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The Real Deal: My Life in Business and Philanthropy Hardcover – October 9, 2006

23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

More than an autobiography, CitiGroup CEO and renowned philanthropist Weill delivers an ambitious project that spans more than 50 years of business history and provides real-world advice for investment neophytes and market insiders alike. Weill, a Brooklyn native, started his career in 1960 with a $30,000 loan and a dream, and slowly created an empire; at present, CitiGroup is the largest financial institution in the world, its share price having grown 2,644% since its initial public offering in 1986 (when it was known as Commercial Credit). An inspiring story told with subtlety and candor, Weill's memoir offers something for everyone-from his ten golden rules of leadership to a first-hand explication of the 1990s bull-bear battles on Wall Street, and a candid interview with his wife Joan (complete with her advice for the "Corporate Spouse"). At times emotional and self-congratulatory, this book's purpose is always clear-to celebrate and enshrine Weill's successes. Nonetheless, it also includes salient criticism, and some painful explication of his mistakes along the way. Like the man himself, this book tells it like it is, and has little to hide.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

"I've been friends with Sandy Weill for nearly thirty years, and this book is vintage Sandy: at every turn it's spirited, passionate, and brutally honest."

--President Gerald Ford

"A consummate innovator, Sandy Weill has written a memoir which uniquely brings to life the dramatic evolution of the modern financial services industry."

--Dr. Alan Greenspan

"THE REAL DEAL doesn't mince words on what it takes to be successful in business and life. Sandy's drive and hard-earned lessons resonate throughout this fascinating book."

--Dr. Henry Kissinger

"Sandy Weill reinvented Wall Street, redefined banking, and reshaped the world of financial services. He is a visionary who changed the world of business for all of us, and in doing so became that rarest of all breeds--a legend in his own time."

--Ken Chenault

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Business Plus (October 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446578142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446578141
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Ghai on March 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is actually quite an interesting book and a fairly good and fast read. However compared to the previous two books on Weill, this offers maybe only 5% new information and some extra personal view on events that were reported by other authors.

My main gripe with this book is that it shows everything in a very biased view. Everyones "leaving" Sandy for whatever reason gave him a feeling of betrayal and as someone who did not appricate what was done for them by Sandy.
Jamie Dimon is depicted as a strong personality, maybe inflexible (Joan Weill also cites this as reason for why everyone close to Jamie left him), but this is not considered the reason why everyone (and really everyone) close to Sandy left and did not continue working for him.
While a lot of associates were described as people who could not change the way they worked, Sandy himself writes about having "issues" leaving day to day runnning of Citibank to Chuck Prince.

And frankly, Joan Weills section on giving her perspective of things seems to be another attempt to defend the actions of Sandy Weill.

Maybe the only way for a really different perspective on this will be if other executives (especailly Jamie Dimon) ever pen down their side of the story.

Sandy Weill - A really interesting character - achieved a lot despite his humble beginning and background; a maverick who shook up the biggest financial industry. But as a book on him, I prefer other books, especially "King of Capital"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on January 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read "The Real Deal" in the hope of gaining insight on how to be a good manager. The book did not help; the main "insight" I gained was the suspicion that Weill's success was largely due to his having strong people as operational assistants - eg. Cohen at Shearson, and Dimon at Citigroup.

The one other potential insight I took away from the book was Weill's endorsement of requiring top executives to hold most of their stock until retirement (thus avoiding the incentive for short-term manipulations); it was also somewhat interesting (and disappointing) to read of the key role played by politics at American Express while Weill was there.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Kurdas on October 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Business memoirs are usually way too self serving to tell you anything useful, but this one is an exception. Weill has many dramatic stories and, despite the co-author, conveys enough of what appears to be his real thoughts to be interesting. This is one of the toughest and wiliest - no pun - players on Wall Street, but one actually feels for him when he describes the trap New York attorney-general Spitzer set for Citigroup just as Weill thought the bank's legal problems were under control. Analyst Grubman's emails were leaked, the scandal was all over the press, but Weill and Citigroup couldn't really respond. He was like a mouse trying to dodge a menacing cat, while forbidden to make any noise. So powerful a chief executive was forced into a pitiful situation--yet the government didn't have a case with the Grubman revelations and nothing came of it. In the meanwhile, Citigroup's stock tanked. Some poor innocent investor who happened to own it lost money as the prosecutors played with Weill until they decided there was no case against him. Life isn't fair and the government much less so. Not that Weill has reason to complain, all in all: he went to the bank and came out with a fortune. As distinguished a career as possible, through the ups and downs and despite the tribulations toward the end with Spitzer. Definitely worth reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
September 11, 2011...I have read numerous books (The Fed We Trust, Reckless Endangerment, The Big Short, End Game among others) which dealt with the Great Recession of 2007-2009...and maybe continuing to this day. With this in mind, I wanted to revisit my review of Sandy Weill's and Judith Kraushaar's "The Real Deal." The book is still a must read but not for the lessons of leadership but, rather, the lessons of hubris. Now that we can understand Weill's recklessness with debt and push to eliminate the Glass-Steagal Act, this book provides a new perspective as to Weill's influence and greed. He was very much part of the problem the U.S. economy and taxpayers are facing today. He, however, made off with millions.

"The Real Deal" is a rich case study and fascinating story of Sandy Weill, one of the contributors to the structuring of the financial services industry over the past half century and the resultant the crash of 2008. The book provides insights to how he consistently stayed ahead of the events and built two leading, but flawed, companies from scratch. Weill pursued more transformational acquisitions, created more shareholder value, destroyed more shareholder value, and enjoyed more poorly based respect from his peers than any other contemporary.

Weill's career spans an age when:
* partnerships were dominant to the rise of the modern corporate form of ownership;
* the rules of regulation were rapidly changing (some of which he spearheaded including the elimination of the Glass-Steagal Act);
* there was a growing appetite for derivative investment which he helped feed;
* globalization and deregulation of the rapidly changed the financial services industry.
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