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Business adventures Hardcover – 1969


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Weybright and Talley; First edition (1969)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006BYL30
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,479,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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


--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

This business classic written by longtime New Yorker contributor John Brooks is an insightful and engaging you-are-there look  into corporate and financial life in America. 
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Also, it reads very well and is simply enjoyable.
BookVodney
Mr. Bill Gates ( a co-founder of Microsoft), opined that this “remains the best business book I’ve ever read” in the July 12-13, 2014 “Wall Street J.” (p. C3).
William Garrison Jr.
Saw this book in the Bill Gates Blog as recommended reading, great suggestion by Mr.Gates.
Oscar Falcon Lara

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Stephen M. St Onge on July 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
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.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By H. Roulo on July 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By BookVodney on July 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a glimpse into the Golden 60's when American Industry provided a good prospect and promise for the middle class. The 1960's saw US leadership in technology, winning with the Race to the Moon, and a revolution in Women & Civil rights. Mr. Brooks spot lighted a series of case studies featuring US companies and stock market events from that Era. It's interesting that a copy machine made by Xerox cost the price of a stately home, and required a skilled technician to operate it. Also a fire extinguisher was provided as a standby if it caught on fire. Yet Xerox was a top line growth company that made its investors big returns.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Here is a new edition of a book first published in 1969 and, until recently, out-of-print. It consists of 12 "stories" written by John Brooks (1920-1993) that first appeared in The New Yorker. It is one of Warren Buffett's two favorite books, the other being Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor. About 20 years ago, Buffett gave his copy of it to Bill Gates who mentioned that in a Wall Street Journal (July 11, 2014). Now another lemming stampede is underway.

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.
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