Most helpful positive review
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A Most Excellent Salon
on January 8, 2010
Imagine you're friends with some of the most intellectually stimulating and financially successful people in the world and you invited them all to dinner one night. Imagine they came and took turns sharing their greatest insights into the sources of the financial crisis, where we are today and what the best opportunities are going forward. And finally imagine someone could write it all down and get this salon published as a guide for the rest of us. That's pretty much what you've got in Lori Ann LaRocco's new book, "Thriving in the New Economy." The guests in this salon are definitely the "A List" including Larry Lindsey, Wilbur Ross, Rudy Giuliani, Wayne Huizenga, Bob Doll and many others. And the conversation is lively thanks to LaRocco's guest selection, personal relationships and conversational prompts. Larry Lindey tell us that IQ points and academic achievements are not enough to provide good economic stewardship; you need real world market experience and a feel for what markets are actually telling you. He warns against the dangers of cognitive bias and gives us tips for maintaining an objective, analytic approach free of ideological baggage. The contribution of Wilbur Ross is fascinating. We all know the chronology of the meltdown too well from Bear to Lehman to AIG. Ross goes over this ground not just as a simple chronology but by retracing his mental processes as he first minimized dangers in his own portfolio and then maximized opportunities in seeking gems amid the financial wreckage. We each remember what we thought when we heard about AIG but actually getting inside Ross's head for a play-by-play account of how he alerted the CEO's in his existing portfolio companies to cuts costs, cut investments and lower projections and then pivoted to look at the most beaten down sectors - mortgages, monoline insurance and banks - and systematically pulled diamonds out of the dirt is fascinating. It shows how the smart money got that way and how it stays that way. Paul McCulley of PIMCO takes us inside the "new normal". We've all heard about it but McCulley outlines the dynamic tension between capitalism (which he calls efficient but non-democratic) and democracy (which he says is fair but messy) and shows how government is swinging the pendulum toward the latter in ways that have huge implications for investors. The book does not just focus on finance but moves through real estate, retail and manufacturing with the same panache and insight so that we get an overview of the new economy emerging from the crisis of 2007-2009. And Rudy Giuliani reminds us how beaten down New York was by the late 1980's and how leadership and vision can turn around even a seemingly hopeless situation; something to bear in mind as we face hard times ahead. Bravo to Lori Ann LaRocco for using her vision, contacts and savvy to put together this top notch salon in book form which we can all enjoy and learn from. It's as if we're at the table with the smartest and most seasoned operators, but better, because we can turn to this book as a valuable guide time and time again.