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Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (a John Hope Franklin Center Book) Paperback – July 13, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
How could this book - for the public now, no longer a dissertation - have been made more accessible? In the Introduction eliminate jargon and shorten sentences (stop addressing all imagined contingencies in a single sentence); eliminate all but key citations. Shorten the rest of the book by giving less exhaustive detail.
P. 296 summarizes one of her key findings: "Wall Street's rise to dominance - through its smartness, its use of history and shareholder value ideology, its 'own' experiences of downsizing as empowerment - has allowed it to project a local model of employee liquidity and financial instability onto corporate America and the financial markets at large, generating globalizing economic crises." The author develops this "local model" through "analyses of bankers' dispositions and organizational culture," based on research on Wall Street (mostly among low- and some mid-level professionals and managers).
This research is impressive, especially its case examples. Yet projecting that local model "onto corporate America and the financial markets" is harder to assess, and will be challenged: (1) By those who do not accept her purported linkages between (a) micro (employee) behaviors and sub-cultures, and (b) the larger course of economic and financial events.Read more ›
Ho's description of the recruitment and indoctrination of future masters of the universe is perhaps the most poignant part of the book. Targeting young people from elite Ivy League schools (I'm a Princeton grad and witnessed my own classmates' enchantment with the allure of investment banking as an uber-Princeton of the best and smartest), then forcing them to work hellish hours in a cutthroat environment that can only impair judgment, sounds rather chillingly like an initiation into a cult. But even those who survive the hazing face constant job insecurity and pressures to perform for immediate profit. Ho argues persuasively that Wall Street projects these dysfunctional values onto corporate America, to the detriment of millions of workers, shareholders and their families.
An earlier reviewer expressed the wish that this book could be made more accessible, and I agree that the message of this book would benefit a wide audience. However, this non-specialist reader found Ho's explanation of the history of financial markets and cycles to be very clear--I feel I "got" what really happens on Wall Street.Read more ›
Throughout the book Ho explains the processes of Wall Street, and liquidated becomes a play on words that concerns not only the liquidity of the money and stocks, but specifically the people and Wall Street's view of corporate America. She begins by explaining the recruitment process and how only the "brightest and elite" are handpicked for Wall Street from the best schools in America, specifically Harvard and Princeton. There is a pervasive culture on Wall Street of elitism and overall "smartness" that they truly are the best and the brightest, that they are the hardest workers in America, and therefore are the only people truly capable of these jobs. It was fascinating to me to learn more about how actual offices run in Wall Street, and that those recruited for these jobs are based more on pedigree and schooling than the actual degree. But what was most interesting was that these "greatest and brightest" were seen as highly disposable.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ho writes the book that I think I would have written, had I been born in different circumstances. She was a graduate student in the Ivy League and she saw her peers go into the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. Edgar Mihelic, MBA
This book is terrifying and awesome at the same time. One really gets a better understanding of a prominent part of our financial system, Wall Street, through the eyes of an... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Cusp baby
A well-researched anthropological study that demonstrates the crazy intense socialization process that helps to produce Wall Street's culture of crises. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Zora
Getting through the audiofile is an achievement in itself. The person reciting is so boring that you'd almost think someone wanted you to fall asleep - Just give the audio a try,... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Samuel Hauptmann van Dam
I purchased this book in audio format, and for the first time since joining Audible in 2007, I called and asked for a refund. Read morePublished 20 months ago by kddid
I'm still reading this book but I really liked where I got up to. The Culture of Smartness...wow.
In class my teacher brought up one issue which kind of turned me off the book... Read more
I've read over 50 books about Wall Street since 2008 and this is, by far, the worst. I couldn't even make it past the intro. Read morePublished on March 31, 2014 by John