Summary of Business Adventures

Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street

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Business Adventures book summary
Bill Gates’s favorite business book reveals the human side of corporate history and trials.

Rating

8 Overall

7 Importance

7 Innovation

10 Style

Recommendation

John Brooks’s collection of classic New Yorker articles – cited by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet as a favorite read – offers gripping behind-the-scenes sagas of epochal events in 20th-century business. Originally published between 1959 and 1969, Brooks chronicles 12 business war stories, including four highlighted here: the spectacular rise of Xerox, the equally spectacular fall of the Ford Edsel, a landmark insider-trading case, and corporations’ attempts to protect trade secrets by keeping their employees from going to work for their competitors. Brooks’s elegant prose outshines the usual business writer’s; he eschews jargon for understated wit, vivid characters and restrained drama. Even though this 1969 anthology does show its age in some places, getAbstract recommends Brooks’s insights and singular style to anyone intrigued by pivotal moments that shaped the modern US economy.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Ford Motor Company misread the market for its Edsel
  • How copy machines fueled Xerox Corporation’s fast growth
  • What events shaped US insider-trading rules
  • How a legal case about space suits defined trade-secret protection
 

Summary

Things Go Wrong: Ford
The story of the Edsel is a mixture of tragedy and farce. Ford Motor Company launched the car in 1957 and discontinued it “two years, two months and 15 days” later, losing an estimated $350 million in the process. The Edsel disaster remains difficult to fully explain...
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About the Author

Time contributing editor and New Yorker staff writer John Brooks also wrote Once in Golconda: A True Drama of Wall Street 1920-1938 and The Go-Go Years.


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