26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Contains the value of any dozen �business books�
The business section of any bookstore has shelves stretching to the horizon with business books, or more specifically books about Wall Street, and how to get rich in various absurdly short periods of time. My personal favorite is "The 20 Stocks To Own Right Now", how is now defined? When the book was written, or the day the book is purchased. The title by definition...
Published on August 12, 2000 by taking a rest
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting overview of the financial markets...
but with all due respect to the author, whom I hold in the highest esteem, this book is NOT for those looking for insights in to investment strategies. the man is a legend, and has a well deserved stellar reputation. this book is a great overview of the financial markets, but will not help you make money. am I too bottom line focused? perhaps, but be aware of the...
Published on March 16, 2002 by SteveNY
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Contains the value of any dozen �business books�,
The business section of any bookstore has shelves stretching to the horizon with business books, or more specifically books about Wall Street, and how to get rich in various absurdly short periods of time. My personal favorite is "The 20 Stocks To Own Right Now", how is now defined? When the book was written, or the day the book is purchased. The title by definition makes the volume worthless. The latest section to expand exponentially is the area of "Day Trading" which is for a select few with some key talents and a massive tolerance for risk. The odds are better you will make money writing about day trading than playing the 300-500 trade a day frenzy. These are the types of books that have their moment of fame when movies like "Wall Street" and "Boiler Room" are in theaters, when those who have a career that spans the length of the current unprecedented growth populate Wall Street. The worst of these are the badly written kiss and tell books written by 20 something's who detail the evils of Wall Street that they made money from, and then they write a book when their brief fling with the street is over.
Then there are the legends, the players who measure their careers not in 15 minutes, but in blocks of 15 years. They built "The Street", they have seen the hotshots come and go, at times to a minimum-security prison. They may have not bought Cisco the day it was offered to the public, but over time their success is the envy of the investing world.
In this case the man is Mr. Harry Kaufman, a man who has had the ear of Presidents, and Federal Reserve Chairmen, and countless CEOS', one of who wrote the introduction to this book, Paul A. Volcker. Mr. Kaufman, Mr. Buffet, Mr. Benjamin Graham, and an additional select few, have or can lay claim to truly having the knowledge, the depth and breadth of understanding finance both domestically, and as discussed in this book, internationally as well. They burst the bubble not of the Internet, but the abandon with which an enormous percentage of today's households invest in the markets without the most basic understanding of what they are investing in.
Some of the book does delve into Derivatives, Interest Rate Swaps, and some of the enormous losses incurred recently that took down the bank where the Queen Of England kept her spare change. A youngster toppled that bank if you recall. If this level of detail puts you off, the book is still an important book to own.
Mr. Kaufman tells much of his story as it coincided with the rise of Solomon Brothers from its infancy to the colossus it has become, and the memory it almost became. He also explains why he left that institution with exceptional candor. He is literally one of the originators of research as it has developed to this day. Some gave him the sobriquet of "Dr. Doom" not because he was wrong, rather because he dispassionately studied markets and then explained reality, not what people wanted to hear. He invented many of the methods that are used today and are taken for granted. When "analysts" today make proclamations they stand on several sets of shoulders, and invariably included are those of Mr. Kaufman.
He shares his life from a young boy who watched Hitler pass 6 feet in front of him. He explains the feeling of waiting for the splintering of the front door, as former neighbors became persecutors. And then the trip to America, and his education to the level of Doctorate prior to starting on Wall Street. He had some other odd jobs as well, like working at the Federal Reserve at a very young age.
Throughout the book he constantly refers to his very young life experiences and how they influence him to this day. And the depression stories, and the immigrant stories are so numerous they at times sound like the norm not the exception. The great danger now is that these stories are becoming history as these people age and are replaced by those who have not been tested by severe life experience, but rather have grown up with little discomfort at all.
When the market cycles straight down like it has before and will again, be sure to check the bookstores. There still will be nonsensical books about making millions in a Bear market, but most books will be out of print and will have resurfaced again in a recycled newspaper, that tells the story of all the college educated that cannot find jobs in the then miserable economy.
This book will become a standard, for common sense is never a fad, and when men like Henry Kaufman exercise their common sense, it is something we call genius. And that genius produces a life experience this book presents, as this man never once thought in 15 minutes of fame, wrote an insipid tabloid storybook, or thought about getting rich in 5 years much less 5 weeks or days.
Mr. Kaufman will not be on the cover of a magazine standing on a new $100 million toy that impresses Gorden Gecko. He will continue to expand his knowledge and continue to influence those who should be listening, for the truth often does hurt, but it is survivable, doom however is final.
A brilliant work, to be included in any library, financial or otherwise.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book for the Ages,
Henry Kaufman's book is much more than a compelling saga of a life, a career, and a financial history. It is a reminder of the risks that abound in today's markets, and of the compelling importance of the great values that have led to the strength of the nation's financial system. In the book's most important chapter (16), Dr. Kaufman presents 17 neglected lessons for policymakers, financial institutions, and investors. If we ignore them, the well-catalogued sins of our financial past will return to haunt us. Consider Lesson 4: "..basic fiduciary duty too often has been forgotten in the high-voltage, high velocity financial environment of recent decades . . . the notion of financial trusteeship has been lost in the shuffle." He's right, and readers will profit immensely by taking heed, not only of those words, but the entire book.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book for students ..A reader from Yale University,
I am tempted to recommend "On Money and Markets" to students who are aspiring a career in corporate finance and banking industry.
I like this book especially in its spectacular overview of the history of modern financial markets. Mr. Kaufman's accounts of his own life were also impressive in that his life exemplifies a passionate man's incessant pursuit of understanding and adapting to turbulent changes in the modern economy.
Mr. Kaufman's erudite illustrations which are equipped with detailed graphs and data make this book easier to understand and provide solid grounds to his insights into the financial architecture in the new century.
I would say that this book is a good start for non-finance major college students to take a brief look at the financial market and its history. I strongly recommend this book.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Biography, History of Financial Markets, and Prescriptions,
Henry Kaufman is one of the most important figures in the development of world credit markets in the last 40 years. This book is part biography, part history of the post World War II period in the financial markets, and part prescription for the financial markets in the next two decades. The book is written in a lucid, qualitative, approachable way that makes it accessible and interesting to almost any reader. In a foreword by Paul Volcker, the highly regarded former chairman of the Federal Reserve, you will learn that the on-going, difficult financial problems of the current age mean that "On Money and Markets should be prescribed reading for all those whose future and fortunes are tied to the performance of our financial systems."
Dr. Kaufman's influence has evolved through his studies of the credit markets, role in developing them as head of research at Solomon Brothers, commentator on the credit markets and Federal Reserve policy, and forecaster of financial market trends. He is well respected, even by those who do not agree with him. Perhaps his most influential moment came on August 17, 1982 when he called the turn in the interest rate environment that kicked in the bond and stock market boom in the United States that has lasted ever since.
Let me briefly describe each part of the book. The first nine chapters are primarily a biography of Dr. Kaufman. Despite the fact that I have been following his thinking closely for over 20 years, much of this was new to me. He is modest in speaking about his accomplishments, which makes the story more appealing. The story of how Dr. Kaufman became "the" Henry Kaufman is well worth your time. Born in a small rural town in Germany, violence against Jews in his own town caused his family to emigrate to the United States in the 1930s. During the time in Germany, he suffered from polio, and had two operations as a result. Speaking almost no English when he arrived in New York, he was back to grade level performance within a year . . . after the humiliation of being put back into the first grade. You will get many interesting glimpses of how important mentors and families are to the accomplishments of any one.
Chapters three through fifteen also serve as a partial history of the world (and especially the U.S.) financial markets. The length of the period covered and the breadth of view make his perspective very valuable for the casual observer of the subject. Most will be surprised by how great the changes have been in the last two decades, for example.
But, to me, the most valuable parts of this book were the prescriptive elements of what needs to be done now that build from material in chapters eleven through eighteen. I agree with him that regulation is falling behind the shifts in the financial markets. For example, new types of financial institutions are being created that have essentially no regulation, yet contain great risks for the whole society. CitiGroup is an example. The banking part is regulated by the Federal Reserve but the Travelers insurance portions are regulated by the states. The investment banking part of the company is primarily regulated by the SEC.
He also warns against the excessive use of derivatives, financial leverage, and decreased care in overseeing these practices compared to their size and importance. In good economic times, this works well. How well will they work in bad economic times? Probably not very well. The near collapse of the bond market during the Russian debt crisis in 1998 is an important warning here.
More significantly, although the Federal Reserve knows that there is a stock and real estate speculative bubble in the United States, it is at a loss to know how to handle that bubble. Dr. Kaufman predicts tough times and greater volatility in the markets ahead that will make the one-day fall in October 1987 look like a walk in the park. The collapse will be abetted by the low savings rate, the growing importance of other strong currencies, high debt levels, incomplete regulation of speculation, and greater growth abroad while the Fed fights back by only being able to lower interest rates.
These are sobering words and thoughts, and I hope that policy-makers, policy-influencers, as well as ordinary citizens will take them seriously. The time to fix the dike is before it breaks.
