Janet Gleeson /
Simon & Schuster /
SUMMARY: In the wake of Louis XIV's death, France's government teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. Enter the reformer in the unlikely guise of John Law -- a supremely charming and attractive Scot whose brilliant financial mind had thus far served only to make himself rich at the gaming tables. In one of the great image makeovers of all time, John Law recharged a devastated French economy, making him one of the most successful men in Europe. When Law founded a New World trading company, the synergistic combination of faith in his ideas and wild reports of the riches to be made in France's vast holdings in America sent the price of its shares through the roof. Investors drunk on dreams of instant wealth gave birth to the first boom-and-bust cycle -- one that created such vast wealth for shareholders that a new term was coined to describe them...millionaires.
Niall Ferguson /
EDITORIAL REVIEW: The first authoritative and compulsively readable history of the rise of this legendary banking dynastyIn his rich and nuanced portrait of the remark- able, elusive Rothschild family, Oxford scholar and bestselling author Niall Ferguson uncovers the secrets behind the family's phenomenal economic success. He reveals for the first time the details of the family's vast political network, which gave it access to and influence over many of the greatest statesmen of the age. And he tells a family saga, tracing the importance of family unity and the profound role of Judaism in the lives of a dynasty that rose from the confines of the Frankfurt ghetto and later used its influence to assist oppressed Jews throughout Europe. A definitive work of impeccable scholarship with a thoroughly engaging narrative, *The House of Rothschild* is a biography of the rarest kind, in which mysterious and fascinating historical figures finally spring to life. "A great biography." --*Time magazine*"Absorbing. . . .Their enthralling story has been told before, but never in such authoritative detail." --*The New York Times Book Review*"Niall Ferguson's rich and compelling new book . . . is a feast." --*The Wall Street Journal** Chosen by *Business Week* as one of the Best Business Books of 1998* A finalist for the National Jewish Book Award
William D. Cohan /
Random House Digital, Inc. /
From Publishers WeeklyThis astute if not entirely cohesive debut account from investigative journalist and former banker Cohan chronicles the long metamorphosis of Lazard Frères. Converted from a private partnership to a diversified, publicly traded company in 2005, it was the last great American investment bank to do so. That story intertwines with the career of Felix Rohatyn, Lazard's most famous and influential banker. Readers expecting a comprehensive financial history in the style of Ron Chernow (_The House of Morgan_) will find the firm's history from its founding as a New Orleans dry goods retailer in 1848 to the early 1960s covered in only two of the 21 chapters. Cohan discusses the following quarter century in more detail, but concentrates almost exclusively on Rohatyn and draws on the general business press. The chapters on the last 20 years contain fascinating and novel information, and rely extensively on the author's personal recollections (he worked at Lazard for six years) and interviews with associates, many of whom remain undisclosed. The result is three incompletely integrated works: a competent history of Lazard, a well-written biography of Rohatyn and an exciting insider's account of Wall Street infighting. (Apr.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Review“Cohan’s portrayal of the firm's dominant partners—whose gargantuan appetites and mercurial habits provide the unifying force behind the book’s operatic melodramas— makes this an epic . . . In fact,_ The Last Tycoons_ bears a striking resemblance to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s_ The Last Tycoon_.”_—New York Times Book Review_ “Breezy and highly readable . . . For those of us who enjoy high-level gossip (most people) and an inside look at the machinations, triumphs, failures, and foibles of some of Wall Street’s and America’s most exalted personages, Cohan’s book is entertaining and seductively engrossing.”—_Chicago Tribune_ “Cohan's thoroughness—he interviewed over 100 current and former bankers and assorted bigwigs—unearths a trove of colourful titbits, many quite racy . . . Illuminating are Mr. Cohan’s descriptions of the scheming, politicking, and general dysfunction that was Lazard.”—Economist “Cohan not only knows where the bodies are buried but got a guided tour of the graveyard.”_—Financial Times_“[_The Last Tycoons_] has sent a jolt through Lazard and the rest of Wall Street.”—Wall Street Journal From the Trade Paperback edition.
Liaquat Ahamed /
Penguin Group /
EDITORIAL REVIEW: **With penetrating insights for today, this vital history of the world economic collapse of the late 1920s offers unforgettable portraits of the four men whose personal and professional actions as heads of their respective central banks changed the course of the twentieth century** It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person’s or government’s control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions taken by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of the economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades. In *Lords of Finance*, we meet the neurotic and enigmatic Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, the xenophobic and suspicious Émile Moreau of the Banque de France, the arrogant yet brilliant Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, and Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, whose façade of energy and drive masked a deeply wounded and overburdened man. After the First World War, these central bankers attempted to reconstruct the world of international finance. Despite their differences, they were united by a common fear—that the greatest threat to capitalism was inflation— and by a common vision that the solution was to turn back the clock and return the world to the gold standard. For a brief period in the mid-1920s they appeared to have succeeded. The world’s currencies were stabilized and capital began flowing freely across the globe. But beneath the veneer of boom-town prosperity, cracks started to appear in the financial system. The gold standard that all had believed would provide an umbrella of stability proved to be a straitjacket, and the world economy began that terrible downward spiral known as the Great Depression. As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, the Great Depression and the year 1929 remain the benchmark for true financial mayhem. Offering a new understanding of the global nature of financial crises, *Lords of Finance* is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, of their fallibility, and of the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong.
