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03/21/2011

Book Review: King of Capital


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King of CapitalKing of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone, by David Carey and John E. Morris, recounts the history of one of the financial industry’s most successful firms and one of the current generation’s top financiers. It also offers an education in the world of deals, and in coping with management challenges.

Particularly instructive is the chapter titled “Help Wanted,” which focuses on president and COO Tony James and his initial review of the firm. James concluded that much of Blackstone’s investment success was due to market timing, that the firm fell behind its peers in managing operations, that it was run like a small business, and that its culture was of “freewheeling personalities.” This analytical process highlights the importance of a penetrating and objective analysis of an organization by top management. The takeaway for readers is to get nervous, work on your resume, and network, if your employers are ignoring this process.

The book also discusses the importance of a well-conceived and well-executed diversification plan, particularly in a cyclical and volatile industry segment. Today, Blackstone is a major player in alternative investments, as well as in private equity.

King Of Capital is as engrossing as it is instructive. You’ll enjoy it while learning.

–Bill Hayes


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