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Need To Know: Books About The Street

A new "kiss-and-tell" story by a former banker at the investment banking frm Lazard Freres is turning heads and attracting readers.

"The Last Tycoons" by William D. Cohan takes an inside look at the firm now known as Lazard, exposing power struggles and hidden scandals along the way. It is the latest in a long line of fairly popular books with an inside story or expose about Wall Street and American business. Here's a sampling of some others

DisneyWar” -- 2005

ByJames B. Stewart

The latest effort of who may be the most prolific “Wall Street” author, this story chronicles the two-decade reign of former Walt Disney boss Michael Eisner, who stepped down in 2006.

“Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story” -- 2005

By Kurt Eichenwald

One of several books on the rise and fall of Enron, this story focuses on the character of former CFO Andrew Fastow, now serving a long prison term.

“Smartest Guys In The Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron” -- 2003

By Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind.

This version of the Enron saga was made into a film in 2006, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

“Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco” -- 1990

By Bryan Burrough , John Helyar

This story follows the legendary – and frenetic -- takeover battle for RJR Nabisco, which led to the biggest deal of its kind, an LBO by buyout firm Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts. It was made into a film in 1993, starring James Garner

“Den of Thieves” -- 1991

By James B. Stewart

This book focuses on the criminal conduct of Wall Street arbitrager Ivan Boesky and Drexel Burnham Lambert junk bond king, Michael Milken, both of whom served prison terms for their deeds.

“Liars Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street” -- 1990

By Michael Lewis
This may most resemble Cohan’s book in that the author retells his days on the trading floor at Salomon Brothers, which became embroiled in a scandal that led to the departure of key executives. Lewis has since published several other books

The Predators Ball: The Inside Story of Drexel Burnham and the Rise of the Junk Bond Raiders” -- 1989

By Connie Bruck

This book also covers the extraordinary story of DBL, which led to its collapse following a scandal.

"Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country" -- 1989

By William Greider

Thouigh the title pretty much says it all, this massive book triesd to demystify the central bank as much as it does criticize it.

Honorable Mention:

The Devil Wears Prada” -- 2003

By Lauren Weisberger

This novel was wriitten by a former asisstant to U.S. Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour and tells the story of a fictional character who might be confused with Wintour and her place in the fashion industry. It became a highly successful film in 2006, starring Meryl Streep.

"Bonfire Of The Vanities" -- 1987

By Tom Wolfe

One of the main characters in this New York novel is "master-of-the-universe" bond trader Sherman McCoy in the 1980s boom of Wall Street, who suffers a fall from grace. It was made into a film in 1990, starring Buce Willis.

"The Jungle" -- 1906

By Upton Sinclair

This novel -- based on actual circumstances -- dealt with conditions in the U.S. meat packing industry and led to major regulation.

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