William D. Cohan /
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group /
Review""_Destined to be a runaway bestseller...There's no shortage of Goldman clients, rivals, and former employees willing to explain how greed and recklessness led Goldman to become too big, too powerful, and even too conflicted to fail_. As one Goldman alum puts it, 'I saw what they did to their customers...They'd steal from them, rape them, anything they could do.' It worked like a charm...[Cohan] has produced the frankest, most detailed, most human assessment of the bank to date. Cohan portrays a firm that has grown so large and hungry that it's no longer long-term greedy but short-term vicious. And that's the wonder -- and horror -- of Goldman Sachs." -- _Businessweek "_[Money and Power_] offers the best analysis yet of Goldman's increasingly tangled web of conflicts_...The writing is crisp and the research meticulous, drawing on reams of documents made publicly available by congressional committees and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."-- The Economist "[E]xhaustive, revelatory account of the rise and rise of Goldman Sachs....engrossing....penetrating....Cohan revels in a good bust-up and lingers over anecdotes involving intrigue....All the senior partners still living spoke to him, often very candidly, and only a few from the next ranks seem to have refuse....a vast trove of material"--_The Financial Times_"A former Lazard Freres & Co. banker and newspaper reporter, Cohan brings the bank's sometimes 'schizophrenic' behavior to vivid life...Drawing on more than 100 interviews with clients, competitors and Goldman leaders including Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein, Cohan evinces an eye for telling images and an ear for deadpan quotations."-- Bloomberg "In MONEY & POWER, journalist and former investment banker William D. Cohan launches a quixotic quest to show that Mr. Blankfein and his peers are money-sucking evil-doers that came to their riches mostly by nefarious means...(_full disclosure: I was once a Goldman Sachs employee myself)._...Mr. Cohan's complaints against Goldman seem to be that it is 'ruthless' in pursuit of profit; doesn't do enough to protect its instutitional clients from making bad decisions; works too closely with government; too often advises clients on both sides of a deal; and skirts close to the line of 'insider trading'."-- Mary Kissel, _The Wall Street Journal_ Praise for HOUSE OF CARDS "Like Michael Lewis’s ‘Liar’s Poker’ and Bryan Burrough and John Helyar’s ‘Barbarians at the Gate,’ this volume turns complex Wall Street maneuverings into high drama that is gripping .... [His] account of its death spiral not only makes for riveting, edge-of-the-seat reading, but it also stands as a chilling cautionary tale about how greed and hubris and high-risk gambling wrecked one company."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times “Fascinating.”--_The Wall Street Journal_ "A riveting blow-by-blow account." --_The Economist_ "Masterfully reported....[Cohan] has turned into one of our most able financial journalists....he deploys not only his hands-on experience of this exotic corner of the financial industry but also a remarkable gift for plain-spoken explanation... It's impossible to do justice to his reportorial detail in a brief review..." --_Los Angeles Times_ Praise for THE LAST TYCOONS “Cohan’s portrayal of the firm's dominant partners—whose gargantuan appetites and mercurial habits provide the unifying force behind the book’s operatic melodramas— makes this an epic . . . In fact,_ The Last Tycoons_ bears a striking resemblance to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s_ The Last Tycoon_.”_—New York Times Book Review_“Breezy and highly readable . . . For those of us who enjoy high-level gossip (most people) and an inside look at the machinations, triumphs, failures, and foibles of some of Wall Street’s and America’s most exalted personages, Cohan’s book is entertaining and seductively engrossing.”—_Chicago Tribune_ “Cohan not only knows where the bodies are buried but got a guided tour of the graveyard.”_—Financial Times_“Rips the roof off of one of Wall Street’s most storied investment banks.”_—Vanity Fair_ Product DescriptionFrom the bestselling, prize-winning author of THE LAST TYCOONS and HOUSE OF CARDS, a revelatory history of Goldman Sachs, the most dominant, feared, and controversial investment bank in the world For much of its storied 142-year history, Goldman Sachs has projected an image of being better than its competitors--smarter, more collegial, more ethical, and far more profitable. The firm--buttressed by the most aggressive and sophisticated p.r. machine in the financial industry--often boasts of "The Goldman Way," a business model predicated on hiring the most talented people, indoctrinating them in a corporate culture where partners stifle their egos for the greater good, and honoring the "14 Principles," the first of which is "Our clients' interests always come first." But there is another way of viewing Goldman--a secretive money-making machine that has straddled the line between conflict-of-interest and legitimate deal-making for decades; a firm that has exerted undue influence over government since the early part of the 20th century; a company composed of "cyborgs" who are kept in line by an internal "reputational risk department" staffed by former CIA operatives and private