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Tales from the Boom-Boom Room: Women vs. Wall Street Hardcover – November, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomberg Press; 1 edition (November 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576600785
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576600788
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,214,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This in-depth investigation of the Smith Barney sex scandal and other discrimination against women on Wall Street in the 1990s is an eye-opener. Bloomberg News columnist Antilla deftly tracks the drama and its legal twists and turns, capturing the different points of view while depicting the main characters convincingly. The effect of the lawsuit against Smith Barney was huge, opening a discussion of how women were treated in this male-dominated industry and eventually leading to a watershed change. Antilla begins with the lurid tales from Smith Barney's Garden City, N.Y., basement party room (the so-called "Boom-Boom Room"), where lap dances took place, managers carried guns and men burped, farted and partied with gusto and apparently little self-control. But stories like these were not limited to this one location. Industrywide, many women told similar, recurring tales of how they were intimidated; harassed with X-rated talk; excluded from business lunches, meetings and golf outings; and how their careers were damaged or stymied in various ways. These women put up with devastating behavior far beyond typical locker-room shenanigans; many quit or considered suicide. From Merrill Lynch to Smith Barney, Olde and others, such behavior finally prompted major lawsuits, leading to arbitration and massive media coverage. Antilla expertly untangles the story's many contrasting sides, creating a compelling and disturbing portrait of an industry and the women who dared to challenge it. Photos.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"...a book that shows what a really good investigative reporter can do with the hot topic of sexual harassment." -- Lucy Sussex, Sunday Age (Melbourne), November 24, 2002

"A gutsy, important book." -- Kate Jennings, The Financial Times, December 5, 2002

"A startling new book… A catalogue of long-suppressed abuse of women." -- James Langton, The Evening Standard (London), December 5, 2002

"An explosive new book that has scandalized Manhattan’s financial district." -- Sarah Baxter, Sunday Times (London), November 17, 2002

"Comprehensive and sharply written… The author turns up some outrageous details." -- Heather Timmons, Business Week, November 25, 2002

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was a successful broker for many years in one of Smith Barney's largest offices in the nation, and I can personally attest that the events depicted in this book, while shocking, are not exaggerations.
I would have appreciated if Antilla had consulted with some Constitutional law experts. She should have noted that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld mandatory arbitration shortly after Judge Motley upheld it in this particular lawsuit.
Antilla captures the culture of Shearson Lehman Bros. and Smith Barney with uncanny accuracy. Any investor -- male or female -- should read this book to understand some of the ways that the Wall Street good old boys network circles the wagons to protect their own.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on June 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Susan Antilla presents a powerful and startling indictment of the sexist behavior of stock brokers working for Wall Street and its offshoots, specifically Smith Barney's Shearson/American Express office in Garden City, Long Island. Women struggled to be hired, and then found that the men in charge of their careers practiced all sorts of sexual harassment and intimidation, from jokes to displays of sexual prowess, physical contact and threats of rape. As she describes, the bosses sought to bar women or trap them in low positions. While painting the broader picture, Antilla focuses on whistle blower, Pam Martens, who revealed the situation when she sued for damages. This skillfully written book reads like a fascinating novel, so graphic and dramatic that it is more like a screenplay than a report. We believe it will draw intense interest from everyone affected by this issue: female executives who face glass ceilings and harassment, male executives who must determine their own philosophies toward their female colleagues and human resource professionals who are charged with watching out for them both.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. Spell VINE VOICE on March 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a principal at an investment-banking firm although not a stockbroker so reading this book was a good exercise in reviewing the risks at our firm. The coverage in this book is exceptional. As discussed, investment-banking firms are ripe with potential for sexual discrimination. Partly because so many areas work on trading floors which breed a fraternity type atmosphere, partly because stock brokers tend to be fraternity/salesmen type guys, and partly because this environment has assistants, many who are women, working in close contact with these who sometimes consider themselves "masters of the universe." Confidence/cockiness is never in short supply at an investment banking firm's trading floor.
The first part of the book lays out the environment where sexual discrimination was prevalent. It's so clearly offensive that it's amazing there wasn't a larger settlement in this case. But this is where the book greatly details the unique twist in the case. The protagonist goes through two lawyers and watches as her lawyer and the opposing lawyer seem to become more in agreement than her and her lawyer. Eventually she's dropped from the settlement even though her name still appears on the class action suit. So while I thought I was a reading a sexual discrimination, the book turned into attorney/client relationships and attorney greed in class action cases.
Do I think the attorneys became more concerned about their large fee than their client? Yes. Do I think the original client could be difficult to deal with? Yes. But the outcome is tragic and no one got what he or she deserved. Justice was not monetarily served for the defendants in my opinion. I strongly recommend this book if you have interest in investment banking, law or women's issues.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on December 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Susan Antilla presents a powerful and startling indictment of the sexist behavior of stock brokers working for Wall Street and its offshoots, specifically Smith Barney's Shearson/American Express office in Garden City, Long Island. Women struggled to be hired, and then found that the men in charge of their careers practiced all sorts of sexual harassment and intimidation, from jokes to displays of sexual prowess, physical contact and threats of rape. As she describes, the bosses sought to bar women or trap them in low positions. While painting the broader picture, Antilla focuses on whistle blower, Pam Martens, who revealed the situation when she sued for damages. This skillfully written book reads like a fascinating novel, so graphic and dramatic that it is more like a screenplay than a report. We from getAbstract believe it will draw intense interest from everyone affected by this issue: female executives who face glass ceilings and harassment, male executives who must determine their own philosophies toward their female colleagues and human resource professionals who are charged with watching out for them both.
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