Though well known in business circles, New York Stock Exchange chairman Richard Grasso was just a name to the general public until the day in 2003 when news of his mammoth deferred compensation package erupted through the media. Almost overnight, the chief executive previously dubbed "The Little Guy in the Dark Suit" became transformed into "The $140 Million Man." But, as Charles Gasparino ably demonstrates in King of the Club, the story of Grasso cannot be encompassed by a nickname or an anecdote. The author of Blood on the Street describes the story of the improbable rise of the son of a single mom from NYSE floor clerk to chief executive of the world's greatest financial exchange.
Gasparino [is] a great reporter.... Mr. Grasso's story is spectacular.
The detail in which Gasparino describes the boardroom back-stabbing is as thorough and compelling as a reader will find in any book about Wall Street.
Gasparino, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, had excellent access to [Grasso]. . . . This, combined with the author's entree to financial Goliaths such as former Merill Lynch & Co. CEO David Komansky and Home Depot Inc. co-founder Kenneth Langone, steep the book in rich detail. . . . He paints a portrait of the goings-on at NYSE board meetings that only tireless reporting and good connections can provide. . . .The book does a great job at describing Grasso's efforts to market an institution that by many accounts has been on the slow journey to extinction ever since the invention of the microchip.
Charles Gasparino . . . provides a blow-by-blow account of Mr. Grasso's remarkable rise and fall . . . . At the same time, Mr. Gasparino provides a rare inside glimpse of how financial titans like Henry M. Paulson Jr., the former Goldman Sachs chairman who is now Treasury secretary, conduct their affairs. It is not a pretty picture, but it demands the attention of anyone who cares about capitalism in this country.
[Charles Gasparino] describes, in page-turning detail, a Wall Street world of ruthless financial titans . . . .
o collection of courtroom documents will ever tell the story behind [Grasso's] ouster, in all its nasty detail, as well as Mr. Gasparino does in King of the Club.
[A] rigorously reported tome. . . . Rags-to-riches stories may provide inspiring myths about the possibilities of making it to the top in New York, but this tale of one man's path from rags to riches to ridicule is more compelling for being true.
A fascinating, methodical and in-depth account of Grasso's rise and fall during some of the NYSE's most tumultuous years. . . . Gasparino's retalling of how Grasso got the NYSE back on its feet quicky after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is particularly absorbing, and the book is peppered with colorful anecdotes.
CNBC correspondent Gasparino (Blood on the Street) has written a masterly story of the rise and fall of Richard Grasso, former chair of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It's a rags-to-riches saga that shows Grasso climbing the corporate ladder from impoverished childhood in Queens, NY, to becoming one of the most powerful men in America. The author provides insight into the evolution of the NYSE before, during, and after Grasso's tenure and focuses on the important point that in addition to being a business, the NYSE is also a regulator, an inherent tension producing frequent conflict during Grasso's era. An especially revealing section is the behind-the-scenes look at how the NYSE deftly responded to the tragic events of 9/11, largely owing to his leadership. Overly ambitious and possessed of both a mercurial disposition and an explosive temper, Grasso was also a brilliant tactician who aimed to modernize the institution he governed, though he resisted going as far as embracing electronic trading. Interestingly, his last great battle was over his own executive compensation, ultimately leading to his downfall. Even with these obvious character flaws, there is no denying that Grasso had a substantial impact on the NYSE, and Gasparino captures all detail quite skillfully in his probing, fast-paced, and hugely entertaining book. Highly recommended for larger business collections.