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The Cult of We cover art

The Cult of We

Written by: Eliot Brown,Maureen Farrell
Narrated by: Thérèse Plummer
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Publisher's Summary

Wall Street Journal best seller 

A Financial Times, Fortune, and NPR Best Book of the Year 

“The riveting, definitive account of WeWork, one of the wildest business stories of our time.” (Matt Levine, Money Stuff columnist, Bloomberg Opinion)

The definitive story of the rise and fall of WeWork (also depicted in the upcoming Apple TV+ series WeCrashed, starring Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway), by the real-life journalists whose Wall Street Journal reporting rocked the company and exposed a financial system drunk on the elixir of Silicon Valley innovation. 

Longlisted for the Financial Times and Mckinsey Business Book of the Year Award

WeWork would be worth $10 trillion, more than any other company in the world. It wasn’t just an office space provider. It was a tech company - an AI startup, even. Its WeGrow schools and WeLive residences would revolutionize education and housing. One day, mused founder Adam Neumann, a Middle East peace accord would be signed in a WeWork. The company might help colonize Mars. And Neumann would become the world’s first trillionaire.

This was the vision of Neumann and his primary cheerleader, SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son. In hindsight, their ambition for the company, whose primary business was subletting desks in slickly designed offices, seems like madness. Why did so many intelligent people - from venture capitalists to Wall Street elite - fall for the hype? And how did WeWork go so wrong?

In little more than a decade, Neumann transformed himself from a struggling baby clothes salesman into the charismatic, hard-partying CEO of a company worth $47 billion - on paper. With his long hair and feel-good mantras, the six-foot-five Israeli transplant looked the part of a messianic truth teller. Investors swooned, and billions poured in.

Neumann dined with the CEOs of JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, entertaining a parade of power brokers desperate to get a slice of what he was selling: the country’s most valuable startup, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a generation-defining moment.

Soon, however, WeWork was burning through cash faster than Neumann could bring it in. From his private jet, sometimes clouded with marijuana smoke, he scoured the globe for more capital. Then, as WeWork readied a Hail Mary IPO, it all fell apart. Nearly $40 billion of value vaporized in one of corporate America’s most spectacular meltdowns.

Peppered with eye-popping, never-before-reported details, The Cult of We is the gripping story of careless and often absurd people - and the financial system they have made.

©2021 Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell (P)2021 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"[The] ultimate portrayal of...an empire built on sand.” (Newsweek)

“Like Bad Blood...The Cult of We is novelistic in detail and often thrilling.... It’s like watching a car careening toward a wall at 90 miles an hour.” (The Washington Post)

“If I had to make a list of top five business books of all time, this would be on it. It’s just so damn engrossing.” (Christopher Mims, Wall Street Journal tech columnist)

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Excellent Story of a Startup Gone Wrong

I truly enjoyed this story - it is wildly compelling and keeps you glued to the book wanting to know just how far things will go off the rails before the entire thing explodes. It's wild to think back on the startup culture at this time, and how blindly money was being sunk into businesses with no due diligence or oversight being employed by investors. Hugely addicting story, and incredibly enjoyable on audio.

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