Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street
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. Longtime New Yorker contributor John Brooks’s 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 readers . . . Business Adventures is truly financial journalism at its liveliest and best.
come out when he was in the thick of the Minerals & Chemicals work. I wondered whether, since it is such an uncritical paean to free enterprise, it had been construed by some people as a rationalization of his new career, and I asked about this. “Well, the ideas in the book were rather a shock to some of my husband’s New Deal friends, all right,” Mrs. Lilienthal said, a bit dryly. “They needed shocking, damn it!” Lilienthal burst out. He spoke with some heat, and I thought of the phrase in his
take him to work. During dinner, Hayes and his wife discussed subjects like the fact that their son, Tom, who was a senior at Harvard, would be arriving home the following day for his Thanksgiving recess. Afterward, Hayes settled down in an armchair to read for a while. In banking circles, he is thought of as a scholarly, intellectual type, and, indeed, he is scholarly and intellectual in comparison with most bankers; even so, his extra-banking reading tends to be not constant and all-embracing,
be from the technical standpoint, it has a vitality because of the very high level of compliance.” He paused for quite a long time, perhaps finding a flaw in his own argument; in the past, after all, universal compliance with a law has not always been a sign that it was either intelligent or just. Then he went on, “Looking over the sweep of years, I think we’ll come out well. Probably a point of crisis of some kind will make us begin to see beyond selfish interests. I’m optimistic that fifty
investments yielding, say, five per cent, he would have had a taxable income of $500,000, and at the 1964 rate, assuming that he was single, had no other income, and did not avail himself of any dodges, he would have to pay taxes of almost $367,000. The exemption on state and municipal bonds has been part of our income-tax law since its beginnings; it was based originally on Constitutional grounds and is now defended on the ground that the states and towns need the money. Most Secretaries of the
Shield, a vast, barren, forbidding area of eastern Canada that in the distant but not forgotten past had proved to be a fertile source of gold. What the Texas Gulf airmen were looking for was neither sulphur nor gold. Rather, it was sulphides—deposits of sulphur occurring in chemical combination with other useful minerals, such as zinc and copper. What they had in mind was discovering mineable veins of such minerals so that Texas Gulf could diversify its activities and be less dependent upon