Many years ago, I read Donald Trump‘s The Art of the Deal (New York: Random House, 1987)
The book is often-cited as one of the best-selling business books ever written. Others use the content of the book to register complaints about his Presidency, claiming that what Trump wrote is inconsistent with what he now says and does.
But, the larger question is, “does The Art of the Deal even qualify as a business book?” And, exactly how big of a best-seller is it? As of this writing, the book is in the top 100 of three Amazon.com best-seller sub-categories.
I found some information about these questions; click here to read these questions.
“It’s difficult to weigh Trump’s opus against other “business books” for two reasons.
Stephen A. Cohen, who was the focus of one of the most intensive insider trader investigation in history, is the subject of a new best-selling business book that debuted at # 3 on the Wall Street Journal best-seller list (January 18-19, 2016, p. C10).
The book, Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street (Random House), was released on February 7, and as of today’s writing is in the top four best-selling books in three Amazon.com sub-categories.
The author is Sheelah Kolhatkar, is a current staff writer at The New Yorker. She is a former hedge fund analyst. Her features focus upon Wall Street, Silicon Valley and politics. Kolhatkar has appeared on numerous business television programs, and also been a guest columnist in several business magazines, as well as the New York Times.
Who is Stephen Cohen, and what exactly is this book about? Please read this summary taken from the publisher’s website at http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/234210/black-edge-by-sheelah-kolhatkar/9780812995800/.
“The rise over the last two decades of a powerful new class of billionaire financiers marks a singular shift in the American economic and political landscape. Their vast reserves of concentrated wealth have allowed a small group of big winners to write their own rules of capitalism and public policy. How did we get here? Through meticulous reporting and powerful storytelling, New Yorker staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar shows how Steve Cohen became one of the richest and most influential figures in finance—and what happened when the Justice Department put him in its crosshairs.
“Cohen and his fellow pioneers of the hedge fund industry didn’t lay railroads, build factories, or invent new technologies. Rather, they made their billions through speculation, by placing bets in the market that turned out to be right more often than wrong—and for this they have gained not only extreme personal wealth but formidable influence throughout society. Hedge funds now manage nearly $3 trillion in assets, and competition between them is so fierce that traders will do whatever they can to get an edge.
“Cohen was one of the industry’s greatest success stories. He mastered poker in high school, went off to Wharton, and in 1992 launched SAC Capital, which he built into a $15 billion empire, almost entirely on the basis of his wizardlike stock trading. He cultivated an air of mystery, reclusiveness, and extreme excess, building a 35,000 square foot mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, and amassing one of the largest private art collections in the world. On Wall Street, Cohen was revered as a genius.
“That image was shattered when SAC became the target of a sprawling, seven-year government investigation. Labeled by prosecutors as a “magnet for market cheaters” whose culture encouraged the relentless hunt for “edge”—and even “black edge,” or inside information—SAC was ultimately indicted in connection with a vast insider trading scheme, even as Cohen himself was never charged.
“Black Edge offers a revelatory look at the gray zone in which so much of Wall Street functions, and a window into the transformation of the U.S. economy. It’s a riveting, true-life legal thriller that takes readers inside the government’s pursuit of Cohen and his employees, and raises urgent questions about the power and wealth of those who sit at the pinnacle of modern Wall Street.”
A less biased, although equally positive review appeared in the New York Times, written by Jennifer Senior on February 1, 2017. One of her points is: “But my hunch is that readers will most remember “Black Edge” for showing them just how alarmingly pervasive insider trading was in the years surrounding the 2008 collapse. It became commonplace, domesticated — dare I say it? — normalized.” You can read that review by clicking on this site: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/01/books/review-black-edge-an-account-of-a-hedge-fund-magnate-and-insider-trading.html?_r=0.
And, in case you feel sorry for Cohen, the last line in Senior’s review says, “[Kolhatkar] notes that in 2014, Cohen made $2.5 billion by trading his personal fortune alone. ‘He is making plans to reopen his hedge fund,” she writes, “as soon as possible.’”
