Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com
4,6 von 5 Sternen
5,0 von 5 SternenA great read.
24. August 2018 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Having worked at BAC during this time and only being there for 1 year a lot of my questions about how the company was run had been confirmed. It was clearly a boys club starting with Lewis. The book confirmed the atmosphere, the constant change in management, HR running the business units and people, the shock about acquiring ML, the friction between Lewis and Thain. It's a behemoth organization that was hard to navigate due to the constant changes. Moynihan was a great choice to run the organization.
5,0 von 5 SternenI feel like I really am beginning know
29. März 2017 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
I just started and have done a hundred pages or so. I find those page to be very detailed, descriptive, and fair. Fair was important to me in this case because the head of Merrill-Lynch was a Black guy (me too) and I wanted to see if racial problems lead to the "demise" of ML. (I was aware that the firm lost a huge "racial" suit involving my personal advisor in Nashville.) As written, so far, everything is detailed, and specific to the problems ("non-racial") in the firm. Several screw-ups are referred to (as well as several dedicated professionals). I am enjoying reading about the firm in such detail. I feel like I really am beginning know, so far, what happened at the firm. I will definitely continue reading.
4,0 von 5 SternenSolid and sharply written - by Greg Fleming????
13. März 2016 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
This is a deeply researched and briskly written account of the demise of Merrill Lynch amidst the general market turmoil of 2008//9. It does a good job of setting context - both in terms of the culture and history of the two firms as well as the personal motivations and incentives the key players brought to the table. If you don;t have much background in financial matters - you will still understand the book and get the bigger picture.
My irritation with it - is Farrell actually Greg Fleming in disguise?? The book was incredibly skewed to Greg the Superhero angle. Here is Greg conceiving of the deal before anyone else. Here is Greg getting $30 a share. Here is Greg waiving his bonus. Here is Greg being offered a job which would humiliate John Thain. Here is Greg, Here is Greg.
4,0 von 5 SternenPlease make sure we don't forget what O'Neal did!
13. Februar 2011 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
So how to review a book with absolutely no redeeming characters? Where the only ones that look remotely ok were only such because they talked to the writer more than the others.
The book itself is a worthy history of Merrill Lynch's last 18 months as independent company and it's rocky merger with Bank of America. It shows the management to be self-centered, myopic and completely incompetent. Amazingly everyone gets out alive. Stan O'Neil gets $160mm. John Thain is the CEO of CIT. Greg Flemming is one of the top executives at Morgan Stanley. Bob McCann similarly positioned at UBS. Ahmass Fakahany the former head of Risk and Co-President is now a NY restauranteur. Even the chief culprit Osman Semerci seems to be the CEO of a $2 billion Hedge Fund in London (Duet). Savings are wiped out. Thousands and thousands of people lose jobs and houses and strangely those at the center of the storm are doing just fine.
The book is a page turner. There are moments of real drama. The firm, the banking business and the economy are all sinking. The key subjects at Merrill and BoA are well profiled. The conflicts and live timeline given a "novel" feel to the storyline. At certain points it feels oddly distant from the events of the day. For example it barely discusses the spring of 2008 which was a time of huge uncertainty. Instead of telling us again how certain people felt I think he could have tied more of what was going on around Merrill at that time. But still good pace throughout.
The book lacks technical detail. Other reviewers have mentioned this. Given it's now 2011 there are probably enough books explaining the "what" of the crisis where perhaps this is the "who". But I'd say this suffers a bit as a result. In talking about Merrill's losses in the fall of 2008 there is scant detail on how it happened and yet this was the biggest loss by far - $18 billion and the CDO positions had already been sold. Michael Lewis showed in "The Big Short" that you can still write a great book and include some good details on what are the investments that when wrong without boring people.
I thought the writer was also a bit soft on Thain. They talked about his expert handling of the LTCM wind down from 1998 but there are famous stories of Goldman front running that unwind from months before that fund crashed. Wouldn't it put Thain's character in a different light to be more skeptical of his role? I would also doubt that he was the key driver of Goldman's mortgage trading in the 1980's.
Secondly he seems overly sympathetic to Greg Fleming. On at least a dozen occasions he talks about the 15 or 16 years that Flemming has put into the firm only to see it blow up. Come on. 16 years is not that long. Mentioning it once or twice is ok but it is not a badge or a special amount of time, particularly when you're making unbelievable amounts of money. Please remember everyone is in it for the money.
His descriptions of Bank of America culture were fascinating. Clearly they had an inferiority complex overlayed with enormous bravado; seeing themselves as outside the New York banking scene and resentful of being seen as less sophisticated being based in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are not a bad bank by any means but clearly different from their major competitors. Given that Countrywide really buried that bank Farrell could have spent some time on it. It really was the Achilles heel that ruined Lewis' career. Ken Lewis probably could have survived the losses and ugly politics on closing the Merrill acquisition if his own bank were in better shape.
In the end, this is a good book about the failure of Merrill Lynch and of how bad Stan O'Neil screwed up (repeatedly). There were colossal errors in judgement and a shocking misunderstanding of risk management. Risk management is 50% systems (which Merrill clearly did not have) and 50% honest dialogues with qualified practitioners which also did not exist. HOPEFULLY something is learned from it. If nothing else O'Neil should be kicked to the curb and stepped on (repeatedly).
4,0 von 5 SternenHubris once again destroys a career and reputation, not to mention a storied company.
29. Dezember 2010 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Farrell has written a very detailed and insightful overview of the events around Bank of America's purchase of Merrill Lynch. As with many of the books written on the financial crisis it details how ignorance around the basic principles of prudent risk management resulted in catastrophic events. Whether the ignorance was driven by greed, stupidity, or blind faith in the market continually going up (or a combination thereof), becomes almost irrelevant, but this book does a great job of investigating and demonstrating the results that came about as a result of less than ideal decisions. It delves deeply into the psyche and decisions made by O'Neal, Lewis, Thain, Semerci etc and how these eventually played out. The author is also not afraid to assign blame and I found his analysis to be fair and balanced. Farrell has certainly invested a great deal of effort into researching the events and characters, and then moulding these into a coherent and entertaining book. The book has a great amount of detail and information, but flows very well, holding the reader's attention from the first page to the last.