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King of the Club: Richard Grasso and the Survival of the New York Stock Exchange Hardcover – November 6, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Beginning with a handy list of players and ending with copious notes and references, this well-documented look at the rise and fall of New York Stock Exchange chairman Richard Grasso, who served from 1995-2003, gives readers an astonishing look inside the boardroom of the New York Stock Exchange. Many will be surprised to learn exactly how the exchange operated before it recently automated trading, functioning as one of "the country's most insular institutions," despite a growing need for efficiency and the mounting concern of lawmakers weary that "so much power and wealth were concentrated in relatively few hands." Indeed, the sums involved are enormous, making this an absorbing (if immediately recognizable) story of greed, corruption and power struggles writ very large. Gasparino reconstructs the events of Grasso's tenure with an evenhanded point of view, including plenty of historic context and satisfying detail; the well-researched narrative flows smoothly between Grasso's career arc and the subsequent, transformative changes in the NYSE. Anyone invested in the exchange, or simply curious to see how those financial world executives earn their enormous pay packages, should find this book riveting.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“[T]his well-documented look at the rise and fall of New York Stock Exchange chairman Richard Grasso...gives readers an astonishing look inside the boardroom.... Gasparino reconstructs the events of Grasso’s tenure with an evenhanded point of view, including plenty of ...satisfying detail... [R]iveting.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Gasparino has done his homework. He has talked to the people who matter, and King of the Club is rich with their recollection of their roles in Grasso’s rise and fall.” (Conference Board Review)

“CNBC correspondent Gasparino masterfully combines Richard Grasso’s rags-to-riches narrative with the grand history of the New York Stock Exchange.” (Library Journal)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; 1 edition (November 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006089833X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060898335
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,028,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I worked on the NYSE Floor from 1986-2003 and was a Floor Trader for a few years. I knew Mr. Grasso although not too well. I encountered him almost every day. I thought he was the best thing for the Exchange and it certainly flourished under his reign. He was a charismatic cheerleader and savvy business man. I also saw his temper and dark side as he scolded me one day as I tried to transverse the trading floor with a torn calf muscle and was knocked sideways by another trader trying to get somewhere in a hurry. He heard the expletive escape from my mouth as I winced in pain and he immediately came up behind me and put a firm grip on my arm that I had not experienced since Sister Francis did so in 5th grade and gave me a stern warning about the use of foul language. I also remember the events of 9/11 and how it was rumored that Grasso wanted us back to work on 9/12 even though the building had gone through some physical stress that day as debris from the falling towers came upon the building and it shook violently as the towers fell. Not to mention what the people working inside the Exchange went through emotionally and still had to as they waited on word about family members, friends and colleagues that worked inside the towers. The book shed light on how Grasso fought with the politicians to keep the Exchange closed as we all thought he was a heartless SOB trying to further his reputation and feed his ego wanting to open it the next day. A great read that was educating as I learned a lot of what was going on upstairs as I was one of the so called "animals" on the trading floor.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An interesting work that provides an inside picture of not only the NYSE, Wall Street but also some of the powerful people involved in high finance and corporate America. This book is particularly for you if you are looking for a detailed biography of Grasso. I was looking forward to reading about the pay controversies involving the 140 million retirement cash payout with a contested 48 million additional sum and the battle with Elliott Spitzer over, what was construed, as an excessive payment for a non-profit company. The interest in pay and Spitzer's involvement doesn't really take off until roughly 180 plus pages. However, the first half of the book covers well Grasso's rise from humble means and start with the NYSE, his involvement with the floor traders, his rise, his ability to recruit companies to the NYSE and his ability to promote the NYSE with the ringing of the bell each day with celebrity and his getting the NYSE up and running after 9-11. And there is some glitz about Grasso's high power associations, dinner at Rio's and his celebrity. The fall starts with the emergence of his pay package that grows with one of his strongest supporters on the compensation board with significant salary increases that are often deferred into a NYSE retirement account. Although hard to fathom, even after reading the book, it seems that many on the compensation board, although recognizing the value of Grasso, seem to lose focus on what he is getting paid until Grasso decides to cash out 140 million all at once.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
The book made Mr. Grasso and the Exchange come alive!

I didn't know much about the New York Stock Exchange before reading
this book, but Mr. Gasparino's writing is so clear and concise that I
learned not only about this fascinating self-made man but about the
inner workings of the Club itself. I would recommend this book to
anyone who wants to learn about Grasso or The NYSE - or to anyone who
just wants to read a great story!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A few years ago, when I first heard of Mr. Grasso's salary I recoiled in shock. The presentation of the "facts" by the press led me like the pied piper to this inevitable reaction. Simply stated, I believe I reacted in the way that the news media wanted me to; in a sense I was programmed by the coverage to react the way I did. In retrospect, there may have been some balanced reporting out there at the time; I did not read everything or even a great deal about the case. It seemed so open and shut.

I purchased this book, not so much because it was about the NYSE and Mr. Grasso, but because I admire the author. Now, I admire the author even more and I have, at last, been exposed to a balanced account of the "Grasso story." Although I doubt that Mr. Gasparino intended it, I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Grasso's pay was what his peers thought it should be. Mr. Grasso's detractors say that he stacked the compensation committee and the board with his allies.

All of us who work for institutions have their pay determined by others. Furthermore, some of us, including me, have cultivated those who determine their pay and have received above average salary advancement on a consistent basis, often because of this cultivation. Besides schmoozing those who set our pay, most of us try to excel at our jobs and thus repay the organization for our compensation. In Mr. Grasso's case there is so much objective evidence that he executed extraordinarily as an employee of the NYSE, at all position levels, that I find it difficult to rationalize the attacks made on him.

Bad "optics" is used to explain the awkwardness of Mr. Grasso's salary package at the time of its revelation to the public at large.
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