A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class

Overview

In this entertaining chronicle, Nocera illuminates how the vision and ambition of pioneers like Charles Merrill, Gerry Tsai, Dee Hock, and Peter Lynch reshaped the American economy and brought the rewards--and risks--of financial opportunity to the middle class for the first time in history.

In this entertaining chronicle, Nocera illuminates how the vision and ambition of pioneers like Charles Merrill, Gerry Tsai, Dee Hock, and Peter Lynch reshaped the American ...

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A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class

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Overview

In this entertaining chronicle, Nocera illuminates how the vision and ambition of pioneers like Charles Merrill, Gerry Tsai, Dee Hock, and Peter Lynch reshaped the American economy and brought the rewards--and risks--of financial opportunity to the middle class for the first time in history.

In this entertaining chronicle, Nocera illuminates how the vision and ambition of pioneers like Charles Merrill, Gerry Tsai, Dee Hock, and Peter Lynch reshaped the American economy and brought the rewards--and risks--of financial opportunity to the middle class for the first time in history.

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Editorial Reviews

Michael Lewis
“One of America’s finest business writers has collided with one of America’s biggest untold stories, and the result is, predictably, a smash hit. Joseph Nocera explains why you have become the financially obsessed creature you are, and if you have a moment to spare from adding your credit card bills to your stock market losses, you should listen to him.”
Bryan Burrough
“Nocera is one of the most gifted observers of the business world today. It is no surprise that he has produced the definitive history of the post-World War II revolution in personal fincance and made it both vivid and comprehensive.”
Tom Peters
“Everyman as financier. That’s the engaging and under-reported story that Joe Nocera shares with us in A Piece of the Action. This is not financial history, not business history: It’s a timely and superbly researched history of a dominant facet of modern American culture—one that has changed how we act, what we worry about, and who we are.”
The Wall Street Journal
“There isn’t a reader who won’t find himself or herself in . . . Nocera’s fascinating [book].”
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“[A Piece of the Action] fills in what is literally thirty years of missing history to the story of postwar America.”
Fortune
“A riveting saga of the rise and rise of America’s personal finance industry—and the ferocious innovators who built it.”
The New Republic
“A very fine specimen of journalism . . . Nocera does succeed in breathing life into inanimate things . . . clear, accessible and engaging.”
Chicago Tribune
“Lively portraits of the legends of these financial industries . . . well-researched, tightly written, and full of eyewitness accounts.”
From the Publisher
“One of America’s finest business writers has collided with one of America’s biggest untold stories, and the result is, predictably, a smash hit. Joseph Nocera explains why you have become the financially obsessed creature you are, and if you have a moment to spare from adding your credit card bills to your stock market losses, you should listen to him.”

“Nocera is one of the most gifted observers of the business world today. It is no surprise that he has produced the definitive history of the post-World War II revolution in personal fincance and made it both vivid and comprehensive.”

“Everyman as financier. That’s the engaging and under-reported story that Joe Nocera shares with us in A Piece of the Action. This is not financial history, not business history: It’s a timely and superbly researched history of a dominant facet of modern American culture—one that has changed how we act, what we worry about, and who we are.”

“There isn’t a reader who won’t find himself or herself in . . . Nocera’s fascinating [book].”

“[A Piece of the Action] fills in what is literally thirty years of missing history to the story of postwar America.”

“A riveting saga of the rise and rise of America’s personal finance industry—and the ferocious innovators who built it.”

“A very fine specimen of journalism . . . Nocera does succeed in breathing life into inanimate things . . . clear, accessible and engaging.”

“Lively portraits of the legends of these financial industries . . . well-researched, tightly written, and full of eyewitness accounts.”

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In an entertaining and edifying history of personal finance, GQ columnist Nocera charts the transformation of the habits of middle-class Americans. The raging inflation of the late 1970s and early '80s, he argues, led many people to abandon thrift and their aversion to risk, attitudes acquired during the Depression. Faced with double-digit inflation, wildly gyrating interest rates and a sinking standard of living, consumers displayed a great willingness to take on debt. The emergence of two-income couples, adjustable-rate mortgages, credit cards and the middle class's growing participation in stocks, mutual funds and money-market accounts define what the author terms the ``money revolution'' of the past two decades. Nocera, who believes credit overall has been a force for good in American life, fleshes out this colorful chronicle with profiles of finance wizards Charles Merrill of Merrill Lynch; Dee Hock, creator of Visa; and investment broker Charles Schwab. Author tour. (Oct.)
Library Journal
The business writer of "The Profit Motive" column for GQ magazine, Nocera presents a fascinating and comprehensive history of the evolution of the personal financial products accessible to most Americans today. His story begins with the birth of the credit card 35 years ago and documents the rise of NOW accounts, mutual funds, cut-rate commissions on stock purchases, IRAs, and ATMs. Drawing upon interviews and business news reports, Nocera also includes the stories of the entrepreneurs behind these products-Giannini, founder of Bank of America; Hock, creator of Visa; Kahr, creator of Cash Management Accounts; Merrill, founder of Merrill Lynch; discount broker Schwab; and fund manager Lynch. This book is also a social history of changing American attitudes about money, investing, and the use of credit. Highly recommended for business collections.-Jane M. Kathman, Coll. of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, Minn.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684804354
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 11/29/1995
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 1.03 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Joe Nocera is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. He was previously a business columnist for the Times and a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. He spent ten years at Fortune, where he rose to editorial director, and has written for numerous publications, including GQ, Esquire, and Newsweek. He has won three Gerald Loeb awards and three John Hancock awards for excellence in business journalism. His most recent book is the New York Times bestseller All the Devils Are Here, which he coauthored with Bethany McClean. He lives in New York.

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