This essay is adapted from the new book “Davos Man: How the Billionaires Devoured the World.”
Marc Benioff seemed to be having an amazing pandemic.
The lockdowns were adding to his wealth — estimated at more than $10 billion — as his company, Salesforce, tallied record sales of software that allowed people to work from anywhere. The experience was nourishing his soul, delivering a poignant reminder that humanity was really one enormous family, united by its common vulnerability to a virus. And the ordeal was affirming a faith that Mr. Benioff had been preaching for decades: that business leaders were the ultimate guardians of human progress.
“In the pandemic, it was C.E.O.s in many, many cases all over the world who were the heroes,” Mr. Benioff said. “They’re the ones who stepped forward with their financial resources, their corporate resources, their employees, their factories, and pivoted rapidly — not for profit, but to