Lisa Sugar’s Bookshelf

The founder of POPSUGAR reveals the books that power her happy.

Lisa Sugar

Lisa Sugar started blogging about celebrities and fashion from her San Francisco living room 11 years ago. She was married, newly pregnant and had a successful advertising career, but started POPSUGAR as a passion project—an outlet for her writing, creativity, and a pop culture obsession. She realized she loved what she was doing—and readers did too. After a year, POPSUGAR had a following of over a million people, so Lisa decided to leave her job and turn her blog into a business. Together with her husband Brian, Lisa built POPSUGAR into the No. 1 lifestyle media brand for women, delivering entertainment, fashion, beauty, parenting, fitness and food content and receiving 1.5 billion global monthly content views.

The mom of three’s meteoric rise might look easy from the outside, but Lisa’s singular focus and drive are the reasons behind her success—it didn’t happen overnight. In her new book Power Your Happy: Work Hard, Play Nice, and Build Your Dream Life, out today, Lisa shares the sacrifices she’s made along the way and offers wisdom on how you can create your own fulfilling career. She talks about being a working mom (hint: she believes in blending work and family, not attempting to balance them) and how to put your family and your health first, while still being a great leader and a kind boss. After all, her motto is “work hard, play nice.”

Here, the media mogul shares the books on her bookshelf she won’t ever part with. Her reading motto? “I love a cross between thrillers I can’t put down and easy reads with great characters who I can relate to, laugh at or learn from.” Click on the white dots on each title’s spine to read why they’re significant to Lisa and enjoy this voyeuristic peek into the founder of POPSUGAR’s reading life.

Lisa Sugar

Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger

Like pretty much everyone else, I read The Catcher in the Rye in high school; in my case, it sparked a lifelong obsession with Salinger. I love Nine Stories in particular for its colorful characters and great dialogue.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

I read this book on my honeymoon and remember having to convince my husband to read it because it was meant for children. Within hours of reading the first one, we were searching for the second and third books written in English—not easy since we were in Paris!

Microserfs by Douglas Coupland

I loved this early–’90s story of the tech world, with its sarcastic humor and rich imagery, in, for example, the scene where co-workers slide cheese slices under the door to feed the programmers. Also, his clever use of emoticons is probably what sparked my love of them!

Marley and Me by John Grogan

My first dog was my everything. He was getting pretty sick when I read this book, so between real life and the tears that Marley made me shed, I felt a little more prepared for the inevitable. This book captures all the highs and lows of loving a dog.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I have nothing against YA, especially with badass female characters. This first book in the trilogy had me hooked.

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

As an avid shopper and, at the time that I read it, a struggling 20-something, I could relate to Rebecca Bloomwood and her addiction to shopping. It’s a fun, easy read that spawned a ton more, but this one was my favorite.

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

A classic! I read this book in the ‘90s and couldn’t believe it was 30 years old. I was riveted by the story of three young women trying to make it in the NYC entertainment world.

Shopgirl by Steve Martin

I’m a huge Steve Martin fan, and that includes his novels. This story about a young woman working in a high-end department store and juggling two very different suitors is quirky, smart, and cute.

A Letter to my Dog by Lisa Erspamer

I was honored to be a part of this book, where I was among the company of fellow dog-lovers such as Oprah Winfrey, Tony Bennett, and Hilary Duff as we took photos and wrote sweet notes to our furry best friends.

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

I could not put this book down, partly because I thought I wanted to be in this world but also because it was so much more outrageous than I could have even imagined.

English Roses by Madonna

This book is special to me because Madonna signed it when we started POPSUGAR and our first daughter, Katie, was born.

Cravings by Chrissy Teigen

Not only are the recipes in this book amazing, but it’s so fun to read about how Chrissy eats and why she loves the meals she creates.

Get recommendations for the greatest books around straight to your inbox every week.
LISA SUGAR founded PopSugar in 2006. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and three daughters.


Lisa Sugar

LISA SUGAR founded PopSugar in 2006. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and three daughters.

[email_signup id="4"]