- WeWork founder Adam Neumann hoped to be countries’ first call to solve problems in war, a book says.
- He also said he’d run for “president of the world” if anything, according to “The Cult of We.”
- He had an exit installed in his office so he wouldn’t see staff in the main lobby, the book says.
WeWork founder Adam Neumann had some outsized goals for himself and his company, as detailed in a new book.
In the company’s early years, Neumann also thought about running to be Israel’s prime minister one day, according to “The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion.”
But a few years later, that goal was no longer enough. Neumann later said that, if he were to seek any office, it would be for “president of the world,” the book says.
In another incident, he stressed that WeWork needed to be very successful so that “when countries started shooting at one another, he’d be the one they’d have to call to solve their problems, the book claims.
When he moved offices, Neumann had a new exit designed so he could avoid running into staff in the main lobby on his way to the elevators, according to the book, adding that Neumann nonetheless “often seemed earnestly interested in helping others, particularly small businesses and employees in need.”
Neumann’s heightened sense of self-importance sometimes caused friction with world leaders.
He once tried to reschedule a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau less than a week out, the book says. In 2017, Neumann nearly missed a meeting with former UK Prime Minister Theresa May as well. May was attending a last-minute event at a WeWork location, and Neumann’s wife, Rebekah, wanted him to skip it because it conflicted with previously made plans: He had already promised to spend that time speaking to children about entrepreneurship at an experimental school that predated WeGrow. At the insistence of WeWork staff, Neumann attended May’s event, the book says.
On another occasion, after meeting Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Neumann told aides to stop scheduling meetings with mayors going forward and to only set talks with senators, the book says.
Neumann took a hard line when it came to defending his ambitions, sometimes ignoring pushback to his ideas.
The book claims WeWork’s former chief legal officer, Jen Berrent, once told company lawyers that when she or then-CFO Artie Minson expressed disagreement with the then-CEO, Neumann would sometimes say, “I don’t f*cking care. Do it.” Neumann also encouraged staff to alert him to what executives said about him in his absence, the book says.
Looking to the future, Neumann prioritized longevity in several aspects.
In his personal life, Neumann “aspired to live forever” and told staff humanity would eventually “solve the problem of death,” the book says. As far as his company was concerned, the ousted CEO said WeWork would be around for 300 years and remain in his family for generations.
WeWork declined to comment when reached by Insider.