Join getAbstract to access the summary!

The Mind of Wall Street

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

The Mind of Wall Street

A Legendary Financier on the Perils of Greed and the Mysteries of the Market

Public Affairs,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Looking back on Wall Street from the perspective of seniority, Leon Levy tells what went right and what's going wrong.

auto-generated audio
auto-generated audio

Editorial Rating



  • Engaging
  • Insider's Take


The late, legendary Wall Street investor Leon Levy offers a glimpse into his financial mind in this easily digested work, which is part memoir and part study of investor psychology. Writing with journalist Eugene Linden, he persuasively argues that investors’ moodiness often drives the market as much as any fundamentals. Unlike many Wall Street investment strategies, Levy’s approach was long-term. And as this book shows, Levy’s ego was refreshingly understated. Yet his modesty proves this memoir’s biggest weakness. He declines to criticize his rivals and walks us through his triumphs in only a cursory way. At the same time that he’s leaving juicy details out of his memoir, he also gives short shrift to his study of investor psychology. Still, the biggest criticism of this book is that it should have been longer. recommends this memoir to investors interested in learning from a master.


The "Pretty Efficient" Market

As the boom-and-bust markets of the 1920s, the 1980s and the late 1990s show, equity prices often are driven by more than economic conditions or financial fundamentals. Investor psychology plays a significant role, as does the inexorable cycle of greed. In good times, investors and accountants become optimistic, fall for fads and relax their standards of valuing companies.

The backlash is inevitable. As the Internet economy of the late '90s showed, investors could forget everything they knew about conventional valuation theories when a "new economy" promised that everything had changed. This sort of optimism is part of a broader pattern that played out in earlier boom markets. In 1929, for instance, financial publications promised a new era of unprecedented growth for stocks.

Ups and Downs

These booms and busts occurred over relatively short time spans. In the longer term, the American investment culture has changed markedly. In the 1950s, investors still remembered the Great Depression and the risks inherent in stocks. Many states passed legislation making it illegal for pension funds to invest more than a small amount...

About the Authors

The late Leon Levy was a founder of Oppenheimer Mutual Funds and Odyssey Partners and founded the Jerome Levy Institute for Economic Research at Bard College. Levy began his career on Wall Street in 1948. He died in 2003. Eugene Linden is a journalist who has contributed to TIME magazine.

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

By the same authors

Learners who read this summary also read