Memos from the Chairman

Overview

Introduction by Warren Buffett. Since taking over as chairman 18 years ago, Alan C. Greenberg—a cigar-smoking, shirt-sleeved trader from the old school—has transformed Bear Stearns into one of the most profitable investment banks in the financial industry. Many believe that periodic messages from the man who sits in the middle of the firm's trading floor set the tone at Bear Stearns. Now collected in Memos from the Chairman, here they are: humorous, sometimes biting, always inspiring memos that, taken together, ...

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Overview

Introduction by Warren Buffett. Since taking over as chairman 18 years ago, Alan C. Greenberg—a cigar-smoking, shirt-sleeved trader from the old school—has transformed Bear Stearns into one of the most profitable investment banks in the financial industry. Many believe that periodic messages from the man who sits in the middle of the firm's trading floor set the tone at Bear Stearns. Now collected in Memos from the Chairman, here they are: humorous, sometimes biting, always inspiring memos that, taken together, comprise a unique—and uniquely simple—management philosophy. On bureaucracy: "Forget the chain of command! If you think somebody is going off the wall or his/her decision-making stinks, go around the person, and that includes me." On telephone manners: "Transferring a call seems to require more athletic ability than some of our associates possess. Be prepared for spot checks. . .those who flunk will get private lessons from me." On success: "Remember that the Green Bay Packers won because they executed the fundamentals better than their competition. Trick plays make headlines, but winners execute the basics." On arrogance: "Conceit and complacency are dangerous, particularly in our line of work. If I ever feel that the people at Bear Stearns start thinking their body odor is perfume and I cannot convince them otherwise—I will sell my stock."

66,000 copies in print

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
When Greenberg became chair of the investment banking firm Bear Stearns in 1978, he began the practice of communicating to his staff via memos. While this is accepted practice in the business world, Greenberg's staff soon discovered that their boss wrote memos quite unlike the ones they were used to receiving. This collection of memos written between 1978 and 1995 covers topics ranging from conserving electricity to promptly answering telephones. All are written with gentleness and wit. It is comforting to read memos from an employer who communicates to employees with intelligence and compassion. For business collections.-Andrea C. Dragon, Coll. of St. Elizabeth, Convent Station, N.J.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761103462
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/1996
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 435,212
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 8.63 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Greenberg

Alan C. Greenberg is the former CEO and Chairman of the Board of Bear Stearns. He is currently vice chairman emeritus of JP Morgan Chase. He is the author of Memos from the Chairman.

Mark Singer is a staff writer for The New Yorker . He is the author of several books, among them Funny Money and Character Studies.

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Read an Excerpt

(From Memos From the Chairman)

Telephone Manners: "Transferring a call seems to require more athletic ability than some of our associates possess. Be prepared for spot checks...those who flunk will get private lessons from me."

Cutting Costs: "At last weeks partners meeting. Haimchinkel pointed out to me that the hors d'oeuvres had been upgraded considerably from peanuts. You will be happy to know that we are now back to peanuts."

Good Times: "The time to stop stupidity and be tough on costs is when times are good. Any schlemiel and most schlamozels try to cut costs when times are bad."

Bad Times: "Now is not the time to hide from clients. It takes real courage to make calls when you know the reception might be hostile."

Arrogance: "Conceit and complacency are dangerous, particularly in our line of work. If I ever feel that the people at Bear Stearns start thinking their body odor is perfume and I cannot convince them otherwise-I will sell my stock."

Excerpted from Memos From The Chairman. Copyright (c) 1996. Reprinted with permission by Workman Publishing.

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