Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Tearing Down the Walls: How Sandy Weill Fought His Way to the Top of the Financial World. . .and Then Nearly Lost It All (Wall Street Journal Book) Paperback – May 3, 2004
Featured business titles
Sponsored by McGraw-Hill Learn more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
A symbol of crony capitalism thanks to his friendly phone call to the 92nd Street Y pre-school on behalf of analyst Jack Grubman, Sanford Weill helped lay the groundwork for today's vertically integrated (and scandal-ridden) financial industry. Starting with a small brokerage, Weill built several business empires that culminated in the $83 billion 1998 merger that put him atop the global financial services leviathan Citigroup, an unprecedented agglomeration of investment and retail banks, insurance companies, consumer loan corporations and stock brokerages. More than a mere deal-maker, he also brought "lean and mean" management to Wall Street by laying off workers, slashing benefits, raiding pension funds and substituting stock options for salaries. Wall Street Journal reporter Langley's colorful biography tells this story well. She paints a vivid portrait of Weill, whose messy appetites, towering tantrums and voracious desire for corporate jets and other status symbols make him seem occasionally pre-schoolish himself, and provides a blow-by-blow account of Wall Street's sometimes explosive restructuring grounded in pettiness, nepotism and backstabbing. It's hard, though, to see the drama in executive turf battles when even the losers walk away with $30 million golden parachutes, and larger issues can get lost in the soap opera of office politics. The economic ramifications of the financial industry's reorganization are hardly touched on, and the effects of Weill's draconian cost-cutting on the rank-and-file who bore the brunt of it are treated as an untroubling prerequisite to rising productivity and share-holder value. Langley's book is informative and highly readable, but there's a much bigger story to be told.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Forbes A riveting narrative.
The Economist A rollicking biography.
BusinessWeek A well-written, fast-paced read that does the best job yet of explaining who Weill is.
Time [A] richly reported recent history of Wall Street and corporate America told through an oversize personality.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
What makes this book interesting are the character flaws of Sandy Weill. While he has strengths in cost cutting efficiency, he has many management flaws. Temper management, delegation of authority, public speaking are but a few of the flaws detailed in this book. Of particular interest is his relationship with Jamie Dimon, his long-time younger protégé, who is eventually let go and now runs Bank One.
There is one complaint I have with this book. At the takeover of Commercial Credit, there are significant discussions of the changes in management philosophy that are quite interesting. But after significant work and allusion of improvement, no report of financial performance was provided to demonstrate mathematically how positive the improvement was. Obviously, it was significant given the mergers that took place after the turnaround of Commercial Credit.
I must compliment the author on a thorough research job. It was clear from the dialog that this book would have been impossible without interviews with many different people including Sandy Weill. I did not find this book tipped to Weill's favor as a "fluff" piece but rather I thought the author balanced the good with the bad.
In summary, if you like business summaries dealing with finance you will like this book.
- Despite Weill's emphasis on stock options - not cash - as financial incentives for his employees, Weill himself became the highest and most overpaid CEO by getting the slavish board to grant him obscene amounts of CASH for his compensation.
- Weill and Dimon are responsible for laying off tens of thousands of people in their career, and their ruthlessness are in full display in Langley's book. As the saying goes, cruel people are equally sentimental. The depth of self-pity of Weill and Dimon when they themselves get fired are simply revolting in their hypocrisy and self-righteousness.
- Weill's monstrous capacity for decadent self-indulgence is biblical in its scale. While becoming hysterical against employee benefits that are measured in pennies, he gets equally hysterical when faced with scrutiny of his fleet of corporate jets, ironically by his right-hand man, Jamie Dimon.
Weill is a modern day equivalent of the rail road and oil robber barons of the last century, i.e. megalomanic monsters who squeeze every penny out of his employees to expand his empire, and then spends the money to re-cast himself as a pioneer, benefactor and philanthropist.
Langley had to make many compromises in order to get access to Weill's world and played right into his hand. In the last 100 pages of her book, the author appears to be increasingly star struck, focusing on the lavish lifestyle and adulation of an aging tycoon surrounded by sycophants.
If Langley had the courage, she would have pointed out the obvious: Weill is no David, but indeed the very description of the "rich man" described in Bible:
" There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day... The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hell, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. And he called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame... But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. "