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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I'm an I-Banker and enjoy reading biographies of exceptional businessmen. Sandy Weill's recent biography comes to mind as a personal favorite. Since Tom Weisel is an exceptional athlete with many interests similar to mine, I thought I would enjoy this read. Frankly, it's very painful.
First of all, the two-page summary at the end of each chapter written by Weisel would have been a great framework around which to write a biography. But the actual chapters read like a paid self-promotion or someone in the throes of hero-worship. The author consistently talks of what a great athlete Weisel is while making sure he mentions that Weisel never brags about his athletic prowess. No need to given that the writer will glorify the results. Even concerning business the writer manages to find a positive in every event. For example, the original partners split up and start a competing firm but there is no attempt to mention if Weisel's faults could have had any impact. Of course, per this book, he has no faults.
Weisel eventually merges the successful but controversial Montgomery Securities into Nationsbank but after trumpeting this as a great deal, it merges poorly so blame is completely placed on Nationsbank. Now, of course anyone living this large competitive life must trade-in for a 24-year-old trophy wife when he is 49. Unfortunately there is never a significant mention of the break-up of his first marriage other than what a great father he is and how involved he is with all his kids.
This book is so filled with braggadocio that if Weisel were really interested in keeping the profile of a respected businessman, he would have done his best to limit his exposure to this book. Tom Weisel may very well be a great man but great men do not need to have this much said about them in this forum. I'm shocked he agreed to allow his name to be included in this work, as it is not becoming.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am in a unique position to comment on this book as I was the copyeditor on it. Previous to this I could not reveal my opinions, but I am no longer employed by the company I worked for at that time, and ever since I read this piece of puke, I've wanted to tell somebody--anybody!--how horrific it is. Thom Weisel is a royal b**tard with an equally king-sized ego, and about 99% of the book is him bragging on himself. Don't think Brandt is the author--Thommy boy had his hands firmly on the reins the whole way through, BELIEVE ME BECAUSE HE MADE FIFTY THOUSAND CHANGES AT EVERY STAGE OF THE PUBLICATION PROCESS!!! Note also that almost every one of these changes was to make the book even more self-aggrandizing than it started out. If you love reading the inflated-headed ramblings of a narcissistic egotist, this one is for you, but if bloated self-smooching turns you off the least bit, prepare to never stop throwing up.

And now, for my final question: Why doesn't he just sleep with Lance Armstrong and get it over with?

I feel so much better now!
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
The right Instinct is to preserve your Capital and not buy this item. Calling this effort a book is unfair to other books. It is more properly viewed as a press release. The author spends most of the pages repeating how handsome and athletic Thom (don't call me Tom) Weisel is, and shares very little about the factors, decisions, etc that have made him uniquely successful in building two leading banks. This text imparts more information on Lance Armstrong than it does on the tech banking industry. There is a book to be written on Montgomery and TWP, but this is not it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Tom Weisel is a cancer to society, not only for destroying US cycling but also for all his questionnable IPO's. Weisle at least, ws able to find a new niche to some of the best products Amgen ever made...
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7 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a well-written, informative book, surprisingly so considering it's an authorized biography of an investment banker. Wiesel is a legend, and this book let's me see what makes him tick, revealing a bitmore I think than he might actualy want us to see. I found it fascinating to see the link between investment bankers and atheletes until I realized both are among the most competitive activities in our society. I was astounded at what this hard-boiled wheeler and dealer did for Lance Armstrong when no one else would go near him. Maybe he has a heart of gold, or may he just saw a good investment where others didn't. It's well written and never lags. I recommend it to anyone who wants to see the insider of investment banking, from an unsentimental and informative perspective.
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3 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Authorized biographies are usually lovefests. This wasn't. It was honest, revealing and unsentimental. More a memoir than a biography,I found this a surprisingly excellent look inside the mind and life of someone I do not greatly admire into a business I do not greatly admire. I wish it had dealt more with the ethical issues that have gone awry in the investment banking community, but I got a clear picture of who Thom Wiesel is and found it a really interesting link between what compels athletes and investment bankers. I got to understand how it works and the vital role they play in the basic system of taking companies public. It is a well-written, fast-paced book.I never lost interest.
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5 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I loved "Capitol Instincts" and you will, too. It is a quick, enjoyable and often very funny read. For those of us who know far too little about the world of investment banking (and for that matter, art investing and high level sports) it is an easy way to gain insight and important knowledge.
I enjoyed the way Brandt took you from the history up to hot off the press issues changing the face of banking today, as well as very intriguing backroom dealmaking. He reveals a master dealmaker at work.
Weisel's sections keep the info coming, with his pointed valuable advice to entrepreneurs and investors.
The sections on sports and art were fascinating. Again, Brandt delivers depth with fascinating details and insight on his subjects. And it is fast and fun all the way.
Buy it, read it, send copies to all your friends. This book is hot, fast, easy and fun to read!
I can't wait to see what this hot author will tackle next!
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3 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Amid the expanding shelves of business biographies and dot com tell-alls, this portrait of Silicon Valley investment banker Thomas Weisel stands almost mythically taller than the others. It's not just that Weisel survived and thrived despite first the disastrous sale of his company to NationsBank and then the tech downturn. Nor is it just that Weisel is a bold and canny business thinker and a charismatic leader who inspires loyalty and near-reverence among employees and clients alike. More than anything, what fascinates is the feedback loop between Weisel's workaholic style and his consuming passion for skiing and cycling--a passion that led him first to successfully reconfigure the U.S. Olympic ski team organization, and then to put together the winning U.S. Postal Service cycling team led by Lance Armstrong. One only wonders how such an obviously brilliant man could have such simpleminded and even incoherent libertarian politics.
Author Richard Brandt, a veteran technology journalist from Business Week and the now-defunct Upside Magazine, makes use of his long intimacy with the tech sector business world to situate Weisel's career within the historical context of Silicon Valley's rise, hysterical boom and return to reality.
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