Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork

Reeves Wiedeman. Little, Brown, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-46136-8
Journalist Wiedeman debuts with a thrilling page-turner about the fantastic success and subsequent crash of WeWork. Drawing on interviews with the company’s current and former employees, competitors, and industry observers, Wiedeman meticulously recounts what happened between WeWork’s 2010 launch and disastrous 2019 IPO. Envisioned by CEO and cofounder Adam Neumann as a reimagined space for community living that would make people “feel as if they were part of a club,” WeWork quickly became a major player in commercial real estate, but as Wiedeman reveals, that growth was untenable—WeWork employed nearly 10,000 people by late 2018, half of whom had been there for less than six months. Wiedeman creates a palpable sense of suspense as the 2019 IPO approached—an investor tour left analysts with serious questions, which Wiedeman sums up as “What is it, exactly, that you do?”—and how, as losses mounted following the IPO’s failure, Neumann, now WeWork’s “greatest liability,” grew increasingly paranoid and self-important (“No one says no to me”). What lifts this book to excellence is Wiedeman’s ease at presenting a complex business saga both understandably and entertainingly. Readers will feel like they are in the room with Neumann and his beleaguered colleagues during every twist and turn of this fascinating corporate train wreck. Agent: Chris Parris-Lamb, Gernert Co. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/04/2020
Release date: 10/20/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-0752-8
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