"Wall Street wasn't just the best example, it was a kind of opinion leader in American financial life that has marked the last couple of decades. It distracts lots of young passionate people from doing the things that they probably should be doing because they think, 'Well, I better go do this thing on Wall Street because it pays so well.'"
-- Michael Lewis, author of the 1989 best-seller Liar's Poker, in an interview today on National Public Radio's Morning Edition. Lewis's new book, Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity, is a collection of essays and articles written over the past two decades, starting with the crash of October 1987.
Lewis sees an upside to the demise of investment banks. Recently visiting Princeton, his alma mater, he said, "I was so frustrated with how unimaginative young people had become in choosing their path in life that I thought that someone should establish a kind of 'Scared Straight' program for Ivy League students. And they should all be made to go and live with 40-year-old hedge fund managers in Greenwich for a week before they set out on their careers on Wall Street--just to see how miserable you were after 20 years of it. But the markets have now corrected that. They've provided the program." --Jessica Shambora
"You can't go back and change what you had for breakfast."
--a saying favored by Fortress Investment Group (FIG) CEO Wesley Edens, according to today's Wall Street Journal. On Tuesday Fortress's stock fell 23% to $2.76, a steep drop from the alternative asset manager's February 2007 IPO price of $18.50 (not to mention the $35 it reached on its first day). The phrase, which Edens heard from his father, was referenced MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Oct 29, 2008 5:52 PM ET
"It's like Wimbledon. When you win one year, you don't quit. You want to win again."
-- John Paulson, whose three main hedge funds have risen 15% to 25% this year, according to today's Wall Street Journal. And that comes on top of gains of some $15 billion for Paulson & Co., his 70-person firm, last year. While Paulson made a few mistakes--buying Yahoo! (YHOO) and Mirant (MIR), for example--he's won MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Oct 24, 2008 5:20 PM ET
"It didn't have to go this way," a devastated Barbara Byrne, a vice chairman at Lehman Brothers (LEH), told me this morning. Like a lot of senior folks at the now-bankrupt firm, she spent most of the weekend at the office, hoping, praying, and consoling the rank and file. "Talking to a single mother of two, a secretary, in tears is the hardest thing," she said.
She's right that the fall MOREPatricia Sellers - Sep 15, 2008 1:07 PM ET
"Two of the players I used to watch are Bill Bradley and John Havlicek. They were both known for moving without the ball--working to get into a position where you're ready to shoot the ball. In contrast, most people spend a lot of time standing around."
- Eddie Lampert, billionaire hedge fund boss and chairman of Sears Holdings (SHLD). After a stunning rise, which I wrote about in 2006, Lampert is MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 27, 2008 3:51 PM ET
Tonight's CNBC documentary hosted by David Faber, Untold Wealth: the Rise of the Super Rich, talks about the widening gap between "haves" and "have-nots" in America. In 1985, there were only 13 billionaires in the U.S. Today there are more than 1,000, and hundreds of thousands of multi-millionaires.
This calls to mind a conversation that Pattie Sellers (Postcards' main author) and I had yesterday with a well-known chief executive. We were MOREPatricia Sellers - Jun 26, 2008 5:33 PM ET
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