Customer Reviews


20 Reviews
5 star:
 (16)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Was There For It All
I worked on the NYSE Floor from 1986-2003 and was a Floor Trader for a few years. I knew Mr. Grasso although not too well. I encountered him almost every day. I thought he was the best thing for the Exchange and it certainly flourished under his reign. He was a charismatic cheerleader and savvy business man. I also saw his temper and dark side as he scolded me one day as...
Published on November 15, 2007 by Thomas J. Wands

versus
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Light and airy
Gasparino serves up headlines more than insights in this slightly chron-illogical review of Richard Grasso's career at the NYSE, with heavy emphasis on the conditions of his departure. An easy read, it skims the life and circus of Wall Street but misses the opportunity to help disabuse the common misunderstanding that Grasso's eye-popping 180M in deferred comp was money...
Published on February 8, 2008 by F. M. Gabriele


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Was There For It All, November 15, 2007
I worked on the NYSE Floor from 1986-2003 and was a Floor Trader for a few years. I knew Mr. Grasso although not too well. I encountered him almost every day. I thought he was the best thing for the Exchange and it certainly flourished under his reign. He was a charismatic cheerleader and savvy business man. I also saw his temper and dark side as he scolded me one day as I tried to transverse the trading floor with a torn calf muscle and was knocked sideways by another trader trying to get somewhere in a hurry. He heard the expletive escape from my mouth as I winced in pain and he immediately came up behind me and put a firm grip on my arm that I had not experienced since Sister Francis did so in 5th grade and gave me a stern warning about the use of foul language. I also remember the events of 9/11 and how it was rumored that Grasso wanted us back to work on 9/12 even though the building had gone through some physical stress that day as debris from the falling towers came upon the building and it shook violently as the towers fell. Not to mention what the people working inside the Exchange went through emotionally and still had to as they waited on word about family members, friends and colleagues that worked inside the towers. The book shed light on how Grasso fought with the politicians to keep the Exchange closed as we all thought he was a heartless SOB trying to further his reputation and feed his ego wanting to open it the next day. A great read that was educating as I learned a lot of what was going on upstairs as I was one of the so called "animals" on the trading floor.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rise and fall of Dick Grasso, May 4, 2008
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
An interesting work that provides an inside picture of not only the NYSE, Wall Street but also some of the powerful people involved in high finance and corporate America. This book is particularly for you if you are looking for a detailed biography of Grasso. I was looking forward to reading about the pay controversies involving the 140 million retirement cash payout with a contested 48 million additional sum and the battle with Elliott Spitzer over, what was construed, as an excessive payment for a non-profit company. The interest in pay and Spitzer's involvement doesn't really take off until roughly 180 plus pages. However, the first half of the book covers well Grasso's rise from humble means and start with the NYSE, his involvement with the floor traders, his rise, his ability to recruit companies to the NYSE and his ability to promote the NYSE with the ringing of the bell each day with celebrity and his getting the NYSE up and running after 9-11. And there is some glitz about Grasso's high power associations, dinner at Rio's and his celebrity. The fall starts with the emergence of his pay package that grows with one of his strongest supporters on the compensation board with significant salary increases that are often deferred into a NYSE retirement account. Although hard to fathom, even after reading the book, it seems that many on the compensation board, although recognizing the value of Grasso, seem to lose focus on what he is getting paid until Grasso decides to cash out 140 million all at once. Changes on the NYSE board that impact Grasso included current Treasurer Secretary Henry Paulson, with Goldman Sachs at the time, who, according to the author, undermines Grasso's position with the NYSE exchange board through back channels with the intention of modernizing the NYSE from floor traders to a computerized system. In addition, the failure of a former political associate of Spitzer's who acts as chair of the compensation review committee had great difficulty to comprehending Grasso's pay package that leads to conflicts that catch many members of the board surprised. Many of the NYSE board are well known names that range from Mel Karmazin, a Grasso supporter, to former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who allegedly supported Grasso initially but turned against him. The book really takes an interesting turn when Grasso's pay goes public and his rare failure in public relations goes into over drive when he also tries to get a pal on the NYSE board after the individual had just been publicly run through by Spitzer. Also heating up the book is the coverage of the interim NYSE chairman's John Reed's loose cannon statements that irk the recently departed Grasso into fighting back full bore (amazing how supposedly smart people can say the wrong things publicly.) My only misgivings is that I wish there was more detail about the Spitzer v. Grasso fight over Grasso's pay that is only addressed in the final stages of the book and very lightly. However, by the end of the book, the NYSE moves from floor trading to a more modern computerized method of doing business during the chairman tenure of John Thain, formerly of Goldman & Sachs and an associate of Paulson's.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific read!, November 11, 2007
The book made Mr. Grasso and the Exchange come alive!

I didn't know much about the New York Stock Exchange before reading
this book, but Mr. Gasparino's writing is so clear and concise that I
learned not only about this fascinating self-made man but about the
inner workings of the Club itself. I would recommend this book to
anyone who wants to learn about Grasso or The NYSE - or to anyone who
just wants to read a great story!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Peek into Wall Street for the Outsider, February 21, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A few years ago, when I first heard of Mr. Grasso's salary I recoiled in shock. The presentation of the "facts" by the press led me like the pied piper to this inevitable reaction. Simply stated, I believe I reacted in the way that the news media wanted me to; in a sense I was programmed by the coverage to react the way I did. In retrospect, there may have been some balanced reporting out there at the time; I did not read everything or even a great deal about the case. It seemed so open and shut.

