Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Memos from the Chairman” as Want to Read:
Memos from the Chairman
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Memos from the Chairman

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  162 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Memos from the Chairman is a particularly encouraging example for all business managers and leaders who, through humor, insight, and shared inspiration, strive to run and build a firm with outstanding success and good cheer. Through his notorious memos, Greenberg expounds upon business ethics, telephone manners, cycles and trends, and other important issues. Greenberg has ...more
Paperback, 156 pages
Published June 10th 1997 by Wiley (first published March 1st 1996)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Memos from the Chairman, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Memos from the Chairman

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Brad Feld
Dec 07, 2014 Brad Feld rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I had high hopes for Ace Greenberg’s compendium of memos from his time as chairman of Bear Stearns, which coincided with massive growth and success for the company. While there was some cuteness in here along with a few things to reflect on, I was disappointed in how dull the majority of the book was. Maybe it was awesome in 1996 when it came out, but it felt slow and dated in 2015.
Pamela
Jul 19, 2011 Pamela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Saved memos from the former Chairman and CEO of Bear Stearns to his employees...great ideas for workplace. Read as intern for Bear and was priviledged to get to know Mr. Greenberg as i worked on same floor as him :) (have my autographed copy)
Soo Ling Yeoh
Mar 05, 2015 Soo Ling Yeoh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A book of practical truths, and entertaining at the same time. Key insights include:
1. Be prepared during the good times. Times will turn, and it could be very soon.
2. Thou will do well in commerce as long as thou does not believe thine own odour is perfume.
3. Use common sense. Do not force fit frameworks into problems for a solution.
4. Avoid the herd mentality.
5. Customer first.
6. A great poker player leaves nothing on the table. Cap costs at all times, and leave no waste.
7. Start hiring
...more
Armando Leite
A collection of memos sent by Bear and Stearns CEO, Alan Greenberg, impart a philosophy of common sense management on the rest of his organisation. Several times fads in management are dismissed as such (BPR, VM...)
Although "arrogance" is mentioned as a negative on several occasions, the memos in themselves come across as arrogant at times... some clever laplacian truths though;
- Be polite to customers
- Be responsive
- Control your expenses
- >If you don;t have something good to say about someb
...more
Julie
Mar 06, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Superficially, the memos appear repetitive and overly simplistic. Then you realize that is the beauty and the brilliance of Greenberg...over a period of 18 years he consistently displays wit, discipline and a set of values that make Bear Sterns focus on the right things (customers, cost, honesty) despite the great distractions of Wall Street ups and downs. Really good one for leaders of any company or group.
Tirath
Mar 08, 2015 Tirath rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The size of the book makes it a fun read. It could however do with more of an explanantion... reg circumstances of said time periods, and an end note...

The chairman of a now failed organisation kept sticking to the basics - common sense, frugality, accountability, respect for customers, honing a culture, and lastly, being contrarian in times of extreme situations.

It's a nice short fun read, but gives away little information other than the verbatim memos.
Arturo Ojeda
Interesting focus on the fundamentals. At first, it sounded sarcastic but I think a better term for describing the memos is that they are straightforward.

He talks a lot about austerity, and I think it's an important topic to take care of as a chairman but I don't think that's what made the company great, as some people see it. At some points, I think insisting some much on that, and taking it to an extreme, made the associates feel like they were working on a "cheap" company.
Gabriel Pinkus
This guy is hilarious. Bear Stearns is making $110M in a quarter and he's sending out memos reminding people that broken rubber bands can still be used if you tie the ends together. I can see why Buffett liked Ace so much. This is a profile of someone you'd like to work with and have run your business.
bookreader
The final memo should read that hoarding paper clips & rubber bands is neither panacea nor consolation when your balance sheet is levered 50 times and loaded with worthless MBS just as a global financial crisis erupts.
Eric
Dec 21, 2012 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick/fun read that gives the reader a good luck at Ace Greenberg's management style. During the heyday of Bear Stearns, Ace made the firm a great place to work and managed their P&L like a hawk.
David
Nov 19, 2016 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Light reading. Lots of humor in his very consistent and instructive view on management.
MikeFromQueens
Some jewels of wisdom, and interesting what themes are repeated over the years. This would be a good book to have handy for quoting from at key moments.
Michael Massad
Jul 30, 2014 Michael Massad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simple, quick, easy to grasp.

Alan Greenberg distills how to run a company in a few simple steps
João Gonzalez
João Gonzalez rated it it was amazing
Nov 22, 2014
Marcus
Marcus rated it it was ok
Nov 29, 2011
Stefan Bruun
Stefan Bruun rated it really liked it
Jan 19, 2015
Matthew
Matthew rated it liked it
Dec 25, 2014
Bev
Bev rated it it was amazing
Feb 16, 2015
Matt
Matt rated it it was amazing
Sep 13, 2007
Karcsi Bácsi
Karcsi Bácsi rated it liked it
Oct 26, 2016
Toby
Toby rated it it was amazing
Jan 30, 2016
Safa Mahzari
Safa Mahzari rated it it was amazing
Jun 04, 2016
Michael McCall
Michael McCall rated it really liked it
Feb 21, 2016
Dion Persson
Dion Persson rated it liked it
Sep 14, 2014
Alex
Alex rated it really liked it
Mar 30, 2015
David Teten
David Teten rated it it was amazing
Jul 18, 2011
Walter
Walter rated it it was amazing
Aug 17, 2012
James Petzke
James Petzke rated it really liked it
Aug 29, 2015
Angela
Angela rated it liked it
Mar 26, 2012
Daniel RItsma
Daniel RItsma rated it it was amazing
Apr 09, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Creation: Life and How to Make It
  • Data-Driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know
  • The Theory of Interest: As Determined by Impatience to Spend Income and Opportunity Ot Invest It
  • Exile on Wall Street: One Analyst's Fight to Save the Big Banks from Themselves
  • The Coming Generational Storm: What You Need to Know about America's Economic Future
  • The Davis Dynasty: Fifty Years of Successful Investing on Wall Street
  • Family Fortunes: How to Build Family Wealth and Hold on to It for 100 Years
  • A Few Lessons for Investors and Managers
  • The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World's Toughest Marketplace
  • Competition Demystified: A Radically Simplified Approach to Business Strategy
  • It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street
  • Origins of the Crash: The Great Bubble and Its Undoing
  • The New Buffettology: The Proven Techniques for Investing Successfully in Changing Markets That Have Made Warren Buffett the World's Most Famous Investor
  • Bernard Baruch
  • Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business
  • Bet the Farm: How Food Stopped Being Food
  • Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose
  • The Little Book of Behavioral Investing: How Not to Be Your Own Worst Enemy

Share This Book



“The amount of dissension rises geometrically with the more issues you have to philosophize over.” 0 likes
More quotes…