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Financier: The Biography of André Meyer: A Story of Money, Power, and the Reshaping of American Business (Trailblazers) 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471247418
ISBN-10: 0471247413
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A new edition of Cary Reich's engaging biography of Andre Meyer. In this new edition of Financier, Cary Reich presents an illuminating portrait of this ferociously energetic, charming, and ruthless businessman who was a trusted advisor of the Kennedys and an intimate of William Paley and Katherine Graham. Reich goes into detail about Meyer's immigration from Nazi-occupied France, his prowess on the Monopoly board of business, and some of Meyer's lasting business legacies-now household names-including Avis and Holiday Inn.

From the Inside Flap

Fortune magazine deemed him "the most important investment banker in the Western world." A ferociously energetic, charming, and ruthless businessman, he had, by the age of forty, helped save the foundering auto giant Citroën, established France's first consumer finance company, and been awarded the Legion of Honor. He was a trusted adviser of the Kennedys and an intimate of Lyndon Johnson, William Paley, and Katharine Graham. His numerous business accomplishments included the building or revitalizing of such corporate giants as Avis, Holiday inns, Warner-Lambert, and Engelhard Minerals & Chemicals. One of the world's savviest individual investors, he amassed a personal fortune of well over $200 million, yet to his dying day never gave up the search for the ultimate buck. André Meyer, "The Picasso of Banking," was all this-and much more. A man of seemingly endless contradictions, he was respected and admired by many, scorned and disliked by many others. In this riveting, classic biography, renowned author and National Book Award finalist Cary Reich skillfully captures the many facets of this colorful and complex figure, painting an illuminating and captivating portrait of an enigmatic icon who climbed his way from modest beginnings to become what David Rockefeller called "the most creative financial genius of our time in the investment banking world." Born in 1898 in Paris, André Benoit Mathieu Meyer was saddled with adult responsibilities early on, having to provide for his family when his father, an inveterate gambler, "left a vacuum at the head of the household." After getting his professional start at a small Paris bank, he quickly caught the attention of the eminent private banking firm Lazard Frères, whose prestigious ranks he joined in 1925. Within a year, Meyer was made partner. With the advent of World War II, Meyer was forced into exile by the Nazi occupation. Resettling in the United States, he took over Lazard's New York operation, building it into the most venturesome investment bank in America. During the 1940s and 1950s, when industry was thirsting for capital for its relentless growth, he financed anything and everything from Texas ranchland to New York City real-estate projects. In the sixties, when it became clear the big corporations could get bigger only by gobbling up other corporations, Meyer masterfully got the merger-and-acquisition ball rolling, and became the world's most prolific marriage broker for countless corporate combinations. Financier brilliantly captures Meyer's financial wizardry, a phenomenal talent that was tempered only by the volatile tantrums, ruthlessness, and insatiable greed that went hand in hand with his genius. Unveiling the dueling sides of his complex personality, this absorbing account shows Meyer at his best-as a father figure for the likes of Felix Rohatyn, his most famous protégé, and for Jacqueline Onassis in the years after the assassination-and presents him at his worst-as a tortured and possessive father and a cruel, often vindictive boss. Financier is a work that is as compelling, unforgettable, and monumental as its inimitable subject.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 23, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471247413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471247418
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,063,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
1) If you've ever thought about going into the investment banking/ Venture Capital business 2) If you enjoy history - of any type 3) If you enjoy well-written books that are more than a dry summation of the "agreed upon" facts 4) if you want a book that is more interesting and has more plots and schemes than any detective/spy thriller
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Format: Paperback
Overall this book provided great historical details into the mind of one of Investment Bankings greatest personalities. Andre Meyer's networking skills were 90% responsible for his success with the remaining 10% being attributable to his sheer tenacity.
The book does drag in some spots, but the author definitely did his homework.
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Format: Paperback
"Financier, The Biography of Andre Meyer," by Cary Reich (1983; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).

[A comment recently addressed to a fellow Amazonian reviewer.]

"Oh, no, novels!" - was my saddened reaction, upon quickly scanning your thoughts on books. Forgive me, but with a few exceptions, I left them behind a while back in favor of, instead, mostly histories & biographies/memoirs.

Well, there's fiction in them too. But usually, by the time that I find out - for example, that Robert Benchley had had more than a literal academic interest in a Manhattan slattern (his mistress, not his personal & platonic student of the French language, as his son dutifully & yet deceitfully asserted in the biography of his father) - I'm indifferent to the whole thing. By now, the parade has reached Topeka. No chance of catching up.

So imagine my surprise & delight when [a corporate business history hereby re-named, "The Babbits"] appeared as your last review.

I'm not surprised that TB bored you. That it did, considering that you must have personally witnessed or had heard first-hand accounts about much of the book's contents, really says it all about TB's inadequacies.

I also found it a matter of regret when TB turned out to be a disorganized mess (your two-star rating is just about right). Sometimes I suspect that the publisher opens the Fed Ex box mailed by the author, puts his hand on top of the bulky, string-bound manuscript, belts out, "It's all there!" - & then sends it unexamined to the printers. There's just too much evidence of this probable behavior in the aftermath to dismiss the thought as fiction.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Andre Meyer is the ephytome of the investment banker, like J.P. Morgan or Sidney Weinberg before and Felix Rohatyn around the same time, Andre Meyer embodied what many aspiring bankers use to idealize when picking that career. He was the master of Relational Banking, which is now reemerging as the way to go for top tier brokerage and banking houses. Although, not a husband or father role model the details about his personal life are very interesting to read too.
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