Business Adventures

Twelve Classic Tales From the World of Wall Street

by John Brooks

Number of pages: 464

Publisher: Open Road Media

BBB Library: Corporate Success

ISBN: 9781497644892

About the Author

John Brooks was an award-winning writer best known for his contributions to the New Yorker as a financial journalist. He was also the author of ten nonfiction books on business and finance, a number of which were critically acclaimed works examining Wall Street and the corporate world.


Editorial Review

It’s certainly true that many of the particulars of business have changed. But the fundamentals have not. The stories in this book are just as relevant now as they were back then, and the lessons learned still apply today. Each story presents people who work together, make decisions under pressure, and either succeed or fail to achieve challenging goals. That’s what business is all about, in all times and ages.  

Book Reviews

"Business Adventuresis as much about the strengths and weaknesses of leaders in challenging circumstances as it is about the particulars of one business or another. In that sense, it is still relevant not despite its age but because of it. John Brooks’s work is really about human nature, which is why it has stood the test of time."Gates Notes

"It's not about investment strategy, management theory or anyof that stuff. It's about how brilliant, stupid, cooperative, mulish, irrational and sage peoplecan be. It seems that time moves on, but people don't really change that much." The Guardian

"Brooks's work is a great reminder that the rules for running a strong business and creating value haven't changed. For one thing, there's an essential human factor in every business endeavor. It doesn't matter if you have a perfect product, production plan and marketing pitch; you'll still need the right people to lead and implement those plans." Business Insider

"Brooks, who wrote for the magazine for more than thirty years, approached business in an unusual way. He had an eye for the technical details that mattered to insiders, but the sensibility of a broad-minded cultural critic." The New Yorker

"The lessons still apply: when Brooks writes about the Edsel, he could easily be reporting on a disastrous consumer product launch that happened last week, with the attendant finger-pointing at marketing mishaps and engineering snafus. When he recounts an inexplicable three-day panic that occurred on Wall Street in 1962, he might as well be talking about the mysterious "Flash Crash" of 2010. When he writes about income tax flaws he could be filing a dispatch from any moment in the past century." Independent

"This is a terrific, thoroughly enjoyable read and it contains enough in the way of cautionary tales to offer some wisdom as well as entertainment." Management Today

Books on Related Topics

Wisdom to Share

Some tales are time-bound; that is, they apply to only the period of time during which they occurred.

The common explanation of the Edsel’s downfall, then, under scrutiny, turns out to be largely a myth. But the facts of the case may live to become a modern American antisuccess story.

One of the most persuasive and most frequently cited explanations of the Edsel’s failure is that it was a victim of the time lag between the decision to produce it and the act of putting it on the market.

The 1950s were the raw, pioneering years of mechanized office copying. Within a short time, there suddenly appeared on the market a whole batch of devices capable of reproducing most office papers without the use of a master page, at a cost of only a few cents per copy, and within a time span of a minute or less per copy.

In the matter of demonstrating a sense of responsibility to society as a whole, rather than just to its stockholders, employees, and customers, Xerox has shown itself to be the reverse of most nineteenth-century companie —to be in the advance guard of twentieth-century companies.

To set high goals, to have almost unattainable aspirations, to imbue people with the belief that they can be achieved—these are as important as the balance sheet, perhaps more so.

In 1965, Xeroxdonated $1,632,548 to educational and charitable institutions, and $2,246,000 in 1966.

A person is free to accept a better job offer, isn’t he? Theoretically speaking, the answer is yes. In reality, however, sometimes such a step imperils the employer whom this employee is leaving: Trade secrets are at stake.

It’s certainly true that many of the particulars of business have changed. But the fundamentals have not.