Wall Streeters: The Creators and Corruptors of American Finance

Edward Morris. Columbia Univ./Columbia Business School, $29.95 (368) ISBN 978-0-231-17054-3
Morris, a finance professor and former investment banker, explains American high finance through profiles of some of its formative figures in this interesting, if slightly stodgy, study. Writing for laypeople who are baffled by the recent history of Wall Street—from the meteoric growth of investment banking and the financial services industry to the 2008 crisis and the ongoing recovery—Morris presents short biographies of 14 men behind the financial innovations and markets that underpin the U.S. economy. Innovators Ferdinand Pecora, Charles E. Merrill, Myron S. Scholes, Michael Milken, and Sanford I. Weill are respectively categorized as reformers, democratizers, academics, financial engineers, or empire builders, while J. Pierpont Morgan receives his own chapter. Summing up his view of the complex, volatile world of U.S. finance, Morris observes that “ ‘bad’ on Wall Street is often just ‘good’ taken to a ruinous extreme.” Though sometimes slow going, this is a worthwhile read for those looking to understand the roots of the financial crisis and the present state of the economy. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-231-17055-0
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