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There is a fool in every market, Gurley wrote, quoting Warren Buffett. "If you don't know who it is, it is probably you."
Adam's focus on growth at the expense of profitability fit with an emerging business theory that it was best to acquire customers by any means necessary and then figure out how to make money later.
The next day, they told Schreiber that WeWork, which didn't have a single location, was worth $45 million. Without asking questions or pushing back, Schreiber agreed to commit $15 million to fund the idea in exchange for a third of a company that did not yet exist.
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Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork Hardcover – October 20, 2020
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About the Author
- Publisher : Little, Brown and Company (October 20, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316461369
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316461368
- Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.25 x 1.25 x 9.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #222,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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I read (and loved) Bad Blood, and Billion Dollar Loser could be its sibling. Highly recommend!
In startups, founders create a company from nothing by convincing employees and investors to follow a dream. The most convincing founders are likely to produce the biggest outcomes, as they will their vision into reality. This charisma, however, is the same skill that makes for a good con man. It’s hard to tell if a convincing founder is “faking it until they make it” or just “faking it”. It makes sense for venture investors to bet on charismatic founders, if the founder’s big dreams pan out, they get rich and their downside is only 1x their investment. Given the incentives, it feels inevitable that there will be more WeWork-style cult of personality companies funded, and more spectacular flameouts. For this reason, the book is a good cautionary tale.
I do worry that the book does not consider the realities of founding a startup that may, within a longer historical context, make Adam's rise and fall a little more forgivable. Had Adam succeeded, I don't know that his vision and reality distortion field would have been seen the same way, and that is a take and context I felt was missing from the book.
Overall, an insightful take on an incredible--almost Shakespearian-- drama.
If I've got one quibble with the book, it's that I wanted to know more about what happened with some of the other players.
I read this on a Kindle as I commuted daily to a WeWork. I'm a big fan. After working in a 'proper' office for years, WeWork was/is a refreshing change from the drudgery of a traditional office.
Right off the bat, two things put me off about Billion Dollar Loser. The book title and the ridiculous pulled quote in the beginning.
Maybe my joyful experience at WeWork clouded my enjoyment / interest but I felt the author did everything they could to discredit the founder.
I accept there are parts of AN's life that are odd / outrageous but this guy had a vision and when all was done and dusted, WeWork survived and he walked away with nearly a billion dollars. How's that losing or being a loser?
[As usual, when companies are riding high and there are whispers of something wrong, no one does a thing in fear of upsetting the apple cart. Something that happened here.]
Saying that, it's clear a lot of research went into the book and there some fine details that keep the book trotting along. The how, why and background is all explained well.
Overall, I was disappointed about the book's negativity and inability to try to inject a more balanced view. Remember, no laws were broken.
Maybe if I wasn't experiencing WeWork first hand then my view would be different.
Top reviews from other countries
Thoroughly researched and told in captivating details and hard to put down!
It really makes you see how much Venture Capital is all smoke and mirrors and a game of pass the parcel, just not wanting to be the person that gets landed with opening it and seeing what you have really actually bought!
A real case of "The Emperor's New Clothes", except there was more than one emperor here and lots of friends and family, that weren't left holding the baby, before they were able to cash in!
Thank goodness in the end thousands of ordinary investors weren't left holding the baby, but still thousands of Wework employees, never got their promised share riches after working long extra hours on relatively low pay!
The author should be commended on a great book!
P.S. My favourite book of this genre remains 'All That Glitters' by Gapper.