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Money for Nothing: How CEOs and Boards Enrich Themselves While Bankrupting America Hardcover – January 12, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (January 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416559930
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416559931
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #466,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gillespie, a former investment banker with Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, and Bear Sterns; and Zweig, business consultant and Salon.com founder, blow the whistle on the insular, apathetic, and dangerously lackadaisical world of corporate boards. Of the world's 200 largest economies, more than half are corporations, whose economic might is matched by their political and environmental sway. While the media highlights misbehaving moguls, boards work behind closed doors, and their substantial impact often goes unnoticed. These boards, described by the authors as predominantly made up of white men in their '60s, make their decisions based on the fact that it's not their money, and the trickle-down effect onto ordinary people is enormous. While Gillespie and Zweig sew in just enough juicy tales of mismanagement and scandalous misbehavior, they make a genuine effort to highlight representative issues and portray corporate leadership in all its complexity, instead of as a simplistic morality tale. They take a running jump at solutions and reforms that might help boards work more effectively and ethically. Both thoughtful and lively, this is a fascinating discussion of a little-seen force in corporate America. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“The authors offer a valuable new perspective by focusing on the tragicomic miscues of the people who were ostensibly meant to ‘govern’ out-of-control managements…”

The New York Times

“…rich with unfortunate detail… the subject is truly anger-inducing, and rest assured Money for Nothing will make you angry (or reinforce your existing anger) about the current state of corporate governance.” — Business Ethics


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By James Mcritchie VINE VOICE on January 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Money for Nothing: How the Failure of Corporate Boards Is Ruining American Business and Costing Us Trillions by John Gillespie and David Zweig begins with a story familiar to just about everyone on the globe -- corporate and economic collapse brought on by greedy CEOs. The authors look behind the headlines to reveal and document the systematic failure of corporate boards who are supposed to look out for shareowner interests but are still too often picked by the very ones they are supposed to advise and monitor... the CEOs.

They discuss how companies spend enormous sums of shareholder money to fight off reforms, either directly or through organizations like the US Chamber of Commerce or the Business Roundtable. According to the authors, "corporate boards remain the weakest link in our free enterprise system."

A brief overview is provided on how we got here and what it means for shareowners and society. Much of the book is given over to example after example of conflicts of interest, overlapping boards, and a world driven by the greed and status needs of CEOs. Studies have shown that 80% of acquisitions fail to deliver and many fail outright. Too often they are driven by incentives that reward empire building over the generation of profits.

Jennifer Lerner, the only psychologist on the faculty of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, finds that "Americans tend to exhibit anger more readily than those in many other cultures, and the effects of being in power closely resemble those of being angry." CEOs and other executives, it turns out, have substantially larger appetites for risk and are more optimistic about outcomes. Changing the context can improve outcomes, especially where the environment demands "predecisional accountability to an audience with unknown views.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While it is weighted toward activist investing, the book is a good guide for new and current Directors. Money quote from Ralph Whitworth "It is ok to be liked, but I am not there to be likeable" - from memory so may not be word for word but you get the picture. Be prepared, challenge management constructively, and know that you represent the shareholders and other stakeholders - not your own position.
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By Larry Beebe on January 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Why are our institutions failing? Read this book and gain insight.
I have personal experience with Boards, and they are earning money for nothing!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Behind corporate governance and the sorry state of our economy and financial system. This book lays it out in compelling, easy-to-understand fashion.
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Format: Hardcover
It looks like Obama and the SEC are beginning to get their acts together and ride herd on some corporations gone wild. They - and members of the House and Senate - need to read "Money For Nothing" and start moving toward making sure we little people - the shareholders - get a fair break and a meaningful voice in running the companies we own.
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