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Dot.con: How America Lost Its Mind and Money in the Internet Era Paperback – May 13, 2003

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Dot.con: How America Lost Its Mind and Money in the Internet Era + Origins of the Crash: The Great Bubble and Its Undoing + When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060008814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060008819
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #851,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“The first good book about one of capitalism’s most embarrassing debacles.” (Salon.com)

“Admirably lucid and comprehensive.” (The Guardian (London))

“A marvelous book. . . . Dot.con will be read by generations of .... B-school graduates.” (Wall Street Journal)

John Cassidy is one of the world’s best financial journalists. Dot.con [is] compelling. (Rupert Murdoch)

“John Cassidy’s [Dot.con] deserves to be the boom’s standard account. It is informative, perceptive, and gracefully written.” (New Republic)

“Shrewd and entertaining...thoroughly persuasive.” (The Economist)

About the Author

John Cassidy, one of the country's leading business journalists, has been a staff writer at the New Yorker for six years, covering economics and finance. Previously he was business editor of the Sunday Times (London) and deputy editor of the New York Post. He lives in New York.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Emmett Brady on February 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting look at the Dot.Com Nasdaq bubble ,which started in the early 1990's and collapsed in 2000- 2001.This is not surprising since every bubble in history has collapsed.
The author pinpoints three groups and/or individuals that he feels are specifically to blame for allowing this fiasco to occur.The first group is the financial journalists and analysts,such as Mary Meeker ,Blodgett,and Abby Joseph Cohen,who used their positions to hype the sale of Dot.com stocks that they knew were purely speculative in nature.The second is a group of one,Alan Greenspan.The author overlooks that Greenspan had no authority over the giant investment banks that were the source of the problem.They were supposed to be regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC).Unfortunately,the SEC had been stuffed full of University of Chicago type economists, who did not believe that bubbles were possible ,based on their artificially constructed Efficient Market Hypothesis(EMH).
.Of course,Benoit Mandelbrot had already demonstrated repeatedly over the time period 1958-2008 that the EMH was false.The economists at the SEC simply refused to accept the ancient wisdom of Adam Smith-the goal of all financial regulation is to prevent speculation.Greenspan certainly is partly culpable,however.
The third group is the American public,which,as first pointed out by Michael Lewis,came to believe that the way to riches was not productive,hard work but speculating in stocks.
I have subtracted one half of a star because the author is apparently ignorant of the fact that Adam Smith devoted 80 pages in The Wealth of Nations(1776;Modern Library(Cannan)edition with the foreward by Max Lerner) to discussing the problem of banking and speculation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Giuseppe A. Paleologo on July 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
Dot.con is a book that reads like a long "New Yorker" article. I view this as a quality, given the subject matter. Despite the size of the ".com" bubble, its explanation is not as elusive as other speculative frenzies (e.g., 1929). The recent speculation is the outcome of "herd behavior" on a massive scale, favored by unique historical conditions, such as the development of a new technology, the liquidity excess in the american markets, and a favorable economic environment. There are plenty of quantitative models and historical studies of such behavior. Cassidy spells out this early (quoting in the process Charles Mackay's seminal treatise), and gets it out of the way. What makes the book interesting is the intricate relationship--and amplification of speculative behavior--among the actors of the bubble: investment banks, venture capitalists, the media, the Federal Bank, entrepreneurs, and finally the american public. Taken individually, the actions of each group may appear greedy, dishonest, stupid. Placed in the proper context however, the judgement is more nuanced. Cassidy shows how the skeptical VCs, financiers and journalists were repeatedly proven wrong in the early stages of the speculation and decreased in number, to the point of extinction. Nowhere is the pressure to imitate the crowds more evident than in Mary Meeker's case, the poster boy of Wall Street hype. Cassidy partially exculpates for her behavior, based on the environment in which she operated. But the examples in the book abound. Noone gets out scot-free, save one or two honest Wall Street stock strategists on the verge of retirement. Cassidy is relatively lenient toward the individual investor, the world of finance, and the entepreneurs: after all, these people had an incentive in feeding the bubble.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Douglas C. Childers on June 6, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read "Dot.con" after reading an excerpt of it in Michael Lewis' "Panic". I was excited to get a comprehensive account of the internet stock speculative bubble and relate it to the current subprime housing mess. While I can't speak for some of the technical points that other reviewers have pointed out to be erroneous, it was interesting to read this account nearly 7 years after it was published.

John Cassidy points out numerous times throughout the book that the speculation of these internet stocks was perpetuated by Wall Street. Virtually every internet IPO was based on potential earnings and income growth. Therefore, no one had any idea on how to value the stocks because there were no earnings or even a consistent revenue stream to for that matter. However, Wall Street just started creating new valuation models based on number of web-page hits and current revenue and extrapolated out into the future assuming that web traffic would continue to increase exponentially, while costs would decrease due to these websites not incurring the typical costs that traditional firms were saddled with. While web traffic has continued to increase and more and more people are connected to the Internet than ever before, the costs of acquiring these customers, through significant price reductions and huge marketing budgets never waivered, bankrupting mostly all of these websites.

In addition to haphazardly marketing the IPOs for these websites, each investment bank on Wall Street and Silicon Valley were using their analysts to justify these IPO valuations. The research divisions within the investment banks were traditionally independent of the sales and brokerage division. During this era, the supposed "Chinese Wall" was torn down.
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