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Charles Schwab: How One Company Beat Wall Street and Reinvented the Brokerage Industry Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0471660583 ISBN-10: 0471660582 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471660582
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471660583
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"a sharp, sometimes brutal and frequently entertaining book.... For investors, entrepreneurs and students of business, it is simply a good read." ("The Financial Times," November 8, 2002)

From the Inside Flap

May 1, 1975-Despite predictions of calamity and chaos from the high-priced, well-entrenched brokerage industry, the SEC formally abolishes fixed brokerage commission rates. In San Francisco, thousands of miles from Wall Street both literally and figuratively, a one-office firm triumphantly offers no sales commission brokers providing conflict-free discount brokerage services to all investors.

The rest is history. Over the past quarter-century, Charles Schwab & Co. has grown to become one of the world's largest and most influential financial institutions, holding over $850 billion in client assets in nearly eight million active accounts. Charles Schwab himself has become synonymous with the brokerage industry.

But who is Charles Schwab? And how did his unique combination of deeply felt values, disgust over the mistreatment of investors by traditional brokerage firms, and never-say-die moxie make him one of the most beloved-and accomplished-figures in the history of American finance?

Charles Schwab: How One Company Beat Wall Street and Reinvented the Brokerage Industry tells the entire story. Organized around five critical junctures when Charles Schwab & Co. was forced to either reinvent itself or become lost in a sea of fierce competitors, this investigation reveals the behind-the-scenes successes, defeats, and determination that fueled the unprecedented growth of America's leading broker. Charles Schwab covers the company's major phases of reinvention, including:
* Schwab's beginnings as a pure discount brokerage for the average investor who neither needs nor wants advice
* Schwab's transformation into an asset gatherer, revolutionizing the industry with its instantly successful Mutual Fund OneSource program
* Schwab's integration of the Web into its business model: Schwab becomes a clicks and mortar company
* Schwab's determination to be a full-service brokerage house for the affluent investor: Schwab abandons the no-advice and no-sales principles on which it was founded

Charles Schwab: How One Company Beat Wall Street and Reinvented the Brokerage Industry combines a fascinating look inside the walls of one of today's great financial services firms with a razor-sharp portrait of the deeply principled maverick who drove that firm from vision to reality. Both highly entertaining and brutally honest, it paints a compelling picture of the company that brought stock investing to Middle America-and shook the staid brokerage industry to its core. --This text refers to the Unbound edition.

More About the Author

John's latest book is What Every Angel Investor Wants You to Know: An Insider Reveals How to Get Smart Funding for Your Billion Dollar Idea.

That insider is my good friend Brian S. Cohen, the chairman of the New York Angels, and an irreplaceable guide to the intricacies of angel investing. We think this book provides best practices not only for entrepreneurs looking for angel investment, but for angel investors who welcome investing in the highest quality startups. Learn more at www.getfundedbyangels.com

My previous book was Effective Apology: Mending Fences, Building Bridges, and Restoring Trust. I'm happy to announce editions of Effective Apology in Spanish, Japanese and Korean translation.

John is an author, consultant, and speaker who acts as if every word is a moral choice. His work centers on identifying and describing best practices in leadership and promoting the highest standards of personal accountability, humility, and transparency. This book, which describes the benefits that leaders accrue when they embrace apology rather than shy from it, is squarely in that tradition. His personal credo is that different is not always better, but better is always different.

He is the author of over 15 books, including Charles Schwab: How One Company Beat Wall Street and Reinvented the Brokerage Industry , 50 High-Impact Speeches & Remarks: Proven Words You Can Adapt for Any Business Occasion, and the NY Times bestseller Net Ready: Strategies for Success in the E-conomy (with Amir Hartman and John Sifonis). His career books include The Manager's Book of Questions: 751 Great Questions for Hiring the Best Person, How to Ace the Brainteaser Job Interview, and 201 Best Questions to Ask On Your Interview. As a corporate ghostwriter, John has distinguished himself as a writing partner to a number of Fortune 1000 executives who credit him for his willingness to embrace the hectic and unpredictable schedules of busy executives.

John began his writing career in Washington DC at a high-tech advertising and public relations agency. For the past 30 years he has been the principal of Kador Communications, providing editorial assistance to dozens of corporate and media clients. John's insights have been featured in more than one hundred magazines and newspapers, including The Chicago Tribune, Computerworld, Working Women, and Business to Business. John has columns in Chief Executive, Registered Rep, and Human Resources Executive.

John holds a master's degree in public relations from The American University and an undergraduate degree from Duke University. John was born in Budapest, Hungary. He came to the U.S. when he was six and settled with his family in New York City. John currently lives in Winfield, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Anna Beth Payne, a psychologist at a university counseling center. He has two children, Dan, CTO of Keen IO, a startup in San Francisco, and Rachel, an account executive at Blue Fountain Media in New York City. When he isn't writing, John likes to fence, a sport which he has practiced since high school.

