Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch, and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America [NOOK Book]

Overview

The intimate, fly-on-the wall tale of the decline and fall of an America icon
 
With one notable exception, the firms that make up what we know as Wall Street have always been part of an inbred, insular culture that most people only vaguely understand. The exception was Merrill Lynch, a firm that revolutionized the stock market by bringing Wall Street to Main Street, setting up offices in far-flung cities and towns long ignored by the ...
See more details below
Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch, and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$14.99
BN.com price

Overview

The intimate, fly-on-the wall tale of the decline and fall of an America icon
 
With one notable exception, the firms that make up what we know as Wall Street have always been part of an inbred, insular culture that most people only vaguely understand. The exception was Merrill Lynch, a firm that revolutionized the stock market by bringing Wall Street to Main Street, setting up offices in far-flung cities and towns long ignored by the giants of finance. With its “thundering herd” of financial advisers, perhaps no other business, whether in financial services or elsewhere, so epitomized the American spirit. Merrill Lynch was not only “bullish on America,” it was a big reason why so many average Americans were able to grow wealthy by investing in the stock market. 

Merrill Lynch was an icon. Its sudden decline, collapse, and sale to Bank of America was a shock. How did it happen? Why did it happen? And what does this story of greed, hubris, and incompetence tell us about the culture of Wall Street that continues to this day even though it came close to destroying the American economy? A culture in which the CEO of a firm losing $28 billion pushes hard to be paid a $25 million bonus. A culture in which two Merrill Lynch executives are guaranteed bonuses of $30 million and $40 million for four months’ work, even while the firm is struggling to reduce its losses by firing thousands of employees.

Based on unparalleled sources at both Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, Greg Farrell’s Crash of the Titans is a Shakespearean saga of three flawed masters of the universe. E. Stanley O’Neal, whose inspiring rise from the segregated South to the corner office of Merrill Lynch—where he engineered a successful turnaround—was undone by his belief that a smooth-talking salesman could handle one of the most difficult jobs on Wall Street. Because he enjoyed O’Neal’s support, this executive was allowed to build up an astonishing $30 billion position in CDOs on the firm’s balance sheet, at a time when all other Wall Street firms were desperately trying to exit the business. After O’Neal comes John Thain, the cerebral, MIT-educated technocrat whose rescue of the New York Stock Exchange earned him the nickname “Super Thain.” He was hired to save Merrill Lynch in late 2007, but his belief that the markets would rebound led him to underestimate the depth of Merrill’s problems. Finally, we meet Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis, a street fighter raised barely above the poverty line in rural Georgia, whose “my way or the highway” management style suffers fools more easily than potential rivals, and who made a $50 billion commitment over a September weekend to buy a business he really didn’t understand, thus jeopardizing his own institution. 

The merger itself turns out to be a bizarre combination of cultures that blend like oil and water, where slick Wall Street bankers suddenly find themselves reporting to a cast of characters straight out of the Beverly Hillbillies. BofA’s inbred culture, which perceived New York banks its enemies, was based on loyalty and a good-ol’-boy network in which competence played second fiddle to blind obedience.

Crash of the Titans
is a financial thriller that puts you in the theater as the historic events of the financial crisis unfold and people responsible for billion of dollars of other people’s money gamble recklessly to enhance their power and their paychecks or to save their own skins. Its wealth of never-before-revealed information and focus on two icons of corporate America make it the book that puts together all the pieces of the Wall Street disaster.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Dedicated readers of the venerable Financial Times know that for several years, journalist Greg Farrell has been tirelessly tracking the deeds, misdeeds, and disasters of Merrill Lynch. Of course, over time, what began as a disconcerting whiff of scandal at the world's largest brokerage house would become an early major domino fall in the Great Recession of 2007-2008. In Crash of the Titans, Farrell describes what happens when a firm with $2.2 trillion in assets sinks helplessly into the arms of the third largest company in the world. Editor's recommendation.

From the Publisher
"Eminently readable and convincing...There's great value to be gained in the detail that Farrell reveals." —Salon
 
"An exhaustive reconstruction of how Merrill Lynch & Co. sealed its own fate by becoming more bullish on bonuses than on America."James Pressley, Bloomberg
                                                                                                                        
"Farrell weaves his facts into a story...piling detail upon detail to sketch the inner workings of Merrill Lynch, which he calls the Wall Street firm that made it possible for average Americans to reap handsome returns in the stock market." —USA Today
 
"The...financial crisis's answer to Game Change--John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's tattle-filled bestseller about the 2008 Presidential election--Farrell shows that... seemingly trivial matters became the obsessions of Wall Street executives as the subprime contagion spread."—BusinessWeek
 
“Immaculately reported…Farrell has found one of the biggest untold stories of the [financial crisis] drama.” —Financial Times
 
“Farrell tells a story based on hundreds of hours of interviews that builds like a hurricane.” —Forbes.com

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307717887
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 548,484
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

GREG FARRELL is a correspondent for the Financial Times. In January 2009, he broke the news that Merrill Lynch had paid out its 2008 bonuses a month ahead of schedule, in December, even though Merrill was in the process of losing $28 billion for the year, and Bank of America needed an extra $20 billion in taxpayer funds to complete its acquisition of the firm. That story sparked an investigation by New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo. Greg is a past winner of the American Business Press’s Jesse Neal Award for investigative reporting and a recipient of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship for business journalism. He earned a BA from Harvard University and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)