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Last Man Standing: The Ascent of Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase Hardcover – October 6, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"An intimate . . . three-dimensional portrait of the executive, with lots of reporting from his friends and family." --Mara Der Hovanesian, "BusinessWeek"

About the Author

Duff McDonald is a New York-based journalist. A contributing editor at New York magazine, he has also written for Vanity Fair, GQ, WIRED, CondÉ Nast Portfolio, and Time, among other publications. Once a regular guest on ABC's World News Now, McDonald has also appeared on CNN, CNNfn, Fox News, CNBC, and NPR. In 2004, he was the recipient of two Canadian National Magazine Awards—Best Business Story (gold) and Best Investigative Reporting (silver)—for “The Black Watch”—in National Post Business. A Canadian, McDonald lives in Bronxville, New York, with his wife, Caroline, and daughter, Marguerite.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416599533
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416599531
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #769,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Duff McDonald is a New York-based journalist. A contributing editor at The New York Observer, he has also written for Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, New York, Esquire, Fortune, Business Week, Conde Nast Portfolio, GQ, WIRED, Time, Newsweek, and others.

In 2004, he was the recipient of two Canadian National Magazine Awards--Best Business Story (gold) and Best Investigative Reporting (silver)--for Conrad's Fall in National Post Business.

The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence on American Business, was published by Simon & Schuster in September 2013.

Last Man Standing, his biography of Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, was published by Simon & Schuster in October 2009.

He is also the co-author, with Owen Burke, of The CEO, a satire.

He lives in Brooklyn with his daughter, Marguerite.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Duff McDonald's book covers a fascinating historical moment - the 2008-2009 Wall Street debacle - by profiling a pivotal character in the thick of it, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. Having spent extensive time with Dimon, McDonald combines his reporting with published sources, Dimon's own writings and statements, and interviews with his associates, employees or relatives. McDonald covers Dimon's youth, business school education and evolving career. Dimon was a nonconformist in business school and politics, an astute lieutenant of his mentor Sandy Weill, and a pivotal figure in the financial crisis. Notably, he preserved JPMorgan Chase, bought Bear Stearns and helped lead the market back to stability. Readers interested in a critical take on Dimon may find the book too flattering, but if you want to see how the financial wars looked from the CEO's chair, getAbstract recommends this intriguing perspective.
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46 of 56 people found the following review helpful By George Bush HALL OF FAME on October 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Wouldn't it be wonderful to read a book about Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, and obtain an increased understanding of banking, the 2008 crash, and how Dimon has successfully managed banks? Unfortunately, it won't happen easily via "Last Man Standing." The book fails to take a management emphasis, rarely defines terms and concepts, and is basically a chronology of Dimon's life. Nonetheless, some good can be derived from its reading.

Dimon, without question, is highly talented. However, his career received two initial major boosts. The first was working for several Harvard Business School professors in finance prior to beginning his Harvard Business School (HBS) experience. This provided him with early high-level exposure to the area and undoubtedly enriched his education experience as well. The second was joining forces with Sandy Weill in 1982 upon graduating from Harvard (Baker Scholar - top 5%), and having the opportunity to participate in top-level analyses and decision-making with many a 'mover and shaker.' (Dimon's alternative was more remunerative, but much lower level positions in investment banking.)

Weill had recently been pushed out of American Express, so Dimon was taking a bit of a gamble joining up with Weill. Fortunately, it wasn't too long before Control Data asked for help with its newly acquired Commercial Credit unit - lender to those with relatively low household incomes. Weill was appointed CEO in 1986, a leveraged buy-out soon followed, assuring a rich options opportunity for both himself and Dimon. Other steps included a 10% staff cut, selling off the car leasing and accounts-receivable insurance businesses (too much risk), and cutting executive perks (magazine subscriptions, country club memberships, flowers).
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29 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Thomas II on October 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There will be obvious bias in this review. I have been with the bank for over 12 years. Having met Jamie on a couple of occasions, his attention to detail blows my mind. Years ago, I was invited to participate in a focus group soon after Jamie took over as CEO of B1. We were at a conference room on the executive floor throwing around some ideas, "best practices". A day before, we had some system issues. During our meeting, Jamie walked in and briefly listened in on our meeting. He asked the group about the system issue and whether or not it was causing any customer service quality issues. He cared. I was fortunate to meet him on a couple of more occasions. Each time, I walked away more inspired. He has that effect on people. His drive and determination is infectious. You just want to sit there, listen to him; then, go back and try even harder. As a top executive, he never seems to look down or turn his back on the junior soldiers in the company. He cares. He listens. He motivates and inspires.

It's a good feeling working for a company where what I do everyday for our clients (despite being just 1 out of over 200,000) actually matters. No one here is insignificant. And every detail, every employee, matters. And that's a healthy culture for any business to have. I am proud to be part of this great company; proud of our leader and our management team's diligent handling of our bank's financial affairs; proud to have been able to help our clients during a very difficult period for our country.

Duff's account of Jamie's career is a must read for any aspiring manager/leader. From his detailed account of Jamie's early career to the more recent events, this book is an easy, addictive read. It's hard to put it down. Great job researching the stories, issues and conducting interviews. In the aftermath of this complex system meltdown, it is refreshing to read a book in which complex financial issues can be easily understood by anyone. Strongly recommended.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Briody on October 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a terrific book, beautifully written, and highly useful. If you want to really understand the banking business, and the people that make it work, this is the book to read. And it's not just for Wall Street insiders. And it's not a vanity piece for a banker on top of his game. This book has specific relevance to anyone who pays taxes in this country or has a bank account. McDonald had unprecedented access to Dimon and and he nailed it. Great book. Loved it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andy Wallace VINE VOICE on February 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I first picked up this book, intending to only read a section dealing with a company I formerly worked for. After 20 minutes, I was fascinated, and decided to read the entire book. It offers an interesting biography on the most prominent banker in the country. I liked the overview of the financial collapse of 2008. The day to day activities of JPMorgan during the fall of Bear Stearns was very informative. It was refreshing to read an account of this time written without condemning all participants. I believe it will take a few more years before we can fully and accurately assess credit and blame for what has happened.
I only gave the book 3 star, because I felt it was written in a more favorable light than was deserved. It read more like hagiography than biography. The book is worth reading.
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