What We Are Reading Today: Billion Dollar Loser by Reeves Wiedeman

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Updated 25 October 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Billion Dollar Loser by Reeves Wiedeman

The subject of billion dollar Loser, reeves wiedeman’s indefatigable, scrupulous account of the dubious co-working-space company wework, is adam neumann — the co-founder who eventually all but wrecked it.

Culminating in a day-by-day account of the five weeks leading up to wework’s botched ipo and neumann’s dramatic ouster, wiedeman exposes the story of the company’s desperate attempt to secure the funding it needed in the final moments of a decade defined by excess.

Neumann had two great ambitions when he was young: To grow wealthy and to save the world. Neumann believed his two goals could be folded into one and pursued by the same methods: brash self- promotion, florid salesmanship and an impulsive management style reflective of what he considered to be his own genius.

Walter Kirn said in a review for the new York times: “Citing an interview from april 2019, not long before wework’s unraveling, wiedeman describes neumann as engaged in a belated campaign to polish his image and raise one of many rounds of outside cash to replace the vast sums he’d already dissipated.”

What We Are Reading Today: Privilege and Punishment by Matthew Clair

Updated 27 November 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Privilege and Punishment by Matthew Clair

The number of Americans arrested, brought to court, and incarcerated has skyrocketed in recent decades. Criminal defendants come from all races and economic walks of life, but they experience punishment in vastly different ways. Privilege and Punishment examines how racial and class inequalities are embedded in the attorney-client relationship, providing a devastating portrait of inequality and injustice within and beyond the criminal courts.

Matthew Clair conducted extensive fieldwork in the Boston court system, attending criminal hearings and interviewing defendants, lawyers, judges, police officers, and probation officers. In this eye-opening book, he uncovers how privilege and inequality play out in criminal court interactions.

When disadvantaged defendants try to learn their legal rights and advocate for themselves, lawyers and judges often silence, coerce, and punish them. Privileged defendants, who are more likely to trust their defense attorneys, delegate authority to their lawyers, defer to judges, and are rewarded for their compliance.

Clair shows how attempts to exercise legal rights often backfire on the poor and on working-class people of color, and how effective legal representation alone is no guarantee of justice.

Superbly written and powerfully argued, Privilege and Punishment draws needed attention to the injustices that are perpetuated by the attorney-client relationship in today’s criminal courts, and describes the reforms needed to correct them.