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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great business read
So what if this book is 14 years old? If you are looking for a good business book that reads like an exciting novel, this still does the trick. A great insight into Wall Street and the insider trading scandals of the 1980s. Sure it goes into loads of detail and is perhaps a bit too long, but there is no denying that Stewart is an exceptional writer. If you liked The...
Published on Oct. 24 2006 by Rob Nicol

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much in common with Wall Street today, I Hope!
Criticisms of this book center around the details of bond trading, specifically the authors miscalculation of commissions. Also, perhaps, some hearsay is included as facts. The author states that no anonymous sources are quoted, but there were un-named and 'not-for quote' sources used.
You either believe that the main characters (Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, Martin...
Published on Nov. 22 2000 by michaeleve


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great business read, Oct. 24 2006
By 
Rob Nicol (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Den of Thieves (Paperback)
So what if this book is 14 years old? If you are looking for a good business book that reads like an exciting novel, this still does the trick. A great insight into Wall Street and the insider trading scandals of the 1980s. Sure it goes into loads of detail and is perhaps a bit too long, but there is no denying that Stewart is an exceptional writer. If you liked The Smartest Guys in the Room, you will love this, too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much in common with Wall Street today, I Hope!, Nov. 22 2000
This review is from: Den of Thieves (Paperback)
Criticisms of this book center around the details of bond trading, specifically the authors miscalculation of commissions. Also, perhaps, some hearsay is included as facts. The author states that no anonymous sources are quoted, but there were un-named and 'not-for quote' sources used.
You either believe that the main characters (Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, Martin Siegel, Dennis Levine)said what they said in the book or not. It's relevant because if true,Levine was a bigoted racist as well as a common thief. Not only did he rummage in associates desk drawers and files looking for inside information but he is quoted as saying that he could not understand a banker friend (who was interested in international lending to Third World countries)because all he wanted to do was "help the niggers and the spics." How's that for your respectable Investment Banker?! The point of the quote is this - Levine was not representative or typical of the 'new' banker but his comment shows that motives such as self interest and personal greed would certainly have found fertile ground to flourish in.
The book accurately portrays the characters (including the seedy ones),their backgrounds and the environment they found themselves in. Wall Street of the late 1970's and early 80's was changing.The Wall Street establishment of old money investment houses (Goldman-Sachs,Morgan Stanley,Kidder Peabody, Merrill Lynch, etc)and stately (maybe even stale)banks such as Citibank and First Boston were being forced to make room for investment brokers and arbitrageurs (Drexel, Burnham & Boesky & Co. etc).
New products, new people, new methods were being introduced. The new bankers were not your starched white shirt, conservative, Ivy League trained, WASP corporate types. They were first of all, younger and from different class, educational and ethnic backgrounds. Many of them were from immigrant or Jewish working or middle class families and felt themselves to be ostracised and generally outside of Wall Street. They were not all motivated by greed and certainly were not all Dennis Levines, but for a few, given the opportunity,the positions of power and the money, and now that they were 'In' they were going to change things around. Sales techniques and hustle was now more important than where you graduated from. Presentations to corporate boards were out, replaced with speadsheet analysis of cash flows and trades over the phones. The movement was towards allowing some who were previously spurned by Wall Street to get in on the action. They were going to shake up the system and as Milken himself said "tee up GM, Ford and IBM and make them cringe".
I don't find the book villifying Milken as the Devil himself but then again it doesn't portray him in a positive light either. I don't have any problem with that because I am of the view that he was a crook. A brilliant, driven, powerful and extremely wealthy and well connected financial innovator but... still a crook.
Overall the book is written with a bias towards the SEC investigation and uncovering of the insider trading scandal and the subsequent arrests of Levine, Boesky and Milken. From the perspective of 10 years on, the book is of more historical interest. All of the principals have served their time and most of the companies are gone (merged or metamorphosed). There are some interesting vignettes of people who since then have gone on to bigger and better things. You can read about Robert Rubin when he was still at Goldman Sachs, Rudy Giuliani when still US Attorney and Chuck Schumer when still only a Congressman who was critical of the SEC. There are also 8 pages of photos of the major players.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Overall great - could use more pictures though...., June 23 2005
By 
fmam3 "fmam3" (Vancouver, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Den of Thieves (Paperback)
I assume readers who read this book would typically read more than the pre-school picture books. But I think for this book, in particular, it could be more useful if the author added more pictures/photographs of the various characters introduced. Main characters (Milken, Siegel, Boesky, etc) were there. The book, however, introduces a new character almost every 2 pages; this makes it somewhat difficult to identify who's who after a while. More pictures would be nice.
