Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff
Losing the Signal

Book Cover

It was a classic modern business story: two Canadian entrepreneurs build an iconic brand that would forever change the way we communicate. From its humble beginnings in an office above a bagel store in Waterloo, Ontario, BlackBerry outsmarted the global giants with an addictive smartphone that generated billions of dollars. Its devices were so ubiquitous that even President Barack Obama favoured them above all others. But just as it was emerging as the dominant global player, BlackBerry took a dramatic turn.

Losing the Signal is the riveting, never-before-told story of one of the most spectacular technological upsets of the 21st century. Unlike Enron, which was undone by its executives' illegal activities, or Lehman Brothers, which collapsed as part of a larger global banking crisis, BlackBerry's rise and fall is a modern day tale of the unrelenting speed of success and failure. It is a thrilling account of how two mismatched CEOs outsmarted more-powerful competitors with a combination of innovation and sharp-elbowed tactics; and how, once on top of the world, they lost their way. The company responded too slowly to competitors' innovations, and when it finally made its move, it stumbled with delayed, poorly designed and unpopular smartphones. A little more than a decade after Research In Motion introduced the BlackBerry, it is now struggling to survive. Its share of the US phone market fell from 50 per cent in 2009 to about one percent in 2013, showing just how aggressive, fast and unforgiving today's global business market can be.

Praise for Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff's Losing the Signal:


“[E]xtraordinary reporting and behind-the-scenes drama . . . the best of this year’s narratives” —strategy+business

“[V]ery readable . . . There is much in Losing the Signal to remind its managers that marketing genius and design are just as important as the inspired technology that made the market possible. That may be the enduring lesson of the last eight years—easy to articulate, most difficult to apply.” —Ottawa Citizen

“[B]rilliantly relayed . . .McNish and Silcoff authoritatively chronicle the missteps that abetted BlackBerry’s fall . . . [i]t’s one helluva story.” —Toronto Star

"Losing the Signal tells of the marriage and divorce of Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, how two opposites built RIM into a world-beater and how they lost it. This is first-class reporting that reads like a juicy novel, with one amazing story after another. A terrific book." —Howard Green, broadcaster and author of Banking on America

Praise for Jacquie McNish's Wrong Way: The Fall of Conrad Black:

"It's an eminently readable, racy account of Black's alleged corporate misdeeds which also tackles with clarity the complex financial transactions that led to his downfall" —The Observer

"McNish, long one of Canada's best business writers, and her Toronto Globe & Mail colleague Stewart, have produced a nimble account of Black's final years ... McNish and Stewart tell the inside story of how Black's own shareholders revolted against his imperial management and ousted him from the company he founded" —The New York Times

"I marvel at the degree of detail their notes must contain, and at their skill in weaving all this information together. Their anecdotes are almost always fully coloured, well-crafted and telling in what they reveal" —The Vancouver Sun

Genre/Category: Non-Fiction/Business
Length: 320 pp (hc)
Publication Date: May 2015 (hc)

Canada/English, HarperCollins Canada
USA/English, Flatiron Books

For all rights inquiries, please contact The Cooke Agency.
Jacquie McNish

JACQUIE McNISH is a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and was previously a senior writer with The Globe and Mail. She has won six National Newspaper Awards for her groundbreaking investigations into some of the biggest business stories of the past three decades. She is a regular host on Canadian business news station BNN and an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. She has authored four bestselling books: The Big Score: Robert Friedland, Inco and the Voisey's Bay Hustle; Wrong Way: The Fall of Conrad Black (winner of the 2005 National Business Book Award); The Third Rail: Confronting our Pension Failures, which was co-authored by Jim Leech; and, now, Losing the Signal. In his 2005 New York Times review of Wrong Way, author Bryan Burrough praised her as "long one of Canada's best business writers." She lives in Toronto with her husband and two sons.

Sean Silcoff

SEAN SILCOFF is co-author of Losing the Signal, the internationally acclaimed, best-selling book about the rise and fall of BlackBerry, and a business writer with The Globe and Mail. He previously worked at the National Post as well as Canadian Business Magazine, where he oversaw publication of the inaugural edition of the Rich 100, the magazine’s annual survey of Canada’s wealthiest people. Sean is a two-time winner of the National Newspaper Award, the Montreal Economic Institute Economic Education Prize and the Hon. Edward Goff Penny Memorial Prize for Young Canadian Journalists. He led The Globe and Mail’s coverage of the fall of BlackBerry. Sean has a business degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, ON and a journalism degree from Carleton University in Ottawa, ON. He lives in Chelsea, QC with his wife and three children.