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Capital Instincts: Life As an Entrepreneur, Financier, and Athlete 1st Edition

3.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471214175
ISBN-10: 0471214175
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Editorial Reviews

Review

San Francisco investment boutique Thomas Weisel Partners just offloaded another 100 employees (spurring more rumors the firm will be sold), but its 62-year-old founder is busy charging up other hills. Weisel, a renowned cyclist, has been promoting his new autobiography, Capital Instincts: Life as an Entrepreneur, Financier, and Athlete, and doling out the tome to clients. The book isn't exactly flying off the shelves (Amazon rank: 9,136), but it's packed with testosterone-charged tales of Weisel's athletic, business, and art-collecting exploits--including his recent $40 million sale of abstract impressionist art. Chapter 1: "Never Underestimate Thom Weisel." (Fortune Magazine, March 31,2003)

From the Inside Flap

For over three decades, Thomas W. Weisel has been one of the leading figures of the financial scene that blossomed along with Silicon Valley, becoming an integral part of its phenomenal success. Many pioneers have contributed to the changing nature of U.S. business, but only a few have emerged as real leaders in American entrepreneurialism. Thom Weisel is one of those leaders.

His passions extend beyond business. Deeply competitive, he remained a top athlete well into his fifties, helped revive U.S. Olympic skiing and U.S. cycling, and created the world-class cycling team (led by his good friend Lance Armstrong) that has won the famed Tour de France four times in a row-and counting. He's also a renowned art collector and has contributed significantly to the world of politics, not just with money but with his classic blend of personal involvement and energy.

In Capital Instincts: Life As an Entrepreneur, Financier, and Athlete, you'll follow Thom Weisel from his youth as an extraordinarily talented athlete from Milwaukee, to his present position as one of the most influential investment bankers of our time. He rejected the New York financial scene in 1969 to join the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley, taking public such companies as Amgen, Micron Technology, Siebel Systems, and Yahoo! He may be one of the last of a generation of influential financial entrepreneurs in a world now dominated by giant conglomerates.

A controversial figure, Weisel took over control of Montgomery Securities in a power struggle that solidified his reputation as a no-holds-barred businessman decades ago. Through accounts from colleagues, competitors, and Weisel himself, you'll learn how he built Montgomery to a position of prominence, selling the firm to NationsBank in 1998 for $1.3 billion-probably the biggest mistake of his career.

In 1998, Weisel walked out of NationsBank-now called Bank of America after its acquisition of the San Francisco bank-after a dispute over control. He took key partners and hundreds of millions of dollars with him to start over again at the age of 58. His new company, Thomas Weisel Partners, reached nearly half a billion dollars in revenues in two years, one of the fastest growing companies in history. The firm was then battered by recession, the death of the dot-com industry, and an industry wracked by scandal. But Weisel's rapid restructuring of his firm, told even as it happens, is a powerful lesson in business crisis management.

A mix of intellectual might, passion, and powerful egos, Capital Instincts distills Thomas Weisel's approach to success throughout his life. Weisel himself adds commentaries on the U.S. economy, the future of the stock market, and the current crisis in the industry. Capital Instincts is an extraordinary tale of life, business, and sports from one of the most impressive leaders of our age.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471214175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471214175
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,666,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rick Spell VINE VOICE on May 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm an I-Banker and enjoy reading biographies of exceptional businessmen. Sandy Weill's recent biography comes to mind as a personal favorite. Since Tom Weisel is an exceptional athlete with many interests similar to mine, I thought I would enjoy this read. Frankly, it's very painful.
First of all, the two-page summary at the end of each chapter written by Weisel would have been a great framework around which to write a biography. But the actual chapters read like a paid self-promotion or someone in the throes of hero-worship. The author consistently talks of what a great athlete Weisel is while making sure he mentions that Weisel never brags about his athletic prowess. No need to given that the writer will glorify the results. Even concerning business the writer manages to find a positive in every event. For example, the original partners split up and start a competing firm but there is no attempt to mention if Weisel's faults could have had any impact. Of course, per this book, he has no faults.
Weisel eventually merges the successful but controversial Montgomery Securities into Nationsbank but after trumpeting this as a great deal, it merges poorly so blame is completely placed on Nationsbank. Now, of course anyone living this large competitive life must trade-in for a 24-year-old trophy wife when he is 49. Unfortunately there is never a significant mention of the break-up of his first marriage other than what a great father he is and how involved he is with all his kids.
This book is so filled with braggadocio that if Weisel were really interested in keeping the profile of a respected businessman, he would have done his best to limit his exposure to this book. Tom Weisel may very well be a great man but great men do not need to have this much said about them in this forum. I'm shocked he agreed to allow his name to be included in this work, as it is not becoming.
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Format: Hardcover
I am in a unique position to comment on this book as I was the copyeditor on it. Previous to this I could not reveal my opinions, but I am no longer employed by the company I worked for at that time, and ever since I read this piece of puke, I've wanted to tell somebody--anybody!--how horrific it is. Thom Weisel is a royal b**tard with an equally king-sized ego, and about 99% of the book is him bragging on himself. Don't think Brandt is the author--Thommy boy had his hands firmly on the reins the whole way through, BELIEVE ME BECAUSE HE MADE FIFTY THOUSAND CHANGES AT EVERY STAGE OF THE PUBLICATION PROCESS!!! Note also that almost every one of these changes was to make the book even more self-aggrandizing than it started out. If you love reading the inflated-headed ramblings of a narcissistic egotist, this one is for you, but if bloated self-smooching turns you off the least bit, prepare to never stop throwing up.

And now, for my final question: Why doesn't he just sleep with Lance Armstrong and get it over with?

I feel so much better now!
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Format: Hardcover
The right Instinct is to preserve your Capital and not buy this item. Calling this effort a book is unfair to other books. It is more properly viewed as a press release. The author spends most of the pages repeating how handsome and athletic Thom (don't call me Tom) Weisel is, and shares very little about the factors, decisions, etc that have made him uniquely successful in building two leading banks. This text imparts more information on Lance Armstrong than it does on the tech banking industry. There is a book to be written on Montgomery and TWP, but this is not it.
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By elmatos on November 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Tom Weisel is a cancer to society, not only for destroying US cycling but also for all his questionnable IPO's. Weisle at least, ws able to find a new niche to some of the best products Amgen ever made...
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