"The Go-Go Years is not to be read in the usual manner of Wall Street classics. You do not read this book to see our present situation reenacted in the past, with only the names changed. You read it because it is a wonderful description of the way things were in a different time and place."
From the Foreword by Michael Lewis
The Go-Go Years is the harrowing and humorous story of the growth stocks of the 1960s and how their meteoric rise caused a multitude of small investors to thrive until the devastating market crashes in the 1970s. It was a time when greed drove the market and fast money was being made and lost as the "go-go" stocks surged and plunged. Included are the stories of such high-profile personalities as H. Ross Perot, who lost $450 million in one day; Saul Steinberg's attempt to take over Chemical Bank; and the fall of America's "Last Gatsby", Eddie Gilbert.
©1999 John Brooks (P)2014 Random House Audio
"Those for whom the stock market is mostly a spectator sport will relish the book's verve, color, and memorable one-liners." (New York Review of Books)
"Please don't take The Go-Go Years too much for granted: As effortlessly as it seems to fly, it is nonetheless an unusually complex and thoughtful work of social history." (New York Times)
"Brooks' great contribution is his synthesis of all the elements that made the 1960s the most volatile in Wall Street history. And making so much material easily digestible for the uninitiated." (Publishers Weekly)
This ride through 60s Wall Street moves well, though unevenly here and there. Everywhere are telling details and anecdotes (matching cultural tidbits I remember, though I was a kid) in tales of every kind of operator from wiser financiers to high-fliers. There are countless wise observations of the fascinations and failings of markets, that are still meaningful today. In the foreword, Michael Lewis seems to damn it with faint praise, but I might speculate there's a little envy here, for the work of such an animated storyteller. As I listened to this, I also read "The Money Game" by (the pseudonymous) 'Adam Smith,' a similarly wry-and-sprightly-yet-wise look into many matching stories and aspects of 1960s markets and their denizens. I enjoyed mentally comparing this account of the mild downturn of 1970 (ending the "go-go years") with our Great Recession: quite amusing was the author's lamenting unemployment at a whopping 6-plus percent, and such awful privations for the middle class as replacement of steak meals on airliners with sandwiches, and cloth napkins with paper ones! Oh, the horror! I see many Americans in that time period as spoiled brats squandering their historic world supremacy and opportunities, veering into zany and infantile frivolities, and there is ample evidence of that here. But knowing the rest of the story, the way the 1970s did unfold into some serious macro-problems, casts a sobering light back onto this. I see more books by John Brooks recently released here, and I look forward enthusiastically to hearing them. This author can convey a lot of useful and meaningful content in an engaging and listenable, non-technical form.
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