Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America

Crash of the Titans Greed Hubris the Fall of Merrill Lynch and the Near Collapse of Bank of America The intimate fly on the wall tale of the decline and fall of an America icon With one notable exception the firms that make up what we know as Wall Street have always been part of an inbred insular

  • Title: Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America
  • Author: Greg Farrell Dan Woren
  • ISBN: 9780307751171
  • Page: 206
  • Format: Audio
  • The intimate, fly on the wall tale of the decline and fall of an America icon With one notable exception, the firms that make up what we know as Wall Street have always been part of an inbred, insular culture that most people only vaguely understand The exception was Merrill Lynch, a firm that revolutionized the stock market by bringing Wall Street to Main Street, settingThe intimate, fly on the wall tale of the decline and fall of an America icon With one notable exception, the firms that make up what we know as Wall Street have always been part of an inbred, insular culture that most people only vaguely understand The exception was Merrill Lynch, a firm that revolutionized the stock market by bringing Wall Street to Main Street, setting up offices in far flung cities and towns long ignored by the giants of finance With its thundering herd of financial advisers, perhaps no other business, whether in financial services or elsewhere, so epitomized the American spirit Merrill Lynch was not only bullish on America, it was a big reason why so many average Americans were able to grow wealthy by investing in the stock market Merrill Lynch was an icon Its sudden decline, collapse, and sale to Bank of America was a shock How did it happen Why did it happen And what does this story of greed, hubris, and incompetence tell us about the culture of Wall Street that continues to this day even though it came close to destroying the American economy A culture in which the CEO of a firm losing 28 billion pushes hard to be paid a 25 million bonus A culture in which two Merrill Lynch executives are guaranteed bonuses of 30 million and 40 million for four months work, even while the firm is struggling to reduce its losses by firing thousands of employees.Based on unparalleled sources at both Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, Greg Farrell s Crash of the Titans is a Shakespearean saga of three flawed masters of the universe E Stanley O Neal, whose inspiring rise from the segregated South to the corner office of Merrill Lynch where he engineered a successful turnaround was undone by his belief that a smooth talking salesman could handle one of the most difficult jobs on Wall Street Because he enjoyed O Neal s support, this executive was allowed to build up an astonishing 30 billion position in CDOs on the firm s balance sheet, at a time when all other Wall Street firms were desperately trying to exit the business After O Neal comes John Thain, the cerebral, MIT educated technocrat whose rescue of the New York Stock Exchange earned him the nickname Super Thain He was hired to save Merrill Lynch in late 2007, but his belief that the markets would rebound led him to underestimate the depth of Merrill s problems Finally, we meet Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis, a street fighter raised barely above the poverty line in rural Georgia, whose my way or the highway management style suffers fools easily than potential rivals, and who made a 50 billion commitment over a September weekend to buy a business he really didn t understand, thus jeopardizing his own institution The merger itself turns out to be a bizarre combination of cultures that blend like oil and water, where slick Wall Street bankers suddenly find themselves reporting to a cast of characters straight out of the Beverly Hillbillies BofA s inbred culture, which perceived New York banks its enemies, was based on loyalty and a good ol boy network in which competence played second fiddle to blind obedience.Crash of the Titans is a financial thriller that puts you in the theater as the historic events of the financial crisis unfold and people responsible for billion of dollars of other people s money gamble recklessly to enhance their power and their paychecks or to save their own skins Its wealth of never before revealed information and focus on two icons of corporate America make it the book that puts together all the pieces of the Wall Street disaster.From the Hardcover edition.

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      Published :2019-07-22T20:53:07+00:00

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    1. Greg Farrell Dan Woren

      Greg Farrell Dan Woren Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America book, this is one of the most wanted Greg Farrell Dan Woren author readers around the world.

    331 thoughts on “Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America”

    1. A highly informative and engaging book which takes an investigative approach to uncover the events that lead to the fall of the once mighty investment bank Merrill Lynch. The author's journalistic tone infused with his engaging narrative, provides us with a brilliant account of how greed, pride and ignorance can often cloud our better judgement even in the face of calamity , and that was what caused the collapse of such a great institution.The author also does a decent job at maintaining a stead [...]


    2. Greg Farrell falls short of objectivity in this otherwise great account of a now famous saga of hubris and miscalculation during the Great Recession. Apparently trying to top his predecessor CEOs at Bank of America in growing the company, Ken Lewis in 2008 bought both Countrywide Financial and put together a takeover of Merrill Lynch, hit hard by the market panic that year. Prior to BofA's acquisition, Merrill Lynch had hired John Thain as its CEO to save the firm and avoid a forced sale. Thain [...]


