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The Predators' Ball: The Inside Story of Drexel Burnham and the Rise of the JunkBond Raiders Paperback – Jun 1 1989
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About the Author
Connie Bruck has been a staff writer at "The New Yorker since 1989; she frequently writes about business and politics. In 1996, her profile of Newt Gingrich won the National Magazine Award for reporting, her second. Bruck is the author of "Master of the Game and "The Predators' Ball. She lives in Los Angeles.
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Top Customer Reviews
I found this to be just a riveting book to read. It reminded me of the movie Wall Street although from what I gather Michael Milken at Drexel Burnham was not as good looking as Michael Douglas and he wore a hair piece and drove an older Oldsmobile, not a Ferrari.
Milken while reading the Wall Street Journal and similar material on the bus going to business school in Philadelphia came up with this idea of selling the junk bonds. Once he graduated and was employed he pushed that idea, similar to the way Fred Smith pushed Fed.Ex. - another college idea. It comes clear in the book, just shouting out at you, that he had lots of help. Banks helped him, brokers helped him, other companies helped him, he opened a new office for Drexel in LA and in general just took over that company - all because people knew and appreciated that he was going to make buckets of money. His whole scheme was in fact similar to a pyramid scheme with everyone getting fat fees that were supposed to be re-paid down stream by the successful company. The Predator's Ball did exist as real annual social get together where the bankers, brokers, and the borrowing companies got together for a night of partying. The victims - the shareholders - were not invited.
Like every Ponzi scheme at some point reality had to set in and it failed. That is what this book is about. Sure we can learn but apparently we are immune or unable to learn from history because the market over inflated itself and the Nasdaq went to 5000+ a decade later, and we had World Com and Enron. It is also remarkable that after taking so much money he got off with a light jail sentence and a big fine ($500. million) that Millken could pay.
Jack in Toronto
The Predators' Ball does a great job of getting inside the various deals Milken pulled off and how they happened, along with a good history of Michael Milken. Amazing stuff, considering the multi-billion dollar nature of those deals... financed with nothing but junk. The sad thing is, is that if Milken had been caught in this current era of NO public tolerance for Wall Street misdeeds in 2002, he would be serving a hell of a lot more time then the mere 24 months he actually ended up doing on his ten year sentence. 98 counts, he cut a deal to plead guilty to six of them. He walked out of jail after a brief time of reflection, with his Billion$ still stached away in his foriegn bank accounts at his disposal. Crime did pay and pay well for Michael Milken. Stein's License to Steal book estimated that Milken generated some $24 Billion in commissions & fees, from obscene margins & unearthly volume. King of the Universe indeed... and walked away with a mere $1 Billion slap on the wrist fine and a few nights in jail. These three books are better than fiction or novels. History, in Wall Street storybook fashion. The more things change, the more things stay the same.
The book is focused on the rise and fall of Drexel and the associated personalities of the firm. The author does a very good job of illustrating the power Milken had within Drexel, how his office on the West Coast went from being a backwater to accounting for the bulk of the firms revenue, and how Milken's subsequent removal left Drexel crippled past the point of healing. I felt that the book does a good job of explaining the brilliance of Milken and the high-yield bond market that he created and nurtured, and the catch-22 that led to his criminalization.
At the end of the day I find these kind of books to be financial humor more than anything because 1) these guys worked their butts off (2) made tons of money and then (3) a lot of them lost their shirts, ran into difficulties or (3) ended up in jail. Yes, they are rich by the boat load but it isn't the way I want to make a living.
Most recent customer reviews
Intertesting book about the mega-acquisition wave triggered by the creation of the junk-bond market. Read morePublished on May 12 2004 by Mariano G. Undank
From his humble roots to his 15 minutes of fame to his downfall, this book spans the entire career of the Junk Bond King. Read morePublished on Feb. 6 2004
How can I trust these reviews if two of the featured reviewers here use almost the exact same sentences in their supposedly "independent" reviews? Read morePublished on Sept. 10 2003 by Alli Benson
I recommend another book, like the one called "Payback", for a more sober view.Published on June 9 2003 by A_2007_reader
If you like fixed income/wall-streetesque mover-shaker tales, this one is for you.Published on June 4 2003 by James Le
This book was the first real insight into the world of junk bonds, Drexel Burham Lambert and what an important role they played in the business world. Read morePublished on Feb. 14 2003 by Kindle Customer
an interesting story very well written. i could not put the book down.Published on Jan. 5 2003 by Manish G.
Yeah, I read it. A decent story about 80's avarice and excess. But not nearly as good as James Stewart's "Den of Thieves" or "Barbarians at the Gate. Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2002 by Elvis-from-Hell
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