Bryan Burrough · 592 pages
Rating: (22.5K votes)
“Everyone in the room knew about leveraged buyouts, often called LBOs. In an LBO, a small group of senior executives, usually working with a Wall Street partner, proposes to buy its company from public shareholders, using massive amounts of borrowed money. Critics of this procedure called it stealing the company from its owners and fretted that the growing mountain of corporate debt was hindering America’s ability to compete abroad. Everyone knew LBOs meant deep cuts in research and every other imaginable budget, all sacrificed to pay off debt. Proponents insisted that companies forced to meet steep debt payments grew lean and mean. On one thing they all agreed: The executives who launched LBOs got filthy rich.”
“It is important to remember that, as Ken Auletta wrote in his definitive Greed and Glory on Wall Street, “no reporter can with 100 percent accuracy re-create events that occurred some time before. Memories play tricks on participants, the more so when the outcome has become clear. A reporter tries to guard against inaccuracies by checking with a variety of sources, but it is useful for a reader—and an author—to be humbled by this journalistic limitation.”
“He who’s not busy being born is busy dying.” Tony”
“Planning, gentlemen, is ‘What are you going to do next year that’s different from what you did this year?’” he told them. “All I want is five items.”
“Recognize that ultimate success comes from opportunistic, bold moves which, by definition, cannot be planned.”
“Through all the machismo, through all the greed, through all the discussion of shareholder values, it all came down to this: John Gutfreund and Tom Strauss were prepared to scrap the largest takeover of all time because their firm’s name would go on the right side, not the left side, of a tombstone advertisement buried among the stock tables at the back of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.”
“turn over the reins to the board of directors.”
“The minute you establish an organization, it starts to decay.”
“changes in the story were the result of normal editing.”
“I was especially happy when, going to bed and covering myself with a blanket, I began, alone now, in the most complete solitude, with no people moving around and not a single sound from them, to re-create life in a different key.”
“Mistakes can be fixed. Bad decisions can be undone. Model houses can be rebuilt. And perfection is only a word that makes you feel bad about yourself.”
“Without question, violence and brutality—and bloodlust—were intrinsic to human nature. Scratch any century throughout recorded history and staggering displays of cruelty came gushing out: the slaughter of helpless innocents on a massive scale, brutal wars, enslavements, tortures, mass rapes and murders, and other atrocities far too numerous to ignore. Hitler was just one example in a seemingly endless parade. Humanity could wrap itself in the cloak of civilization and pretend this side of its nature didn’t exist, but the hostility and savagery that drove the most dangerous predator on the planet to the top of the food chain was always seething, just below the surface.”
“none can desire what he has not perceiv'd.”
“Była w nich nie rozpacz zbliżającej się śmierci, ale beznadziejność trwającego na przekór wszystkiemu życia.”
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