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A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  64 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Now with a new introduction describing the fallout of America’s consumer credit boom, 1994’s wildly acclaimed bestseller A Piece of the Action tells the story of how millions of middle class Americans went from being savers to borrowers and investors through the invention of credit cards, mutual funds, and IRAs—resulting in profound societal change.Tracing the invention of ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published November 29th 1995 by Touchstone (first published October 1st 1994)
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Pat Herndon
Oct 10, 2016 Pat Herndon rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully written book that I am reading nearly 20 years after it was written. It is timely and explains so much of where we are today...with our modern discussion of the Glass-Steagall Act and this book's works cited including a piece by Elizabeth Warren. I recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand financial markets.
Michele
Oct 30, 2016 Michele rated it it was amazing
20 years later, this book is still a must-read. An insightful history of modern financial services, it traces the history of financial products for the middle class from credit cards in the 1950s to mutual funds in the 1980s.
Joe
Aug 17, 2008 Joe rated it liked it
This book tells the history of middle class personal finance in America. At some point, investing was only for rich people -- Middle America put their money in a savings account in a bank. Slowly, laws and attitudes changed, and people started to take advantage of other opportunities: discount stock houses, credit cards, money market accounts, and on and on.

Most of the history is pretty interesting, and the book does a great job of telling it -- for the most part. Unfortunately, the book ends up
...more
JP
May 18, 2013 JP rated it liked it
Tightly woven across this century, Nocera details the birth and evolution of credit cards, mutual funds, discount brokerage, and the modern American financial culture. Credit cards began with a drop of 60,000 on Fresno, California, by Bank of America, whose eventual industry group evolved into Visa under the leadership of Dee Hock. Discount brokerage was made possible by "Mayday," 1 May 1975, when fixed commission laws were phased out. Similar tales regarding the beginning of mutual funds ...more
Bimbo
Nov 16, 2015 Bimbo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting and easy to understand account of the rapid development of financial services in the past decades. The subject is worth a long look back and a lot of thinking. Although written in the heyday of democratisation of the financial industry Nocera managed to remain rather restrained in the praise of it all. Thus the book remains a very good and informative read after so many years that were it a human being it could legally drive a car by now. Nonetheless, the reprinted edition ...more
Marc
Jan 31, 2013 Marc rated it really liked it
Well-researched book. Anyone interested in the evolution over the last 100 years of financial products for the masses from stock market investing, credit cards, banking deregulation, mutual funds, etc would like this book. Learned a lot of interesting things. Even though it's out of date (1994 publishing) it's still good for the historical stuff and also it's somewhat interesting to get the out of date perspective without the knowledge of all the mayhem that happened since that time. only ...more
Ellen
Nov 15, 2009 Ellen rated it it was amazing
This book was riveting and opened a whole new world of understanding for me on how the financial landscape has changed in America over time. An invaluable resource for anyone wanting a complete understanding of how we got in the financial mess we're in today. I would love to read an updated version that covers the world of finance through 2009.
Jessica
Dec 14, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, detailing the opening of the financial sector, through credit cards and consumer debt, to the American middle class. Highly readable, Nocera injects character and personality to what could have been a dry financial history, bringing the people and industry to life. Recommended.
Drew Allen
May 11, 2014 Drew Allen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good account of the development of the financial services. Could be understood by both a lay person and someone who works in finance.
Eli Mernit
Aug 11, 2016 Eli Mernit rated it it was amazing
Wonderful history of financial products created for middle class Americans in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s
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Joseph Nocera is an American business journalist and author. He has been a columnist for The New York Times since April 2005. Nocera is also a business commentator for NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon.

Prior to joining The New York Times, Nocera worked at Fortune from 1995 to 2005, in a variety of positions, finally as editorial director. Nocera was the "Profit Motive" columnist at GQ from 19
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“Though they did not instantly grasp the ultimate significance of the money market fund, Brown and Bent understood completely that they were making the first real assault on Regulation Q. Here is Henry Brown describing the moment of epiphany: “It was a frustrating time,” he wrote in an unpublished chronicle, of their disastrous first two years in business. (“Bent calculated that the proprietor of the hot dog stand at the corner of Sixth Avenue and 53rd Street was making twice as much money as either of them.”) In a moment of desperation, Bent one day asked Brown:” 0 likes
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