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Barnes & Noble

It was the ultimate test for CEOs.

And none of them could see it coming. In early March 2020, with the Dow Jones flirting with 30,000, the world’s biggest companies were riding an eleven-year economic high. By the end of the month, millions were out of work, iconic firms were begging for bailouts, and countless small businesses were in freefall. Slick consulting teams and country-club connections were suddenly of little use: business leaders were fumbling in the dark, tossing out long-term strategy and making decisions on the fly—decisions, they hoped, might just save them.


In Crash Landing, award-winning business journalist Liz Hoffman shows how the pandemic set the economy on fire—but if you look closely, the tinder was already there. After 2008, corporate leaders had embraced cheap debt and growth at all costs. Wages went stagnant. Millions were pushed into the gig economy. Companies crammed workers into offices, and airlines did the same with planes. Wall Street cheered on this relentless march toward efficiency, overlooking its collateral damage.


Based on astonishing access to a handful of the world’s most influential CEOs, Crash Landing is Liz Hoffman's kaleidoscopic account of the most remarkable year in modern economic history, revealing—through gripping, fly-on-the-wall reporting—how they battled back against an economic catastrophe for which there was no playbook: among them, AirBnB’s Brian Chesky, blindsided by a virus in the middle of a high-stakes effort to go public; American Airlines's Doug Parker, shuttling between K Street and the White House, determined to secure a multi-billion-dollar bailout; and Ford's Jim Hackett, gambling on the switch from cars to ventilators.


In the tradition of Too Big to Fail and The Big Short, Crash Landing reveals the fear, grit, and gambles of the pandemic economy, while probing its implications for the future of work, corporate leadership, and capitalism itself, asking: Will this remarkable time give rise to newfound resilience, or become just another costly mistake to be forgotten?

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