The Cult of We: Wework, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion

By Bookmarks Review

“… a juicy guided tour through the highly leveraged, not-quite-rags-to-billion-dollar-parachute saga of WeWork and its co-founder Adam Neumann … separates itself from Billion Dollar Loser by quickly passing over Neumann’s upbringing and experiences on kibbutzim and in the Israeli military, as well as the origins and earliest days of WeWork…Instead, the book saves its firepower for the cataclysmic combination of Neumann’s gift for salesmanship, addiction to fund-raising and focus on his personal wealth … Brown and Farrell show an agility for explaining key business dynamics that are crucial both to understanding specific moments in WeWork’s trajectory, and also to grasping the role of public and private investors in the company’s successes and failures. They do so without slowing down the narrative or overdoing it such that readers well versed in business might find it boring or pedantic … a book that calls for keeping a pen handy so you can write in the margins, giving the Greek chorus in your head a place to pop off … also very funny, with Brown and Farrell employing wry juxtaposition and understatement to enjoyable effect … The narrative is written straight through, with Brown and Farrell rarely breaking in to attribute their reporting to specific sources. Instead, that information is packed into extensive notes at the end of the book. It may make the nearly 400 pages brisker to read for some, but I was frequently toggling back and forth to try to surmise how the authors knew what they were telling me …. coming out months after other storytellers have framed the WeWork saga with their own focuses and flourishes. But Brown and Farrell’s book may be the most perfectly timed. As much of the white-collar work force enjoys (or tolerates) its final weeks of working from home, we (I think I’m allowed to use ‘we’ in this context without paying anyone) are preparing to re-engage with our crumbs-in-the-keyboard cubicle culture…”

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