In its earliest days, WeWork promised the impossible: to make the American work place cool. Adam Neumann, an immigrant determined to make his fortune in the United States, landed on the idea of repurposing surplus New York office space for the burgeoning freelance class. Over the course of ten years, WeWork attracted billions of dollars from some of the most sought-after investors in the world, while spending it to build a global real estate empire that he insisted was much more than that: an organization that aspired to nothing less than “elevating the world’s consciousness.”
Moving between New York real estate, Silicon Valley venture capital, and the very specific force field of spirituality and ambition erected by Adam Neumann himself, Billion Dollar Loser lays bare the internal drama inside WeWork. Based on more than two hundred interviews, this book chronicles the breakneck speed at which WeWork’s CEO built and grew his company along with Neumann’s relationship to a world of investors, including Masayoshi Son of Softbank, who fueled its chaotic expansion into everything from apartment buildings to elementary schools.
Culminating in a day-by-day account of the five weeks leading up to WeWork’s botched IPO and Neumann’s dramatic ouster, Wiedeman exposes the story of the company’s desperate attempt to secure the funding it needed in the final moments of a decade defined by excess. Billion Dollar Loser is the first book to indelibly capture the highly leveraged, all-blue-sky world of American business in President Trump’s first term, and also offers a sober reckoning with its fallout as a new era begins.
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