I purchased this book, not so much because it was about the NYSE and Mr. Grasso, but because I admire the author. Now, I admire the author even more and I have, at last, been exposed to a balanced account of the "Grasso story." Although I doubt that Mr. Gasparino intended it, I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Grasso's pay was what his peers thought it should be. Mr. Grasso's detractors say that he stacked the compensation committee and the board with his allies.

All of us who work for institutions have their pay determined by others. Furthermore, some of us, including me, have cultivated those who determine their pay and have received above average salary advancement on a consistent basis, often because of this cultivation. Besides schmoozing those who set our pay, most of us try to excel at our jobs and thus repay the organization for our compensation. In Mr. Grasso's case there is so much objective evidence that he executed extraordinarily as an employee of the NYSE, at all position levels, that I find it difficult to rationalize the attacks made on him.

Bad "optics" is used to explain the awkwardness of Mr. Grasso's salary package at the time of its revelation to the public at large. Having been the victim of negative "optics" about my own salary level, I understand what this meant for Mr. Grasso. In his case, as in mine, people thought they could gain personally by making attacks on the level of compensation. There is no point complaining about the unfairness of this process, e.g. standards being applied selectively by a person to justify an attack on another person. Where "politics" intervenes, and it often does, fairness flees.

Mr. Gasparino's book reveals much about the "politics" of the stock marketplace and how the objectives of various players conflict with one another in this highly competitive world. The oft heard complaint that Mr. Grasso was the chief regulator of the NYSE members and therefore should not have received such a high salary, becuase regulators are never paid very much, smells bad or, at best is simply naive. It is true that ONE of Mr. Grasso's MANY responsibilities was that of a regulator but his primary function was to promote the welfare of the NYSE and its member organizations. This he did superbly and, for what it's worth, I have the impression that he was not such a bad regulator given all of the conflicts of interest that are inherent in any system of what is euphemistically called "self regulation."

Perhaps, I should say that I know none of the players in this story. In fact, I have never been inside the NYSE building and have never had any connection with the financial industry other than as small stock holder. After reading the book, I am kind of glad that I've had no connection. Furthermore, as much as I now admire Mr. Grasso because of this book, I would not want to ever have reported to him. His relentless obsession with the NYSE and his successful job execution make him a "larger than life" figure in the history of the exchange and the exchange, if it has not already done so, should prominently display his portrait with accolades or even a statue with an appropriate positive inscription on its base. His obsession would also have made him an unbearable boss for me, at least that is what my decades of direct experience of bosses leads me to believe.

Mr. Gasparino's book certainly opened my eyes. I believe that anyone whose mind is not already closed on the subject could learn something new about the "life and times of Mr. Grasso at the NYSE," by reading this book. Regardless, for the outsider, this book reveals a great deal about the NYSE and its inner workings. Congratulations Mr. Gasparino on a fine and balanced piece of financial reporting!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Raw meat for the Street, March 20, 2008
By 
Jedrury "jedrury" (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Gasparino proves himself to be one of the most tuned in reporters of Wall Street in this fascinating gossipy book about the rise and self inflicted fall of Dick Grasso as the head of the New York Stock Exchange. Gasparino obviously has done a lot of digging; replete with inside stories, quotes from most of the participants, and leaks, they all paint a vivid landscape of the machinations of the Street and the politics of New York City. What is remarkable is the long term brilliance of some and the myopia of others as the institution of the Exchange is changed by Grasso's fall. The Aesopian tale of the scorpion and the frog comes to mind in the interplay of Spitzer and Grasso. Once allies, they boarded the raft together until the existing pay package scandal was exacerbated by John Reed and his investigation. One can all but imagine Grasso asking, "why me?" To which the now disgraced scorpion responds "it is in my nature." How true that all seems in the aftermath of Spitzer's fall into the mire of call girl scandal.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uniformly Outstanding, November 10, 2007
Gasparino's King of the Club is an intriguing, behind the scenes view of Wall Street's major players during the Dick Grasso era. Gasparino carefully explains how wall street functioned during this tumultuous time, and does so in a way that is beyond the capabilities of main stream media. As someone who works outside the Wall Street community, I embraced King of the Club; in fact, it even changed my perception of many of its main characters. Dick Grasso's professionalism during 9/11 is one notable example. King of the Club is a colorful and quick read that provides real insight into the mysterious world of high profile Wall Street.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Gasparino is "king of the club" of Wall street observers!, October 16, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: King of the Club (Kindle Edition)
A very interesting life of one man who made a big difference, good and bad on Wall Street! Great Read!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Timely and a good read, July 28, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: King of the Club (Kindle Edition)
More exciting than fiction. Very readable and informative for anyone with an interest in the complexities of big money and big government
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book, November 9, 2007
By 
Gasparino tells a fascinating story about Dick Grasso's rise and fall on Wall Street. This book allows you to be a fly on the wall and gives you an in depth look at the characters that move and shake the financial markets. It is an excellent read and the story moves quickly. It is well written and I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story with great dialogue.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read..excellent historical reference, March 2, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book is a blow by blow view, apparently well researched.
of the debacle that is the NYSE. Will put the present in perspective..that's for sure!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

King of the Club: Richard Grasso and the Survival of the New York Stock Exchange
King of the Club: Richard Grasso and the Survival of the New York Stock Exchange by Charles Gasparino (Paperback - September 16, 2008)
$16.95 $14.64
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.