Book Reports

Book Report: Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork

The Big Idea

The title says it all, but this book served a larger point about the excess of venture capital money flowing in the 2010s and the downside of the “Grow at all costs” mantra plus the cult of the start-up founder

Favorite sentence

“There is a fool in every market,” Bill Gurley wrote, quoting Warren Buffett. “If you don’t know who it is, it is probably you.”


8/10.  I was already familiar with WeWork’s story, but this did add a rich layer of detail. If you’re not familiar with WeWork at all, I highly recommend this book

My notes

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.

The “unit economics”—how much money the company made on a single user—were much stronger than that of most tech companies,           

“Adam has an endless faith in his ability to convince people to do things he wants them to do,” Miguel said in 2013.                

In February of 2014, less than a year after WeWork was valued at $440 million, JPMorgan Asset Management and several other investors put an additional $150 million into the company at a valuation of $1.5 billion.                

“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] start a company in his twenties, build wealth in his thirties, deploy that money in his forties, tie up loose ends in his fifties, then hand things off to a new generation after he turned sixty. 

He and Miguel had talked about WeWork as a “hundred-year challenge,” and here was someone who thought that timeline was too short.   

Steve Jobs had once asked his most senior employees to come up with a list of Apple’s top ten priorities, then said the company could manage only three.

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