Overall, this is an excellent book with great details to how high finance and insider trading worked back in the 1980s. A definite must read for undergrad students who want to make it in the finacial industry -- the books that you read tell something about your character.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you enjoy the investment world, this is for you!, Feb. 25 2004
By 
S. SUNDBERG "crevalle" (Minneapolis, MN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Den of Thieves (Paperback)
This was one book that I could not put down. The book is broken into large sections, each dealing with a particular criminal and his corresponding activities. In-depth descriptions of what was going on behind the scenes at some of the most respected financial firms of the time--absolutely fascinating. If you were around in the 80's, and you work/participate in the investment industry, this should be required historical reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and Accurate, Jan. 28 2004
This review is from: Den of Thieves (Paperback)
Having re-read this book last week, it took me back to a time and a place I really didn't want to visit but found I should. Having been lured to Drexel, Burnham as a senior executive (from Morgan, Stanley in 1986) only weeks before the scandals hit -- and having witnessed the lava-roast at that firm -- it amazes me how Mr. Stewart was able to re-create events. Along with Predators' Ball, this book serves as an example of the power of quality investigative journalism. Filled with my own stories of similar dealings, I understand fully that his observations hit dead-center at the bullseye of the truth of that decade.
One comment in the Epilogue struck me as almost sad. Mr. Stewart says, in the wake of these scandals: "Wall Street has given every sign of being severely chastened." Too bad that wasn't the case.
Now myself a writer with somewhat less courage, perhaps, than Mr. Stewart (I've written about abuses/dangers on Wall Street, but write them as financial thrillers and opinion pieces -- it's safer, I think), I can only hope that with each scandal we get a little more honest, a little more chastened. Too bad I don't see that happening. Not yet, at least.
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5.0 out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE!!!, Dec 10 2003
This review is from: Den of Thieves (Paperback)
This book is amazing. I love reading financial and investing books and this one is just amazing. Its capitvating beginning to end. The way the author subtly explains very technical investing terms is awesome. I had know who the characters were but not the entire depth of their situations. This book tells all! I cant wait to read more of the authors work!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read For Stock Traders amd Securities Lawyers, Aug. 5 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Den of Thieves (Paperback)
This book is not only entertaining but also instructive. It depicts the greed that lurks in the market and how otherwise normal people fall into committing white collar crime. It is a must read for everyone involved in securities and securities trading from the traders themselves to the lawyers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Reality Check for every decade., May 11 2003
By 
"info@goshadesign.com" (Plano, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Den of Thieves (Paperback)
I would like to begin by saying that it is amazing what kind of copious and exhaustive research has gone into the writing of this book. James Stewart weaves a story of greed, lies, betrayals, and human frailty. The books accounts for the most significant events on Wall Street thoughout the 19080s, detailing various schemes of insider trading and more devious manipulations of the market that can be hardly understood by people not in the invenstment field. Even today the ramifications of the acts of then household names such as Boesky, Siegel, and Milken cannot be fully realized. It is a book that would make people weep who lost everything in the wake of of "high yield" bond depreciation, and to caution others to take most things told to them by investment bankers, arbs, and other financial figures with a grain of salt. Many who read this book feel that Milken was unfairly treated and got the short end of the stick at sentencing time. However, I would argue that no one in the schemes outlined got anywhere near the punishment that they deserved. All of the criminals in this book, and criminals they were of greatest magnitude who stole from investors, their employees, and the American people untold sums, came out wealthy and little shaken by the experience. It is interesting to note that the book treats everyone kindly on some level other than Dennis Levine who is nothing but villiefied throughout the book as stupid, ineffectual, overweight and crass. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially those who are thinking about going into the field of investment, businessmen, and people who want to know more about Wall Street in the 1980's, ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Den of Thieves, Sept. 9 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Den of Thieves (Paperback)
This 29-week PW bestseller, a QPB main selection, tells of the rise and fall during the 1980s of the biggest insider trading ring in Wall Street history. Updated in paperback. Photos.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Journalistic Self-Promotion---Revisited, July 9 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Den of Thieves (Paperback)
I read this book when it first came out in the early 90s, the summer before entering business school. At the time I thought, like many who had recommended the book, that it was a first rate piece of journalism based on sound, unbiased research.
I have since learned that this book is nothing of the sort. In fact, it is a summary of one erroneous conclusion after another, based upon faulty, incorrect, hearsay 'evidence' and a wanton disregard for the truth. Moreover, I now believe that such poor authorship can mean only one thing--that Mr. Stewart was never out to reveal the truth, but instead, to make a name for himself.
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Den of Thieves
Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart (Paperback - Sept. 1 1992)
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