Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chasing Goldman Sachs: How the Masters of the Universe Melted Wall Street Down . . . And Why They'll Take Us to the Brink Again

From Booklist
Business journalist McGee paints Wall Street as a utility with capital flowing through the system like an electric power grid, noting why it almost failed. She describes the pressure on the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 to bail out Wall Street firms, why Wall Street was called an “abstraction,” and how Wall Street morphed from an intermediary (raising capital) into a casino. Goldman Sachs was the master of its universe, generating average return on equity of 25.4 percent in the decade before the financial crisis, compared with 15 percent annually for four other firms during the same period. Other firms' CEOs chased Goldman Sachs, considering it their model for boosting their own personal wealth and keeping shareholders happy. The author reports, “When left to their own devices, financial services firms . . . will focus almost monomaniacally on what is in their own best interest, seeking out ways to take earn sichigher returns and recruit top talent by paying the most lavish bonuses and offering the most enticing perks. . . . They cannot help themselves.” Excellent book. --Mary Whaley

"...masterful...exceptionally lucid, well-written"--Washington Post

“…must-read on the venerable Wall Street firm [Goldman Sachs].”— Dow Jones’ FINS

“A disturbing account of how Goldman Sachs Group Inc. became a seductively successful Pied Piper, luring rival banks down a path to destruction.”— Bloomberg

“McGee’s book is full of entertaining and enlightening material.” — Financial Times

“McGee has taken it upon herself to make the case less through assertion or argument than through anecdote and appeal to authority.” — New York Times Book Review

“…a great look at a current event for the general reader.”— Library Journal

Click here to buy Chasing Goldman Sachs from

Turnaround : How Carlos Ghosn Rescued Nissan

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly

The facts of Magee's account are quite startling. Nissan, once a darling of the automotive world, with its cheap Datsun pickups and stylish, spunky Z roadsters, had, by the 1990s, fallen on hard times. Saddled with billions in debt, the company merged with Renault in 1999, and a Renault v-p, Carlos Ghosn, was named Nissan's new CEO. Routing not only every naysayer in the auto industry, Ghosn, who was born to Lebanese parents in Brazil, also had to overcome an entrenched Japanese business culture that at that time had seemed to stress perks, seniority and relationships over the bottom line. Given complete control over the company, Ghosn slashed costs and laid off employees, as was expected, but also instituted a sweeping reorganization of the entire company, announced an ambitious slate of new vehicles and promised that if Nissan was not profitable in 2000, he and his entire managerial staff would quit. Journalist Magee lays out Ghosn's management style, his mantra of complete transparency and responsibility, and all the tiny victories that went into returning Nissan to the top ranks of automakers. His approach can be hagiographic, but this profile of an astoundingly effective CEO (one of the few who might have actually earned his large salary) is sure to inspire.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Booklist
This the story of the dramatic comeback of Nissan under the leadership of CEO Carlos Ghosn. The ultimate international businessman, Ghosn is of Lebanese descent, born in Brazil and raised as a French citizen. He saved Renault first and then Nissan from bankruptcy by using drastic cost-cutting measures and by fully engaging the workforce from the ground up to stimulate creative innovation. In order to do so, he had to implement Western-style changes, such as plant closings and layoffs, and risk alienating a Japanese culture used to life-long job security. In 1999, Ghosn unveiled his Nissan Revival Plan and made headlines by pledging to quit if the ailing company was not profitable within one year. He proved all the doubters wrong when he announced that fiscal year 2000 was not only profitable but had posted the best financial performance in the company's history. Magee's report is a fine lesson in the adage that "there are no problems at a car company good products can't solve." David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.