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The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co.
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The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co.

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  459 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A grand and revelatory portrait of Wall Street’s most storied investment bank

Wall Street investment banks move trillions of dollars a year, make billions in fees, pay their executives in the tens of millions of dollars. But even among themost powerfulfirms, Lazard Frères & Co. stood apart. Discretion, secrecy, andsubtle strategy were its weapons of choice. Formore than
Paperback, 756 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by Anchor (first published April 3rd 2007)
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Compelling history of Lazard Frères & Co.

If investment banking and the history of big deals fascinate you, getAbstract invites you to sit down with this compelling history of Lazard Frères & Co., from its humble beginnings through its astounding success. The stories of the dominant personalities who used the Lazard mystique to garner unbelievable fees are legendary. As a former journalist and Lazard banker, William D. Cohan has the skill and qualifications to tell this story. While he c
The author is a former banker and journalist, and he writes like the former. His stylistic quirks - he tends to complete rather nondescript thoughts with menaningless quotations from the players which add nothing - are annoying and amateurish. And while it is well researched and footnoted, the history of the once secretive Lazard Freres is not all that exciting. However, there is some juicy gossip, and the best portions center on the massive egos of the various stars in the firm. Those chapters ...more
This is a gossipy history of an investment bank, most of it dedicated to the last 20 years where the most gossip is available. It contains all of the joys and limitations of good gossip, although non-bankers may find the descriptions of the various compensation packages a little arcane.
James Loftus
May 10, 2008 James Loftus rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wall St Nerds
Will written, but LONG and really only for the die hard lover of the history of wall street. On a positive note I thought it was fair and well researched and did not have an agenda, a big bonus considering it was written by a former Lazard partner.
Cohan is a thorough researcher and has made a candid picture of the people and motives behind Lazard. I admire his thoroughness and patience. On the other hand, I am so used to reading about a company through their characters, that I miss the story and find the narration of people and facts sometimes lengthy. So for the sake of preciseness and completeness, Cohan has sacrificed literature and storytelling. A great book but not necessarily a vivid colourful painting.
For anyone interested in how global financial institutions evolve, this is great reading. You have to be somewhat familiar with the investment banking world to find a lot of stuff interesting
Mirek Jasinski
Long, factual but interesting to all those who want to understand social/economic history and/or banking
Maybe too long to read but definitely a great book to listen to in its audio format.
A mix of mini biographies of the main characters at Lazard plus the evolution of the firm.
Duncan Irvine
Very interesting book long in parts but a thorough look at the business and the key deals that made them what they are. Definitely worth reading
Brian R.
I can understand entirely why the average reader would not be very interested in this book but it is an incredibly well research and entertaining look at one of Wall Street's most impressive firms. While I found the end of the book that deals with the most recent developments within the firm to be a bit rambling I found the balance of the firm's history (and especially the historical perspective given to it) rather fascinating.
Vitalijus Sostak
Lengthy book overburdened with details, reminds me of "Barbarians at the Gate". Gossipy parts are the best, of course, they give meaty insight on what internal politics/infighting in private M&A partnership really looks like.

Few quotes:
"Investment bankers, as a class, are the Ernest Hemingways of bullshit".
The Lazard credo: "It's not enough for you to succeed; other must fail".
This was a tough one - there were parts of it that I really liked (the more recent history, their conversations about going public, etc.) particularly around their ridiculously insular culture, but there were also whole sections that dragged terribly. So I would say interesting to those who have seen a bank from the inside, could have gotten a bit tougher with the editing pen.
Alex  Gunawan
Jul 12, 2008 Alex Gunawan is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
As expected, This book is really good. It tells us about Lazard Freres & co, it's intrigue, etc...... It is about history about the success and the end of the last private company, after surviving more than a hundred years.

I won't make a lot of comment because i haven't finished it. Hopefully, i have a lot of time to read it........
would benefit from some more rigorous editing and abbreviation, but insightful nonetheless... reminds me of why i would never want to work for an investment bank (did i just say that?)
The Scrivener's Quill
I was not able to finish this book. The direction was not clear. It is not badly written, but the direction of where the book was going was not clear.
Ugh. Lots of discussion of mergers and acquisitions, no explanation of the jargon they used in the text. Couldn't get through the book - a rarity for me.
Definitely a book which gives a good insight of the wall street history. At some points, the direction gets a bit hazy but overall a nice read.
Helvecio Borges
Quite interesting and well-documented, though one must have some interest in banking-related topics to appreciate.
Interesting book on a company I didn't even know existed before I'd read their story. Well researched.
I never thought the exciting life of investment bankers at Lazard could turn into such a boring book.
Alex Raines
This was a good book for very long stretches, but at some points, it was needlessly detailed.
David Fang
Poorly written, makes me want to fall asleep. Read Barbarians at the Gate instead.
Amazing insight to one of most influential but unknown investment banks in history.
This book probably has a pretty limited audience. That said, it's well done.
Rod Zemke
A little long, but a good sense of financial history of the United States.
The Truong
An interesting, but ultimately long-winded, look at Lazard Freres.
Interesting story of Lazard's history and people behind it.
Good retelling based on widely disseminated sources.
Quite hard work but on the whole enjoyable
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William David Cohan (born February 20, 1960) is an American business writer. He has written three books about business and economics and is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.

Prior to becoming a journalist, he worked on Wall Street for seventeen years. He spent six years at Lazard Frères in New York, then Merrill Lynch & Co., and later became a managing director at JP Morgan Chase. He also w
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