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Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street Paperback – August 12, 2014
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“More than two decades after Warren [Buffett] lent it to me—and more than four decades after it was first published—Business Adventures remains the best business book I’ve ever read . . . Brooks’s deeper insights about business are just as relevant today as they were back then.” —Bill Gates, The Wall Street Journal
“The prose is superb. Reading Brooks is a supreme pleasure. His writing turns potentially eye-glazing topics (e.g., price-fixing scandals in the industrial electronics market) into rollicking narratives. He’s also funny. . . . He tells entertaining stories replete with richly drawn characters, setting them during heightened moments within the world of commerce.” —Slate
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Contrary to what many people apparently believe, however, the significance of this book has much less to do with either Buffett or Gates than it does with the value of Brooks' insights and how well he presents them. In my opinion, why Buffett and Gates think so highly of this book is of far greater importance than the fact they do so. I had read each of the essays as they appeared in the magazine and then re-read them recently after obtaining a copy of the new paperbound edition.
As I did so, I was again reminded of an incident that occurred years ago when one of Albert Einstein's colleagues at Princeton playfully chided him for asking the same questions every year on his final examinations. "Quite true. Each year, the answers are different."
Most of the historical material in Business Adventures is dated. How could it not be after 45 years? However, like Einstein's questions, the issues that Brooks discusses remain - if anything - more relevant today than they were in 1969. It is worth noting that the average length of the essays is about 37 pages. Brooks probes with surgical skill as he focuses on major crises in "the world of Wall Street" and what valuable lessons can be learned from each situation. Apparently Buffett and Gates took those lessons to heart.Read more ›
I like this book for the following reasons: it's speaks to America Innovation and investors who had the courage to hang in there and bear the up and downs. 2) It demonstrates the fact that leadership requires set- backs & those companies that accepted the risk will learn and succeed. 3) it gives me hope that stock market investors will learn from the in depth analysis Mr. Brooks brought forward that investing in truly motivated companies with the guts to innovate are worth putting forth your money & time to invest in. Finally it's a lesson into studying & seeking companies focused on producing leading edge products regardless of the quarterly bottom line, and weekly up & downs of global events.
The early printings of this book are impossible to find. Therefore, Mr. Buffet & Gates have come forth to reveal this lost treasure providing lessons from our past, and hopefully will instill a new (but old) way of thinking on how to seek and invest in top businesses. Reading this book has change my perspective on investing (maybe long term investing in the right companies is the way to go), and I truly feel it's worth the read if you plan to invest in the stock market. Also, it reads very well and is simply enjoyable.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting and informative. Easy to understand why it is one of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates favorite books.Published 12 days ago by Bruce Robertson
While it would be easy to criticize Business Adventures, a book first published generations ago, for detailing business stories that took place generations ago, the book still... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Levi Fender
Really liked the book great learning after every chapter. Helps you understand problems of companies you are not part of and how they recovered from them with just persistence. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
The most boring business book I have ever read. Warren, I am disappointing by your recommendation.Published 1 month ago by shlomi