WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER • 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This behind-the-scenes look at the implosion of the pioneering shared-workspace company WeWork is a cautionary tale about hubris and an overexcited market. It’s also so bizarrely funny that you’ll want to read sections of the book out loud to your friends. WeWork was a great idea—lease unused office space, trick it out in techbro-friendly decor (beanbag chairs and air-hockey tables alongside conference tables and whiteboards), and rent it to startups and freelancers. But founder Adam Neumann was a hard-drinking, weed-smoking hothead with grandiose visions of himself as a potential “president of the world” who would colonize Mars with WeWork spaces. Business journalists Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell capture Neumann’s undeniable charisma—which led investors to throw literally billions of dollars into what was fundamentally just a real-estate middleman—as well as the scary-funny megalomania that eventually got him fired from his own company. Veteran narrator Therese Plummer keeps us hooked through the company’s wild ups and downs. The Cult of We is so entertaining you don’t need to be interested in business to enjoy it.
Highly Recommend This Book!
Eye opening read!