File Name: Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street.pdf
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107 of 113 people found the following review helpful.
Anecdotes on Business
By H. Roulo
I had heard, as I think everyone else has, that Business Adventures was a favorite book of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. I read the ebook, and I understand a print version will be forthcoming in September.
This book makes me feel as though I'm sitting at the knee of my grandfather, listening to wise recollections.
A writer of articles in the 1950's and 1960, many for the New Yorker, the author intelligently and thoughtfully steps through 12 events, one per chapter.
At first I thought perhaps I was particularly dense and wasn't getting the message. What held these stories together? Eventually, I realized that the author is not driving home a point, selling anything, or giving advice. His observations leave room for the reader to consider events, their connections, their parallels to today, the importance of character, and the question of morality in business. It was refreshing not to be told what to think.
I enjoyed the stories of Ford's Edsel, Piggly Wiggly, Xerox, Goodrich vs Latex.
The chapter on the federal income tax is particularly relevant, given the wide-spread debate about taxes and modern conversations about the 1%.
John Brooks' perspective is firmly rooted in the past, when the book was written, and provides readers opportunity for a sense of omniscience since we can consider ramifications the author himself could not be aware of, at that time.
Times may change. People do not.
102 of 108 people found the following review helpful.
It's Great to Have This Title Back
By Stephen M. St Onge
Back in the Late Bronze Age, aka the 1970s, I discovered John Brooks and his marvelous accounts of Wall Street and USAmerican business. Brooks died in 1993, and his books have been half-forgotten. I'm very pleased to see this title rereleased in digital format, and I hope all his works are appear soon as eBooks.
This book casts a wide net over the USAmerican business and investing scene, always with with and insight. There's a lot to be learned here, as Brooks examines the three-day stock market mini-crash of 1962, how Ford lost a bundle on the Edsel, how GE broke the anti-trust laws, how Xerox became very wealthy (later, Xerox became very broke, but that was after this article) . . . all great stuff.
Rereading these after forty years, I'm impressed with Brooks ability to get to the bottom of things, especially when there is no "bottom". Why did the New York Stock exchange lose over 5% one day in 1962, then rally suddenly? No one really knows, but Brooks examines the chaos of that day, and dissects the explanations offered after the fact — while noting that BEFORE the fact, none of the explainers had a clue what was about to happen. Interspersed are comments from THE first book ever written on stock markets, "Confusion of Confusions", by Josseph Penso de la Vega (no product link; apparently Amazon doesn't want to use its reviews to sell books other than the one being reviewed anymore). Brooks demonstrates how little has changed over the centuries.
And so it goes through the rest of the essays. Facts and insight, presented with wit, charm, and grace. Highly recommended.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful.
I'm not sure why Bill Gates rates this book so highly
By Jack Wilshere
This is a great collection of stories. But there are a few snoozers in here that reduce my rating to 3 stars. It's not that Mr. Brooks isn't a good writer. In fact, his prose is refreshing. It's just that some of the chapters are based on subjects that are frankly, not very interesting
On the plus side, there are some gems in here: the story of the Edsel, Xerox and Piggly Wiggly are standouts and my be worth reading for their value alone.
Also, I like that Mr. Brooks takes a journalistic approach to his writing. Most of it is set in the 1960's and it is refreshing to read about business from someone who doesn't have an axe to grind or some lesson to teach. This is not Jim Collins looking for patterns of success.
What is remarkable about these stories, is how little has changed in the past fifty years. Obviously technology and communication are completely advanced since the 1960's, but much of the execution - marketing, product development, shareholder value, securities investing - is not much different.
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