If Dr. Kaufman is right, how will you protect the financial security of your organization, business, career, and family? Without knowing what the risks are, you won't know what to prepare for. I suggest you read this book as part of your preparation.
The only people who will be disappointed in this book are those who would like a more detailed and technical explanation of these points. Dr. Kaufman is clearly capable of providing more, but did not want to limit his audience. Despite its general nature, I found the chapter on forecasting to be quite interesting and valuable.
After you have read this book, also ask yourself if you have taken full advantage of your opportunities in life as Dr. Kaufman has. If you have not, ask yourself what you could learn from his example. I suspect that you will start asking for and getting more advice from outstanding people as a result.
Live long and prosper!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An historical perspective with keen insight,
Henry Kaufman brought legitimate research to Wall Street as the first PhD hired on the street at Salomon Brothers. His historical perspective and interpretation of the markets is a must reading for anyone with any vested interest in the economy and/or Wall Street (i.e. everyone). Dr. Kaufman explains in layman's terms what economists struggle with on a day to day basis. The book details the economic events that shaped today's Wall Street. Despite Henry's obvious bleak perspective, significant lessons can be learned by reading this text. He talks about his lessons from childhood in inflationary Germany, his emigration to the US, his rise from academic to creator of arguably the best research department on Wall Street today. Salomon is the dominate player in the bond market, directly as a result of Dr. Kaufman's contributions.
My only critique is his overly pessimistic concern about today's financial markets. He criticizes leverage, derivatives, and the globalization of the world's economies. His answer to these "unregulated potential disaster's" is government intervention. This is his solution despite admitting that the private sector has all the financial talent because the government can't afford to pay for the best. As we all know, if you reallly want to screw soomething up, assign it to the government.
Overall an excellent resource of information and interpretation of economic historical financial events.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars economic history of the post WWII world.,
How many individuals can look back on their careers and survey the influence that they have had on their industry with the intelligence and objectivity of Dr. Kaufman as evidenced in this well written memoir. To be sure, his explanations of the monetary and fiscal environments and the economic consequences over the past 40 years are at times dry. The sections dealing with his experiences and the evolution of the financial services industry are absolutely fascinating. Recommended to anyone interested in macroeconomics and particularly to economic students.This should become required reading in Macro 101 courses.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memoir with real insight,
I am grateful that Dr. Kaufman took the time to write this book. What makes it particularly worthwhile is the way he gives us enough biography to give us a good context for his views and insights into aspects of the way our economy functions - particularly how Wall Street and Washington D.C. function.
It isn't a breezy memoir of anecdote and scandal. Instead we get honest consideration, real wit, and prodigious experience. I think it is a book that deserves careful reading and discussion.
You may not agree with every conclusion he draws, but since it IS Henry Kaufman they certainly deserve careful consideration and re-consideration. Those interested in finance, especially MBA students, will find that his careful telling of how Wall Street has developed from partnerships to corporations and the rise of derivatives and securitization particularly valuable.
If you are insterested in realities about Wall Street and Washington you will find this book engrossing and valuable. You won't be lead astray with glib talk or silly notions designed simply to sell books to the unwary. This is the real stuff.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!,
Over the last decade we have seen many self-serving autobiographies and memoirs, but Henry Kaufman's On Money and Markets certainly is not one of them. Kaufman is an investment banker, but he is also a scholar and a gentleman. These memoirs capture the mettle of the man from his start in the banking business, through his years at Salomon Brothers and eventually to his own consulting business. The period covered, from pre-world War II to the end of the 20th century, is the most dynamic time in the history of the financial markets. It is Kaufman's insights into these revolutionary years on Wall Street that make this a gripping tale. We [...] recommend this book to all executives and investors, many of whom would benefit greatly from a refresher course in Wall Street history.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story of a true rags to riches gentleman,
This review is from: On Money and Markets: A Wall Street Memoir (Kindle Edition)
When you find out where Henry Kaufman started, and think about what he has acoomplished, you'll be reminded of what a great country we live in. It's particularly interesting to read his comments in light of the crash of 2008.
4.0 out of 5 stars He saw it coming.,
This review is from: On Money and Markets: A Wall Street Memoir (Paperback)
Henry Kaufman shares his (and his families) life lessons from pre-
war Germany and in the United States. A good primer on the steps that lead to the present banking mess. In fact, the final predictive chapters (written ten years ago)we remarkably prophetic about the 2008 melt-down.
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On Money and Markets: A Wall Street Memoir by Henry Kaufman (Paperback - October 15, 2001)
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