Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street

Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street

Posted by jack_miller | Published 7 months ago



With 865 ratings

By: John Brooks

Purchased At: $24.95

Business Adventures remains the best business book I’ve ever read.” —Bill Gates, The Wall Street Journal

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.
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.

- noel_bennet

Yes, like many people I read that Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both consider this book 1 of the best ever written. In fact, as the story goes, Bill Gates got his copy from Warren Buffett.

Other than the interesting history in the book, it is of limited value in the current business world. It would be a can to reading about how hard it was treating medical diseases in the 1900s before the invention or discovery of antibiotics and anesthesia. It's interesting but of historical interest only. There's very little that can be gleaned or used in today's current and modern world.

I'm old enough to remember all of the anecdotes and stories that are told. However, even I can understand how many of the descriptions and explanations of the business issues are not applicable in today's world.

Read it for idle curiosity. Do not expect any great insight.

- kaiya_collins

I’m really not sure why this book is still heralded. It’s extremely dated and frankly, not that insightful. If you’re younger than 70 and have been in business or are a student of business, you can skip this.

- seamus_kim

I originally purchased this book because of Bill Gates' affinity towards it, and I must say, "Business Adventures" did not disappoint. Each story is a rich tale given in eloquent prose by John Brooks about the machinations of industry and the men who controlled it in the 1950's and 1960's. It's amazing to see the parallels of today's market through the pages of this book. Everything is so cyclical. I guess there really is nothing new under the sun.

- lillie_rogers

Not your typical business book as you must dig for the lesson from each story. That can also be a good thing as it challenges and develops your thinking process. The author is a very talented writer and while the stories are a bit dated, most pull you into a specific sphere of the business world very quickly. It is up to you to learn from that point on what the best lesson is from each as you get an interesting insider look into a myriad of business and government vignettes.

- conor_davis

The book details twelve stories from the business world, mostly occurring in the 1950s and 1960s. These stories cover such subjects as the infamous failure of the Ford Edsel, the experience of a few large companies' stockholders meetings, the rise of Xerox, a particularly fluctuating market in May 1962, among others.

For the most part, I found this book to be quite an interesting look at various business and financial stories. The author is quite thorough in his descriptions and also looks at several of the people involved. In some cases, he seems to have actually interviewed several of the individuals involved in these stories.

The only real criticism I have is that the twelfth story, covering attempts by bankers to save the British pound in the 1960s, was extremely long-winded and somewhat difficult to follow.

Overall, I thought this book was a good look at some interesting stories from the business world. I would recommend this book to those interested in business.

- gregory_howard

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have spoken very highly of the book. I've read some really good business books so I figured, why not, let's add another to the collection. Boy was I disappointed. I couldn't get through it all. It's hard to understand who exactly the intended audience is for. It's boring. Meh!

- zoey_lewis

A great collections of some amazing business events from the 1960's. Truly timeless in their appropriateness in a business context. I highly recommended this book to anyone interested in business and ethics to a large degree.

- kane_phillips

I had heard, as I think everyone else has, that Business Adventures was a favourite 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.

Details may change. People do not.

- lucille_murphy

Try not to set your expectations too high before reading this book, it's not going to give you any insight into how to become a billionaire and the use of the word adventures has nothing to do with sex, drugs or rock & roll.

The author discusses 12 real stories played out in real time, in great detail, focus in facts rather than conjecture. If you love the devil in the detail like me you should really enjoy this book, otherwise you will get bored.

Would love to see an update to this book (by another author) with some more modern stories, like Enron, Worldcom, Lehman, Stanford (2009) etc...

- taylor_lopez

The tales are well-researched and informative but it's a bit boring and can be hard to plod through.

- carla_parker

Had a great time reading this book. 2nd chapter didnt particularly interest me but made up with the rest!

- layton_clark

Dense and well written stories that are history. In the 60s the stock market was a fraction of what it is now and the world of the internet, high speed computing and autonomous vehicles didn’t exist.

- giselle_peterson

Often mentioned by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. this truly is one super book that sucks you into the moments of madness as if you were there.

- joey_mendoza

Three chapters in and I m not over the moon. Although the subjects covered should be exciting the author fails to be crisp and to the point. Unlike M Lewis he is unable to describe the topics in detail whilst remaining to the point. Will likely give up soon.

- zaire_campbell

It wasn't what I'd thought it would be.

- callen_cooper

Personally I found this book more enjoyable when listening with the audio upgrade version. I feel this is because some of the stories can go in to a lot of detail around figures and listening seemed to help with the flow.

- anne_howard

Not an insight into modern business, but an interesting historical perspective that can provide a valuable background to today's environment. It's also relatively easy to absorb.

- tori_castillo

One of those books that you will remember having read many years later. 12 fine tales of business adventures and lessons that sound relevant even today in day to day corporate life. I can't wait for someone to write a sequel picking up a dozen tales from 1970s onwards.

- francesca_wright

For those whos native language is not english might be difficult to understand all but its very interesting to read! Great stories

- haylee_ramos

Easy and enjoyable to read, this book takes you through many businesses issues, legal, financial, marketing and product development, so you learn by observation. It's written in a journalistic style, recounting true cases, many being key in shaping laws. Whilst a little dated now, it's illuminating actual history which is riveting to understand

- jaxen_sanchez

Great book with great insights

- cadence_lee

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