    3. This was my version of a good, trashy novel. Though, at first, this book may carry an air of intimidation, since it was a 500 page book about the recent economic crisis, it was refreshingly a book that centered more on the main characters within that historical moment than cold, hard stats and textbook descriptions of impersonal social forces. The book dramatizes the back-room drama between men with inflated intellects and ego. The writing is pretty cheesy with its flowery descriptions that lion [...]


    4. Wow, that was a fun read with all the suspense and plot twists of a Dan Brown novel. You can tell (by how good or bad they come across) which people featured were the main sources for the author, and it made me wonder about how the telling would have come across if told from other peoples' viewpoints.A very interesting look at modern corporate culture and what the economic meltdown looked like from inside Wall Street.


    5. Very interesting read, but probably because I work for Bank of America and watched all of this go down from a different perspective.


    6. This is a fairly thorough review of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. I, like most people, was passingly familiar with the events in the global banking world that trashed the world markets. Aside from some basic facts though, I went into this book without much background. I only knew Merrill Lynch's name vaguely before this so I found Farrell's account helpful. I am once again disgusted that a handful of bad business decision made by a bunch of egomanical American jackasses managed to sink the wor [...]


    7. A well researched and very interesting narrative about venerable Merrill Lynch and the events that turned this legendary institution into a trophy to be scored by acquisition hungry Bank of America. More than looking just at the financial meltdown, this book looks at the two institutions and their key executives. I enjoyed it very much.


    8. I really like this type of book. Barbarians at the Gate being the pinnacle of it's class (of the books I have read).And although this book is nowhere near taking it's crown, it is still a very good read. We get a front row seat as the usual greed and manipulation that we all expect of the wall street types is played out in front of us. We find the CEO of a company that although he has inherited a shit mess. Is more interested in getting his office looking fly (to the tune of $1.2m). And, then wh [...]


    9. The story of the financial crisis of 2008 told by focusing on the failure of Merrill Lynch and its acquisition/rescue by Bank of America. More interesting and easily understood by the layman than books that attempt to explain how complicated financial instruments work, this is the more human side of the collapse. The main characters are the CEOs of the featured institutions, and the top people on their management teams. Huge egos, petty disputes, hurt feelings & thin skins - these guys don't [...]


    10. My first job was at Merrill Lynch, under Komansky's reign. After I moved on, I kept my ML account because of the personal relationship I had with a broker, and that is/was the cornerstone of Merrill Lynch's successUntil it all fell apart due to Semerci getting unfettered access to CDO investments without any oversight by the CEO O'Neal. Or that's what the author portrays. The book is semi-interesting. It was difficult to keep all of the characters straight. It was a succession of arrogant men in [...]


    11. The situation here is that Merrill doesn't seem to know what to do about their exposure in subprime lending. In other examples (Michael Lewis' book) we see how other brokers turned the tables and put that risk back onto Main Street. Merrill seems to have changed management and pursue buyouts (second times a charm with BofA) as if some action is better than no action.It is another interesting telling of a large company's near collapse in the real estate bust from 2008. As it is obvious by now all [...]


    12. This was a great book about the financial down turn, with obvious emphasis on Merrill Lynch and Bank of America. I almost couldn't put this down, which is unique when reading books on business or finance. :)I wonder about the author's sources. For a nonfiction book, some of his statements could have only been made if he interviewed Fleming, Thain, and O'Neal. He made numerous statements about what different men were thinking, and given the negative light he portrayed some of them in, I can't bel [...]


    13. This was a fascinating history looking inside the subprime lending that led to the Recession of 2008. I had a hard time putting the book down. Having lived through trying to sell a house during this time, watching my company struggle through a diminished economy and being keenly interested in how my investments were doing from 2007 til 2013, this book brought Wall Street to Main Street and helped tie my experience in with the shenanigans of 2008 that brought the federal government into the pictu [...]


    14. Банк Merrill Lynch споткнулся в основном по той причине, по которой этоделают все банки: он неразумно рисковал собственным капиталом в погонеза прибылью. Пока существуют банки, они будут ошибаться, потому что креди-торы берут слишком много, а не слишком мало кредитов. Чем больше [...]


    15. Really good book. I'll compare it to "too big to fail" in its detail, in depth analysis, and storytelling. You really get a picture of what happened to Merrill and BOA from the perspective of the people that were experiencing it. My only negative is that he author tended to reintroduce the same people or topics several times in the book. For example, every time he talked about Merrill's stake in Bloomberg, he would state, "merrill's had a 20% in Bloomberg, owned by Michael Bloomberg, the mayor o [...]


