Buy Used
$3.97
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all itâ?TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

License to Steal : The Secret World of Wall Street and the Systematic Plundering of the American Investor Hardcover – November 3, 1999


See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$2.75 $0.01
Best%20Books%20of%202014
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
12 Days of Kindle Book Deals
Load your library with Amazon's editors' picks, $2.99 or less each today only. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; First Edition edition (November 3, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887309925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887309922
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,595,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What would you do if one day you received a quarterly statement from your brokerage, showing that you'd purchased stock you didn't know you owned, and sold stock you still thought you had? You'd chew out your broker, sure; you might even fire him. But would you ever, in a million years, guess that the broker had deliberately mangled your account in order to generate commissions so he could pay off gambling debts to gangsters? That happens in the first chapter of License to Steal, the sort of book that will keep spooked investors up reading all night as surely as would a Stephen King novel. Together Timothy Harper, a journalist and lawyer, and Anonymous, a former senior Wall Street vice president and broker, have created a composite character called Brett Burtelsohn, and the book takes us on his adventures in the brokerage business.

The authors swear that every incident they recount in the book actually happened, even though names of people and companies have been changed. Sure, it would've been a more sensational book if the authors had gotten all this on the record, if we knew the name of the broker who used his clients to keep from getting his legs broken. But naming names isn't the point. What they want to do is show the fundamental conflict of interest that occurs between a broker and his clients: Clients only make money, in all likelihood, if they buy good stocks and hold onto them for a long time. But the broker makes money only if his clients frequently buy and sell. Like any salesman, a broker really sells himself to clients. He earns their trust, and in return recommends financial moves that are in their best interest--he urges them to buy the stocks he makes the most money selling, and discourages them from buying others. Just about every chapter contains a shock of some sort. The lesson for investors reading this book is that your broker is a natural salesman, a high-roller. He wants to live a good life, and is awfully good at convincing people like you to pay for it. --Lou Schuler

From Library Journal

Harper, a lawyer who teaches at the Columbia University School of Journalism, teams up with several Wall Street stockbrokers to break the financial industry's code of silence. They create the fictional character Brett Buertelsohn to tell the story of how rogue stockbrokers (and their firms) bilk investors by pitching overvalued initial public offerings (IPOs), charge bogus commissions, and manipulate and mislead clientele. In a few short years, he rises from being a cold caller to vice presidentAa rise made possible by his enthusiastic engagement in activities that, while not against the law, are certainly not in his clients' best interests. Very detailed descriptions of transactions and sales tactics bring home the meaning of the phrase caveat emptor. A well-written, easy-to-follow, suspenseful, and thought-provoking read for any investor; recommended for public and academic libraries.ASteven J. Mayover, Free Lib. of Philadelphia
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Another annoying thing is that Anonymous has a very big EGO.
Eric W.
Between the book and an interview with the author on the radio, the thing that gets me about brokers is their arrogance.
BeerMan
This book is a very easy and quick read, but is very entertaining and informing.
"thattius"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By An online investor on December 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
No wonder the reviewers who are brokers didn't like this book. True, the bad guys in the book are only a small percentage of the business, but the book also tells a lot about the basic conflict of interest between all brokers and clients. Like the bit about hidden commissions. I'd never known about that, but now it makes sense. My broker, back when I had a broker, never told me about that. They just want to make money for themselves. If they make money for you, fine, but they look out for No. 1.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. H. Jordan on December 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a former floor trader (Pacific Coast Stock Exchange) and OTC trader (many years ago), I know that the sort of things written about in this book are true. Shlock brokerage houses across the nation, Florida in particular, are still filching and bleeding their clients without any conscience whatsoever. The only way to be safe today is online investing with realtime service. Even the "finest" names on the street are guilty as hell.
I loved this book!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Another tale of dirty dealing on Wall Street, both a confessional and an expose. The author starts his career as a cold caller at a brokerage house he code names "Harvard." Harvard is not the chop-shop type of operation we see in the movie "Boiler Room," but a well respected Wall Street firm. Nevertheless Harvard comes off looking a little like a boiler room. According to the author here's how it works. After a cold caller hooks a potential client, a qualifier makes sure he really has money and then hands him off to a licensed house broker. The prime directive for the broker is to maximize commissions. You might think commissions are necessarily small in this era of negotiated rates, but alas this is not so. When Harvard is the market maker for the stock it gets to keep the bid-ask spread in addition to its published commission. The bid-ask spread is similar to the difference between wholesale and retail. Normally the spread is small, say 12.5 cents per share. For a high capitalization blue chip selling at $80 per share this hidden commission is trivial. Not so for the so-called "microcap" issues a Harvard broker will recommend. The spread might be 50 cents on a stock selling at $8 a share. That's more than 6% added to the normal 3% commission making the total commission on a buy-sell round trip nearly 20%. A round trip on $50,000 of a microcap will generate $10,000 for the house and the broker gets about half of that. Take a lot of clients on a lot of round trips and you get one rich broker. This is the basic theme of the book. After Harvard he moves to a less respected house he calls "Junior College," with an inner ring of brokers known as the "Dirty Dozen.Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I read this eye-opening book from start to finish without stopping! I've had only one experience with a stock brokerage firm; this book confirmed my suspicions and helped me understand why some things happened the way they did...especially the chapter titled "If A Woman Answers, Hang Up." Give this book as a present to any of your friends or family who still think that a stock broker's job is to make THEM rich.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Reading this book was captavating, especially since I am heavily in the market. Several of my friends have used brokers over the past five years, and without exception it was a negative (in hindsight) experience. This book shows why. Their stories struck me deeply, and I always warned others of the dangers of using these financial middle men. If you have a broker or are thinking of getting one read this book first! PLEASE! Very entertaining reading too. You won't want to put it down and can get through it in 2-3 days easy.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Every once in a while, one of the rapacious cretins inhabiting the brokerage houses of Wall Street has a twinge of conscience and a need to confess, and so he writes a mea culpa to cleanse his soul. The anonymous author, now a modest financial advisor in a small town, manages to look like a hero with a human heart while exposing the compromised nature of the securities business. If you have any illusions left about the goodness of humanity, don't read this book. You'll lose them. Part confessional, part cautionary tale, this first person narrative makes Wall Street brokers look like the dregs of humanity. If this sensational and rather novelistic tale is to be believed (and it is) then even lawyers and used car salesman tell fewer lies and steal less than Wall Street brokers.
License to Steal is the latest in a genre that goes back to at least the robber-baron days of the 19th century and probably to the earliest days of capitalism in renaissance Italy. One of my favorites is the very entertaining Where Are the Customers' Yachts? (1940) by Fred Schwed Jr. In that little book, studded with New Yorker cartoons, an innocent asks a broker the title question and is told, naive fool that he is, that the customers don't have any yachts. Only brokers and officers of the brokerage firm have yachts. According to the authors, today's breed of white collar crook doesn't spend his ill-gotten lucre on anything so romantic as a yacht, preferring German motor cars, cocaine and Cuban cigars, floozies, French champagne and blackjack. The degenerate get more degenerate it would appear.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews