during that time.

With her new book coming out, Grind said she hopes to shed light on mental health and “the problems with keeping it quiet, especially among successful entrepreneurs like Tony Hsieh.”

"Happiness at Any Cost” is currently available on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and other retailers.

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