TOPGUN on Wall Street: Why the United States Military Should Run Corporate America

TOPGUN on Wall Street: Why the United States Military Should Run Corporate America

by Lieutenant Commander Jeffery Lay
     
 

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TOPGUN on Wall Street chronicles one man’s extraordinary journey from the cornfields of Ohio, to the cockpit of an F-14, to the boardrooms on Wall Street. Lieutenant Commander Jeffery Lay and #1 New York Times bestselling author Patrick Robinson bring a provocative, ground-breaking voice to the business landscape with a revolutionary answer for

Overview

TOPGUN on Wall Street chronicles one man’s extraordinary journey from the cornfields of Ohio, to the cockpit of an F-14, to the boardrooms on Wall Street. Lieutenant Commander Jeffery Lay and #1 New York Times bestselling author Patrick Robinson bring a provocative, ground-breaking voice to the business landscape with a revolutionary answer for stabilizing corporate America: business—the military way.

As a TOPGUN fighter pilot, Lieutenant Commander Lay perfected a tried-and-true military technique:

PLAN –BRIEF – EXECUTE –DEBRIEF

However, when he retired from active duty in 2006 and went to work for a subsidiary of the ill-fated Lehman Brothers, he noticed that everything about the business world was different: less efficient, awash with excuses for failure, allowance of men with tricky morals to rise to the top, self-gain overshadowing teamwork, and a devastating lack of accountability.

With such deeply rooted flaws, is corporate America doomed for perpetual failure?

Answer: Not if we put admirals in charge and adopt the military’s tight chain of command.

This game-changing thesis is interwoven with Lieutenant Commander Lay’s dramatic story, including his high-intensity strike fighter aircraft landings, never-before-written details of the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), and his heart-breaking, humbling, and inspirational battle with cancer at the peak of his military career.

TOPGUN on Wall Street is written by a leader determined to show the business world that excellence is a choice and perfection is attainable.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Merging memoir with business advice, Lay, a former fighter pilot who worked for a Lehman Brothers subsidiary after retiring from active duty, offers an implausible, military solution to corporate greed and mismanagement. Were the Navy to run corporate America, argues Lay, market failures would never occur, because the Navy understands and prevents undue risk. However, this book focuses much more on Lay’s life than on TOPGUN or Wall Street. As Lay chronicles his career in Navy aviation, from Annapolis plebe to TOPGUN graduate, his commitment to naval service is such that, upon learning he has lymphoma, he is more concerned about being barred from flight than he is about dying. (Not only does the invincible Lay beat cancer, he does so by surfing the Internet and devising his own cure.) Because of his illness, Lay is reluctantly thrust into civilian life, something for which he harbors great suspicion. Civilian life is the real villain throughout Lay’s narrative, whether in the form of political restraints that prevent him and his team from decimating Saddam Hussein’s underground bunker, military cutbacks that threaten his fighting unit, or the financial mismanagement that caused Lehman Brothers to fail. Lay’s narrow worldview is extreme; his zealotry, if anything, works as an argument for civilian control of the armed forces. Agent: Ed Victor, Ed Victor Literary Agency. (May)
From the Publisher
“This is a wonderful book—capturing an insider’s look at the elite and mysterious world of TOPGUN, that coliseum for the daredevils of the US Naval Aviation. It’s written by a fabulous F-14 fighter-wing Commander. Too modest, but real heavy on our unbreakable codes of Honesty, Integrity, Courage, and Honor. What a read!”
—Marcus Luttrell, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Lone Survivor
 

Kirkus Reviews
A former Navy fighter pilot and 24-year veteran of the armed forces applies lessons he learned from the Navy to Wall Street. Assisted by Robinson (co-author: Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, 2007, etc.), Lay asserts that the crash of 2008 wouldn't have happened if the Navy's standards of recruitment, training and commitment to truthfulness operated in the world of business. "No amount of bleating and whining will ever let Wall Street off the hook," he writes. "They darn near single-handedly screwed up the world. It would not have happened if they'd taken a very strong pull on what was becoming a runaway horse." Lay examines the reckless pursuit of short-term profit and the proliferation of "evil and obfuscated" financial instruments, but his main focus is different. He worked for a Lehman Brothers subsidiary, Neuberger Berman, shortly before the 2008 crash, and he compares the firm's former standards under the family ownership of Bobbie Lehman and his predecessors with what it became under Richard Fuld. Lehman Brothers, writes Lay, "had a rich and glittering tradition of building mighty American businesses, enormous operations that had stood the test of time--until personal greed became the only thing that mattered." The author claims that many Wall Street firms lack any sense of "undying loyalty," and he contrasts these companies with the Navy, in which "the past remains the custodian of the future, not the other way around." Lay also discusses the training and education programs provided by the Naval Academy and the difficult qualification process for naval aviators. Shortcuts are simply not tolerated. A different view of the financial crisis that raises important questions about business ethics and personal responsibility.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781593157173
Publisher:
Vanguard Press
Publication date:
05/01/2012
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Lieutenant Commander Jeffery Lay is a 24-year veteran of the United States Navy, United States Air Force, and Ohio Air National Guard. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he served a highly decorated military career flying the F-14 Tomcat and the F-16 Fighting Falcon in his nation’s defense.

 

An accomplished Mission Commander and graduate of the vaunted Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), he flew more than 50 combat missions, made over 400 carrier landings and accumulated over 3,500 flight hours during three combat deployments to Southwest Asia, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Persian Gulf.

 

At the height of his military career, Jeff was diagnosed with an advanced form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Told he would never fly again, he fought the disease with   unspeakable courage, choosing to undergo an experimental form of chemotherapy. Jeff ultimately beat cancer and returned to the cockpit—fittingly—on Veteran’s Day, 1998.

 

After his retirement from active duty in 2006, Jeff went to work as a Wealth Advisor at Neuberger Berman—then a Lehman Brothers company. He left in 2008 when he co-founded a global wealth management firm in Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

Today, Jeff is a trusted advisor to select families, senior executives, corporations, trusts, endowments, and foundations. An accomplished financial author, he educates financial professionals on risk management, capital preservation, and asset allocation and hosts a renowned global financial symposium each year, most recently held at the New York Stock Exchange.

Jeff is also a highly sought after speaker for his expertise in aviation, business, finance, and motivation. A recipient of the University of Cincinnati Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, he works with an exclusive list of clientele who appreciate his ability to see and manage risk in the most demanding, high performance organizations.

 

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