To inquire about having John speak about apology at your event or if you have questions about any of his writing services, email him. John welcomes your questions and suggestions at www.jkador.com

Customer Reviews

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This is one of the most compelling business books I've ever read.
Gregory F. Brown
This business book is written in an enjoyable, easy-to-read format that avoids the usual jargon found in many business books.
Robert Kadar
If clients need a service or product, they can call the company themselves.
Mariusz Skonieczny

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Susan M. Whyte on September 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As an ex-Schwab employee (1991-2000), I recommend the book highly. Having firsthand knowledge of the people and many of the events that were reported in the book I found the historical portions of the book to be accurate.

John Kador has done an excellent job of capturing the history, heroic vision and ethics of Schwab (both Chuck and the company) and how the company revolutionized the discount brokerage industry and the distribution of mutual funds. Also, I thought his comments and perspectives into the many challenges the company overcame, and current hurdles to overcome, were incredibly insightful.

John writes in a narrative style that reads more like a fiction novel than what one might expect for a "business book". As I said, I'm an ex-employee and still found it to be a page-turner. I couldn't wait to read what else John had accurately captured about Schwab's long history. I have recommended the book to all of the Schwab employees and ex-employees I keep in touch with.

The book was written prior to the most recent re-emergence of Chuck Schwab as sole CEO of the company, so much has changed since the book was finished, but I still believe it is a great read for anyone who is interested in the history of one of the few revolutionary Fortune 500 companies.

This one is worth buying. You won't regret it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark H. Josefczyk on February 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As an ex-Schwab employee (1988 - 1996) I really enjoyed reading this book. I worked for or with several of the folks interviewed and was at HQ in San Fran. the day after the earthquake--pretty incredible day! I have recommended it to all of my ex-Schwab buddies.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mariusz Skonieczny on August 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
The brokerage industry is filled with companies who are out for themselves, and the only thing that counts to them is money. I really admire Charles Schwab for wanting to be different and put clients ahead of his and his firm's interest. Contrary to other firms, employees at his firm are paid salaries instead of commission so there is no conflict of interest. The company's salespeople do not make sales calls. If clients need a service or product, they can call the company themselves.

I highly recommend this to readers. I found this book very delightful to read. If you are unhappy with your current broker or advisor, there are other avenues.

- Mariusz Skonieczny, author of Why Are We So Clueless about the Stock Market? Learn how to invest your money, how to pick stocks, and how to make money in the stock market
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on December 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Business writer John Kador describes the evolution of Charles Schwab & Company, a former discount brokerage blessed with the ability to transform itself through four different incarnations. Kador emphasizes Schwab's commitment to integrity and customer service, a code that enabled it to prevail despite upheavals and threats. While the book focuses on the company, the running portrait of Chuck Schwab gives it a personal core. Kador highlights Schwab's concern with exercising his values and leading a highly principled business amid an often shady industry he saw as corrupted by greed. Kador's engaging narrative style is designed to inform and entertain general investors, executives and managers. At times, the discussion of Chuck Schwab and his company sounds almost too laudatory, as if the book is an in-house publicity piece. We from getAbstract recommend that readers should take all that sugar with a grain of salt, given this otherwise compelling dish.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Leilani E. Allen on November 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent business book�part personality profile, part corporate history and part industry analysis. It�s the story of the rise of the discount brokerage industry as created by Charles Schwab and the mavericks who worked for his eponymous company. It�s a fascinating story filled with interesting characters and more twists and turns than the latest Patterson thriller. Along the way, it delivers some worthwhile commentary about management and leadership and how companies rise and fall. Kador bases his narrative on pre-published sources, then livens it up with quotes and anecdotes from a large number of sources. The result is an easy-to-read (and occasionally humorous) book that just about succeeds in providing a �fly on the wall� record of the inside politics and personalities of the firm.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dan Kador on October 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
While the folks at Schwab will probably wince once or twice as they read this book, if they're smart they'll see this as a valuable learning opportunity. Companies pay consultants millions of dollars to get what business writer John Kador provided at no cost to the company: a fearless inventory of how the world perceives Charles Schwab & Co. For the most part, it's an extremely positive perspective. This book is a refreshing departure from the countless business histories that are written for no other purpose than to profit from exposing the personal frailties of the rich and famous. Instead, author Kador provides an inspiring account of how a middle class boy from California worked his way up from raising chickens to the rich CEO of the largest discount brokerage in the world. Unlike the Wall Street celebrities of the 1990s whose quest for personal gain caused them to look no further than the price of a company's stock, Schwab forged his path to success by automating the mundane details of his brokerage firm's back office operations. Throughout, Schwab insisted on ethical practices that eliminated the conflicts of interest that created so much heart ache for brokerages and investors alike. The book describes how Schwab leveraged these values to build an organization to help investors help themselves. The book suggests that Schwab does best under adversity. If so, the company has its work cut out for it. While Kador is optimistic about the company's opportunities, he lays out a number of challenges the company must rise to. Now its Schwab's turn. Notoriously thin-skinned, the company has a choice. It can swallow hard and heed the hard truths in these pages. Or it can dismiss the book as a hatchet job. Customers and investors take note.
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