investigators; a workplace rife with brutal power struggles; a Wall Street titan whose clever bet against the mortgage market in 2007--a bet not revealed to its clients--may have made the financial ruin of the Great Recession worse. As William D. Cohan shows in his riveting chronicle of Goldman's rise to the summit of world capitalism, the firm has shown a remarkable ability to weather financial crises, congressional, federal and SEC investigations, and numerous lawsuits, all with its reputation and its enormous profits intact. By reading thousands of pages of government documents, court cases, SEC filings, Freedom of Information Act papers and other sources, and conducting over 100 interviews, including interviews with clients, competitors, regulators, current and former Goldman employees (including the six living men who have run Goldman), Cohan has constructed a vivid narrative that looks behind the veil of secrecy to reveal how Goldman has become so profitable, and so powerful. Part of the answer is the firm's assiduous cultivation of people in power--dating back to 1913, when Henry Goldman advised the government on how the new Federal Reserve, designed to oversee Wall Street, should be constituted. Sidney Weinberg, who ran the firm for four decades, advised presidents from Roosevelt to Kennedy and was nicknamed "The Politician" for his behind-the-scenes friendships with government officials. Goldman executives ran fundraising efforts for Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush. The firm showered lucrative consulting or speaking fees on figures like Henry Kissinger and Lawrence Summers. Famously, and fatefully, two Goldman leaders-- Robert Rubin and Henry Paulson--became Secretaries of the Treasury, where their actions both before and during the financial crisis of 2008 became the stuff of controversy and conspiracy theories. Another major strand in the firm's DNA is its eagerness to deal on both sides of a transaction, eliding questions of conflict of interest by the mere assertion of their innate honesty and nobility, a refrain repeated many times in its history, most notoriously by current Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein's jesting assertion that he was doing "God's work." As Michiko Kakutani's New York Times review of HOUSE OF CARDS said, "Cohan writes with an insider's knowledge of the workings of Wall Street, a reporter's investigative instincts and a natural storyteller's narrative command." In MONEY & POWER, Cohan has marshaled all these gifts in a powerful and definitive account of an institution whose public claims of virtue look very much like ruthlessness when exposed to the light of day.
Brad Meltzer /
Warner Books /
Amazon.com ReviewWhat would you steal if you couldn't get caught? That's the tag line of Brad Meltzer's new thriller, which pits an ambitious young money manager against a corporate villain, whose intricate financial shenanigans accidentally put a huge chunk of dough right in front of a man who desperately needs it. Of course Oliver Caruso's conscience troubles him, but that doesn't keep him from letting his somewhat looser and less ethical brother convince him this is too good an opportunity to pass up. Meltzer's in interesting territory here, but in order to buy his premise, you have to believe that it's OK to steal if you have a good enough reason. This makes his protagonist, who narrates the novel, hard to root for and less than sympathetic. Despite this hollow ring, the book is nicely plotted and should please the author's enthusiastic fan club. --Jane AdamsFrom Publishers WeeklyThis giddy fourth thriller by Meltzer (The First Counsel) mixes up banking, cyber-theft and Disney World in a fast-paced, fresh-scrubbed tale of financial adventure. Oliver Caruso is sweating out some scut work for Henry Lapidus, bigwig at Greene & Greene, a private bank so exclusive clients require $2 million just to open an account. When Oliver and his younger brother, Charlie, find proof that Lapidus has been sabotaging Oliver's career plans, the brothers conspire to rip off the lingering balance from a deceased client's account. Silly boys! Not only is the local security goon Shep (formerly Secret Service) already chiseling in on their scam, the real Secret Service thugs are on the case almost immediately. The $3 million the Carusos swiped has somehow cybernetically blossomed overnight to over $300 million. Desperate to clear their names, the boys escape to Florida, following the money to the daughter of the deceased millionaire, a former tech wizard for Disney with a secret invention everyone in this book would happily kill for. The ins and outs of how to steal money that isn't really there makes for an interesting premise if you don't think about it too much, but two flaws detract from the action. First, the narrative POV jumps too often from one character to the next and from present tense to past, making for a choppy read. Second, the novel's juvenile flavor from the PI who bluffs her way into a building by claiming to be searching for her mother's favorite sock to the hapless schoolboy dialogue ("You touched her cookies, didn't you?") loudly proclaims its Hardy Boys heritage. (Jan. 8)Forecast: Meltzer's legion of fans will jump-start sales of his latest, prompted by massive television, print, radio and transit advertising campaigns and a 12-city author tour. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Tencent reading group