The Reading Corner: November

Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise & Fall Of Adam Neumann And WeWork – By Reeve Wiedeman

WeWork. If you’re part of the working world and under 50 you’ll know about the ‘Unicorn’ co-working startup that went from a single floor in a New York tower block for freelancers and wannabe tech entrepreneurs to rapidly growing into the world most dominate real estate company. You will have also heard numerous stories about its founder Adam Neumann and his saviour like complex, partying until the early hours, buying private jets on company credit cards and believing his company could single handedly change the way we work, live and learn. In the early days Neumann was known as a potential saviour of Silicon Valley’s startup culture. He was set to take his office sharing company to world domination, disrupting the commercial real estate market all over the world and taking it public, cashing out on the companies $47 Billion evaluation. But as employee’s well knew and investors were about to find out, WeWorks capital was built on promises and dreams that the company was actually more than just a real-estate company, Neumann believed it was a transformational tech company too. Reeves Wiedeman, veteran journalist of outlets such as New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone and more takes a deep dive into WeWork and its CEO’s astonishing rise. From Marijuana and tequila filled boardroom meetings to cult-like company summer camps, Billion Dollar Loser is a character-driven story that captures perfectly the fascinating psyche of a billionaire playboy founder and his co-founder wife, their lies, their self-belief and ultimately their demise. This is the ultimate tale of how a business went from a potential billion dollar unicorn, riding high as one of the most valuable startups on the planet to selling off assets quicker than Michael Jackson. Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton – £15.00, Amazon.co.uk

GREENLIGHTS – Matthew McConaughey

“Alright, Alright, Alright” three little words that shot a boy from Uvalde, Texas to a life of stardom, opportunity and Hollywood. McConaughey is Mr.Cool. He’s the guy other guys want to be and the guy women wished their guy was, a handsome beach boy with a southern drawl. His unconventional memoir is everything you’d expect from a man such as Mr.McConaughey. We’d call it whiskey wisdom, others would call it outlaw wisdom. This is a memoir unlike any other, full of lessons that have been learned from an unconventional life, through failures, mistakes, conversations and adventures. Reading each page is a little like listening to that guy in a bar who’s had a heck of a life, whiskey in hand, a story for everything and wisdom from a long life of learning. This is the man you pay attention to, a teacher, an elder, a wise man. The book and its tales have come from McConaughey’s personal journals he’s kept from his early 20’s, telling the stories from his early life with a family full of love and discipline, to his decision against becoming a lawyer, instead taking the long drive from his beloved Texas to Hollywood and following his dream of becoming an actor. This is a book full of tales, humour, lessons and a whole lot of bumper stickers. Notes about success and failures. How to have fun and hurt people less. How to be fair, how to stress less and more importantly how to be a happier and better man. It’s a love letter to one man’s life, and a how-to for the rest of us. Publisher: Headline – £10.00, Amazon.co.uk

A Promised Land –  President Barack Obama

In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency-a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil. From his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office. An extraordinarily intimate and introspective, the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change,” and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible. Publisher: Viking – £25.00, Amazon.co.uk

The Hand & Flowers Cookbook – Tom Kerridge

The Hand & Flowers is the first (and only) pub in the world to acquire two Michelin stars. At this relaxed and accessible dining space in the heart of Buckinghamshire, Tom Kerridge serves up innovative, sophisticated dishes that masterfully reinvent and elevate British classics for the twenty-first century. The incredible new cookbook presents 70 of the best dishes that have ever appeared on the menu, including Roast hog with salt-baked potatoes and apple sauce; Slow-cooked duck breast, peas, duck-fat chips and gravy; Smoked haddock omelette; Salt cod Scotch egg with red pepper sauce and picante chorizo; and Chocolate and ale cake with salted caramel and muscovado ice cream. With specially commissioned photography by renowned photographer Cristian Barnett, The Hand & Flowers Cookbook is a stunning celebration of one of the world’s best and most authentic restaurants. Publisher: Bloomsbury Absolute – £26.99, Amazon.co.uk

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