Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Rise and Fall of Bear Stearns

Blunt. Ace Greenberg’s memoir, The Rise and Fall of Bear Stearns, fits into the pattern of his earlier book, Memos from the Chairman: blunt, pithy, and sometimes humorous. In this short book (under 200 pages), Greenberg recounts his career without much detail or elaboration. This matter-of-fact style communicates his point of view with great clarity, but leaves readers with more questions than answers. For about half the book, Greenberg refutes the version of events former Bear CEO Jimmy Cayne revealed in House of Cards. The bluntness abounds in those parts. When it came to refuting Cayne’s recollection of his early compensation at the company, Greenberg’s summary was “I think not.” While Greenberg positions himself as above reproach and always interested in merit, employees, shareholders and the survival of the firm, his failure to uncover the character and shortcomings of key executives comes across as nothing short of Shakespearean tragedy.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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