From Wall Street to Main Street, John Brooks, longtime contributor to the New Yorker, brings to life in vivid fashion 12 classic and timeless tales of corporate and financial life in America
What do the $350 million Ford Motor Company disaster known as the Edsel, the fast and incredible rise of Xerox, and the unbelievable scandals at General Electric and Texas Gulf Sulphur have in common? Each is an example of how an iconic company was defined by a particular moment of fame or notoriety; these notable and fascinating accounts are as relevant today to understanding the intricacies of corporate life as they were when the events happened.
Stories about Wall Street are infused with drama and adventure and reveal the machinations and volatile nature of the world of finance. John Brooks’ insightful reportage is so full of personality and critical detail that whether he is looking at the astounding market crash of 1962, the collapse of a well-known brokerage firm, or the bold attempt by American bankers to save the British pound, one gets the sense that history repeats itself.
Five additional stories on equally fascinating subjects round out this wonderful collection that will both entertain and inform listeners... Business Adventures is truly financial journalism at its liveliest and best.
©2014 John Brooks (P)2014 Random House Audio
Yes- I have already recommended it to my parents.
The original book was written in the 1970s. The stories are about business in that time period and earlier. There is a lot of information that is foundational to how business is conducted today but you will also see how it has evolved. The chapter on Texas Gulf was especially interesting to me because I grew up in Timmins.
I wish there would be an abridged version of this book. This was way too long compared to its actual contents. Pages after pages were wasted on describing irrelevant background where the moral of the story would turn out to be marginally significant. Waste of time in my view.
Old specialities for people with a lot of time available and with historical interest. Could be shortened to 25 % without problems. The Ford marketing mistake is OK.
I found this book on Bill Gates favorites ever list. I guess it was recommended to him by Warren Buffet. Gates said he read it once in the 70's and again recently and thought the lessons were timeless and applicable. I'm trying to figure out exactly what he saw....😝
The book is subtly humorous as the narrator nonchalantly describes harrowing tales of business failure and triumph. Business Adventures is also a eerily relevant reflection on the unpredictability of the world, and how profoundly uncontrollable the business world can be.
It's almost like reading the economist, if the economist was objective, humorous, and had a personable humanity.
I found the most rewarding adventure to be about the accidentally cornering of Piggly Wiggly - listen and enjoy.
What us rhyme silly tales of business history!
Very entertaining - contains a lot of wisdom.
Mike @ CustomChess.com
The book was well written and well performed. The 12 stories cover a wide range of topics, some that will inevitably be more interesting than others to any given person. Therefore, some parts of the book may seem boring, while others are gripping. All in all it is a good book and it gives a great overview of the inner workings of business, finance, and Wall Street.... at least as it was in the past.
This works for me. I have a broad and deep interest in business and financial history, and I'm always snagging stories from here and there and fitting the parts together into deeper understandings. Sometimes the author nails it here -- as in, giving a great plain-language explanation of central banking and international currency markets (and some wild swings, say, in the pound sterling, presaging better-known recent ones, featuring the US and UK's coordinated battles with speculators, trying to reduce volatility in those markets). I always like a different but clarifying look at such things, from a bit different angle. But, this is a snapshot from the later-mid-1960s, so (like reading some older books or watching some older movies) it helps to have some bigger background and context. The earlier stories do fit well as prequels to more recent ones. This was written on the eve of the US dollar falling off the gold standard, and the emergence of the post-Bretton Woods world (things the author only guesses at, prospectively), so having more of the story helps.
Elsewhere there is a story about price-fixing among certain manufacturers in the 60s. These scofflaws got their knuckles rapped, somewhat, under the glare of public and governmental attention. Then there ensued the corporate game (also well known among politicians) in moments of scandal, of artfully evading responsibility. We have a ringside seat as this art is practiced by various execs under the hot spotlight. What a rhetorical dance! This is a fine tutorial (all done tongue in cheek) for anyone, I suppose, looking to glide through a public grilling in congressional hearings and parading before angry righteous citizens wielding pitchforks and torches, without breaking stride or losing that elite "teflon" panache (and somehow trying to sound ethical and even noble, or as a last resort, gullible, but no, not culpable!). I find plenty amusing and enlightening here. But the choice of topics is fairly random, and it does suffer from flat spots.
sorry Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, this isn't that great a business book. The book is very well written and a good read. But a huge portion of the book is very seriously dated and while there are timeless elements, there is simply too much talking about 1960-era issues that become distracting. I would STRONLY encourage an abridged version of this book on Audible as with some thoughtful editing, this could be a very good book today.
Plenty of good business cases that you've heard of if you took a business class.
Was very disappointed with this book but it does have some good lessons. Most are very dry and boring and even the ones I expected to be more insightful were disappointing. Much more banking/markets heavy than I expects.
Not bad for those just starting to study business or banking and markets.
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