Summary of Last Man Standing

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  • Eye Opening
  • Background
  • Engaging


Duff McDonald’s book covers a fascinating historical moment – the 2008-2009 Wall Street debacle – by profiling a pivotal character in the thick of it, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. Having spent extensive time with Dimon, McDonald combines his reporting with published sources, Dimon’s own writings and statements, and interviews with his associates, employees or relatives. McDonald covers Dimon’s youth, business school education and evolving career. Dimon was a nonconformist in business school and politics, an astute lieutenant of his mentor Sandy Weill, and a pivotal figure in the financial crisis. Notably, he preserved JPMorgan Chase, bought Bear Stearns and helped lead the market back to stability. Readers interested in a critical take on Dimon may find the book too flattering, but if you want to see how the financial wars looked from the CEO’s chair, getAbstract recommends this intriguing perspective.

About the Author

Duff McDonald is a contributing editor at New York magazine and the recipient of two Canadian National Magazine Awards.



Hereditary Banker

Jamie Dimon’s grandfather left Greece as a refugee, making his way to New York in 1921. He changed his surname from Papademetriou to Dimon, perhaps because the new name made it easier to get work as a restaurant busboy. Family legend says the restaurant fired him and he went to work for a Greek bank. After becoming its vice president, he moved to Shearson Hammill, a brokerage. His son, Theodore (Ted), Jamie’s father, eventually joined the same firm. Jamie was born on March 13, 1956. His family lived in Jackson Heights, in Queens, until he was 11 years old. Then, they tried the suburbs, but returned to New York City in a year. In school, Jamie was a good athlete, protective of his more cerebral twin brother, ethical and willing to challenge authority over points of morality.

The Dimons got to know Sandy Weill, then head of Hayden Stone, when he acquired the Shearson Hammill brokerage. Ted Dimon received considerable autonomy in exchange for staying at the firm. The families became close. Jamie Dimon wrote a paper analyzing how Weill combined “an efficient company (Hayden Stone) with an inefficient one (Shearson Hammill)” during his sophomore year at...

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