    16. I can't seem to get enough of the early 2000's build up to the 2008 crash on Wall St. This book follows Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and many prominent personalities from each. I found it absorbing, not too dense or tech-speaky, very informative and enjoyable.A scary tale of how money and power creates a fantasy world for people to live in, driven by ego and then fear of failure.I didn't realize B of A was originally a bank from the North Carolina created by a couple of men who thought all the [...]


    17. An outstanding study of the personal frailties and leadership failures that led to the collapse and sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America. I knew many of these folks well from my time at Merill Lynch. And I knew several of the senior Bank of America executives covered (but not in glory) in the book. I had to put the book down in a number of circumstances because it was so painful to read -- but it was correct and very illuminating.What were all these people thinking? How did they allow this a [...]


    18. Merrill Lynch was an icon. Its sudden decline, collapse, and sale to Bank of America was a shock. How did it happen? Why did it happen? And what does this story of greed, hubris, and incompetence tell us about the culture of Wall Street that continues to this day even though it came close to destroying the American economy? This is a story of greed, mismanagement and egos. Quite a story and one that makes you wonder if all the mismanagement is still going on. Lots of details and characters, but [...]


    19. This book follows the events surrounding the acquisition of Merrill Lynch by the Bank of America during the tumultuous times of the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007-08. It reads like a novel with the main characters being some of the movers and shakers of Wall Street. Farrell does cover the facts and gives us insight into the causes of the crisis and its fallout, but he also adds elements of intrigue in the relationships between people and organizations, and even threw in a little bit of suspens [...]


    20. I was assigned to read this book as part of the MAP Program book club while working at Bank of America. To me, understanding the history of Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and how the merger came to take place put a lot of things in perspective - our current corporate culture, attitudes of senior management, the inner-workings of the 2008 financial crisis, etc. I was amazed at how detailed Greg Farrell was able to be with some of his descriptions of events and dialogue between senior executives. [...]


    21. Having seen this from a tangential position, I thought this book was really quite interesting to fill in the voices, personalities and extreme circumstances that led to this uneasy marriage. The author clearly doesn't like Stan O'Neal (though his descriptions make it hard to like him), highlighted the condescension from the Merrill guys to the BofA guys and actually thought he kept things pretty balanced while not hiding his incredulity in some examples.


    22. excellent - this is about the crash and particularly bank of america buying merrill lynch a - a 100 year old storied firm that was brought to its knees by a group of senior executives whose personal greed ruined a fantastic company. The rank and file of the company 50,00 plus employees - many of them financially wiped out because of a small group - maybe 5 or 6 senior executives trying to profit with short term options - without looking at the long term results of their actions


    23. Unbelievable details and fascinating insight in the the collapse and near collapse of two of the nations most influential financial institutions. It will make your head spin. Very thorough and difficult to keep up with all the players but overall well done. It is reporting more than opining and mostly you are left to draw your own conclusions.


    24. Really in-depth and (as far as I can tell) exhaustive view of the events that led up to and ultimately spawned BAML. While the author teeters back and forth in illustrative language to paint the portraits of top executives, it seems to give the reader a clear view into the corporate politics through the lenses of both employees and investors.


    25. Enjoyed the detail about the 2008 financial crisis and why (and why not) certain institutions were allowed to fail, or encouraged to merge. Parts of the book are tough to follow in terms of going back and forth in time. Overall though a good read for anyone interested in Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America (both historical perspective and current perspective).


    26. This is a superb book. This story tells the tale of the downfall of Merrill Lynch and has all of the characters a reader would expect in good fiction - there are heroes, villains, magicians, and greed mongers. The author writes this book like a good novel. The book kept me focused as I turned each page. Best book I read in a long time. Two thumbs up.


    27. He best in the matter till date.Lucid, detailed and like a bizarre movie Recounts many events and details, personalities and the downfall of many including an age old respected institution whose down fall was the greed and hubris, Wall Street avarice .No one could told this better than the author


    28. I liked it for its local flavor of Charlotte and BofA. the insight about NCNB and BofA leadership was a big plus. I could also relate tot he feelings of the Merrill Lynch employees as they were acquired by BofA. His descriptions resonated with me around the Wells Fargo acquisition of Wachovia and end of an era. It reminded of the earlier book on R. J Reynolds, "Barbarians at the Gate".


    29. Good book but admittedly much more meaningful to me (an "associate/employee") than someone who is not. The really interesting part was reading about people I knew. It is an incredible example of how really well-paid people can lose complete sight on why they are supposedly well-paid. The ego factor has real consequences. Good stuff if you like this kind of topic


    30. This is a easy book to read but gives still offers you a generalized view of the world of banking. If you want to have a better understanding of how the mortgage crisis led to the economic state we are currently in .k this book out.


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