Please continue to monitor our website at 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com, to see if this book rates one of our monthly selections at the First Friday Book Synopsis for presentation. Randy and I will discuss this very soon!
As evidence of how nervous we are about global finance, James Rickards‘ book on the subject, released on November 15, has shot all the way to # 3 as a debut selection. News about this appeared in the Wall Street Journal Business Best-Seller Hardcover list, published on November 26-27, p. C14.
Rickards’ title is The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites’ Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis (New York: Portfolio). The book is currently # 1 in three Business and Money categories on Amazon.com
This is not Rickards’ first book. As I both paraphrase and quote from his biography published on Amazon.com, he is the Editor of Strategic Intelligence, a financial newsletter, and Director of The James Rickards Project, an inquiry into the complex dynamics of geopolitics and global capital. He is the author of The New Case for Gold (April 2016), and two New York Times’ best-sellers, The Death of Money (2014), and Currency Wars (2011) published by Penguin Random House. “He is a portfolio manager, lawyer, and economist, and has held senior positions at Citibank, Long-Term Capital Management, and Caxton Associates. In 1998, he was the principal negotiator of the rescue of LTCM sponsored by the Federal Reserve. His clients include institutional investors and government directorates. He is an Op-Ed contributor to the Financial Times, Evening Standard, New York Times, and Washington Post, and has been interviewed on BBC, CNN, NPR, C- SPAN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox, and The Wall Street Journal. Mr. Rickards is a guest lecturer in globalization and finance at The Johns Hopkins University, The Kellogg School at Northwestern, and the School of Advanced International Studies.”
The essence of this book appears in a description on Amazon.com: “As Rickards shows in this frightening, meticulously researched book, governments around the world have no compunction about conspiring against their citizens. They will have stockpiled hard assets when stock exchanges are closed, ATMs shut down, money market funds frozen, asset managers instructed not to sell securities, negative interest rates imposed, and cash withdrawals denied.”
It remains to be seen whether we will present this book at an upcoming First Friday Book Synopsis. Part of this depends upon the critical reviews the book receives, and how well it performs on upcoming best-seller lists. But, there is little question that the book will continue to receive much attention over the next several months.
Over the last few weeks, you have undoubtedly heard the publicity surrounding the newsest revealed mistress during the presidency of John F. Kennedy.
Her name is Mimi Alford, and over the past three weeks, she has appeared on practically every news and talk program that you can access.
I read her book this weekend. It is entitled Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and its Aftermath (Random House, 2012). You can read one of many reviews of the book here, published in the Wall Street Journal on February 13, 2012.
I found the book to be very personal, reflective, and insightful. If you are looking for a “kiss-and-tell” book, it has those elements. You will read the details of her first sexual encounter with JFK in Jackie’s bedroom, and how months later, he pressured her to perform oral sex on his key aide, Dave Powers. But that is not what this book is about, nor does it focus on sex.
Instead, you will find a revealing narrative about key elements and events in the Kennedy administration through a different set of eyes. Those are the eyes of a naive, but bright 19-year old White House intern. I have read many books about Kennedy and his thousand days in office, and can honestly tell you that I read things here that I had not known before. This book covers 18 months, from 1962-1963, and then, shifts to the rest of her life through two marriages.
She is now 68. Her back cover picture makes her appear more attractive than what you see on talk shows. You can find many of those interviews on YouTube if you want to see them, including her appearance on ABC’s The View, with its illustrative panel.
Is this worth buying and reading? I think so. It is overpriced at $25, in that it is less than 200 pages long. But, I read enough. I finished satisfied that my time was well-spent.
Maybe we have finally met the last JFK mistress. At least, there are no other remaining footnotes or cryptically identified characters such as produced Mimi Alford. Maybe not. That’s not the point.
Her book gives us insight into an unsettling yet exciting time. And, this book makes it clear she found both.
What do you think? Let’s talk about it really soon.