RaveThe New Republic... [this] new book by journalist Reeves Wiedeman, assembles a definitive chronology of a company doomed not by one bad business strategy—or even Neumann’s outsize ego—but by the rot of a postrecession economy that nurtured a certain flavor of investor-class mania ... In other words, even if WeWork (which now appears to be on its last legs) and other erstwhile unicorns don’t survive the pandemic, their investors and top brass likely will. That’s by design; as economic inequality continues to surge out of control, and climate disaster looms on the horizon, the financial overlords have done all they can to extricate their fates from everyone else’s. Their thirst for innovation is perhaps most disturbing when it conveniently overlaps with a chance to simply leave behind the disasters they’ve had a hand in creating ... For Neumann, \'community\'—even imagined on a cosmic scale—was always primarily an opportunity to make money.
PositiveThe New RepublicWhat Lepore’s rich account unearths is the impetus behind the project, a set of attitudes that continue to drive psychographic microtargeting efforts today ... Lepore’s exceptional skill as storyteller and her sharp eye for seemingly quotidian details and small coincidences lend the Simulmatics world an intimate—and at times deliciously gossipy—feeling, which serves to underscore how tightly knit this particular echelon was.
PositiveThe New RepublicFor the uninitiated, Merlan’s book is a riveting tour through the tangles of some of the most prominent conspiracy theories in circulation today. Blending first-person reporting from a variety of conspiracist gatherings with a measured survey of the existing research on conspiracy theories, she explores why and how demonstrably untrue ideas germinate. Behind each quack theory she finds groups of people who feel powerless or alienated in some significant way.
RaveThe NationWhile Future Sex may have been started as an effort to find sexual and romantic authenticity outside of traditional relationships, the resulting document is just as much about how class and money operate as determining (if not always immediately visible) forces even in the most intimate aspects of our lives ... darkly funny and perceptive field studies ... Her deadpan delivery makes Future Sex a work of social observation and, at times, even a kind of nonfiction comedy of manners ... t’s in slyly delineating limitations, rather than possibilities, that Future Sex shines, offering not a speculative preview of what’s to come, but an erudite exposition on where we currently are.