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King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  3,321 ratings  ·  141 reviews
Strippers and Flippers . . . or a New Positive Force Helping to Drive the Economy . . .
The untold story of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone, the financier and his financial powerhouse that avoided the self-destructive tendencies of Wall Street. David Carey and John Morris show how Blackstone (and other private equity firms) transformed themselves from gamblers, hostile-
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Crown Business (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  3,321 ratings  ·  141 reviews

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Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Must be read.

How rich people and companies they form can gamble with global economy. Always with the help of financial institutions and banks. While adding millions to their bank accounts, little people not only lose their jobs, their retirement savings. How they manipulate each other and tax laws. Always finding a way to get around the laws to keep them straight.
Michael Losurdo
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The reading can get laborious at times, but it is very well-written and detail-oriented. It is NOT focused on Steve Schwarzman as much as I thought. I was expecting a little bit more of a biography of him as well as Blackstone. However, it's really about the the origination and growth of Blackstone. For anyone interested in private equity, this is a must-read because it gives a fantastic overview and history of the industry. Also, if you want to build the next Blackstone (*cough* like me *cough* ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I knew little about the subject. It's a compelling book to read for someone like that and who has an interest in finance. The narrative though is very prosaic and not laid out very well. Paragraphs are not logical extensions. There is lack of continuity. Information can be communicated better in a tabular format with some charts in some cases; here the author just seems to go on and on. Puke-out-as-it-comes kind of writing style. I learnt a lot though. My biggest takeaway is the scale of it all ...more
Rahul Lingala
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, finance
Deep insights into the Private Equity industry!

This book is not only focussed on Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone but broadly touches lots of other players in the US private equity industry. (A lot of focus on KKR.)

Listing down some topics of the book:
1) Steve Schwarzman and Peter Peterson's early lives and their struggles to raise their first Blackstone fund
2) Evolution of Private Equity Industry and mezzanine debt (by Drexel Burnham) in the 1980s
3) Lots of nail-biting deal stories. Some example
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
The King of Capital chronicles the business career of one man and his company in the context of a variety of developments in the financial world over the past 30 years. For me as a novice to this topic, this book was mostly informative. Occasionally, I found myself unable to process the nuances of different financial trends, but generally it was good to come to gain a basic understanding of the pros and cons of private equity and leveraged buyouts, and to recognize what is going on at the high m ...more
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was ok
More interesting to read this as the story about founding a new enterprise. Lots of cold calls and unsuccessful meetings at the beginning - just like any other venture, followed by 20 years of hard work. After two decades of working hard, you get "discovered" by the media, and you are an "overnight success" (20 years in the making).

In that way, basically the same as WalMart, McDonalds, or any other non-VC funded entrepreneurial venture.

Interesting history. Interesting analysis.

The weakest part o
Prateek Gupta
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a decent book on the history of Blackstone which succintly outlines the contribution of key players over the course of the firm's growth and discusses the make-or-break moments as Blackstone became a leading global PE player. Jury is still out on whether PE players are a net benefit to the economy with their focus on improving businesses to generate high returns or short term opportunists leveraging companies to the hilt & saddling them with inserviceable debt when the cycle eventually t ...more
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is not only about Schwarzman and Blackstone. It also captures the zeitgeist of the LBO/PE industry from the 80's to post GFC. KKR, Carlyle, Apollo are more than supporting characters in this non-fictional account of the rise of Blackstone, one of the most formidable private equity asset managers in the world.

There are some facts that are eye-opening, such as the ultra low amount of equity that PE firms are required to put down in a leverage buyout deal in the 80's and 90's. The conglome
S Prakash
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A good read for all of those who are in the business world and who aren't well versed with the world of Private Equity. The journey of Blackstone, one of the worlds leading PE firms, over the last 3 plus decades is a good way to know and understand as to how various forms of financing have evolved.

It's more than a biographical piece on Steve Schwarzman. It's about an Investment Industry which has turned the fortunes of many a number of Industries both ways. Cursed by the employees mostly whose c
Mar 03, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: capitalism, housing

Back in 2008, Blackstone emerged as one of the biggest beneficiaries of the subprime crisis, becoming a trailblazer in financializing rents. As that crisis went global, so too did Blackstone’s property empire. By the time the dust had settled, it was the biggest commercial real estate company on the planet, according toFortune magazine. .

Now, Blackstone wants to repeat the feat, albeit using a somewhat different playbook. At the Goldman Sachs Financial Ser
Phuong Thanh
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Though the title may promise some sort of a thriller here, this book needs better storytelling. There are too many distracting characters and overlapping events, which is a shame because the authors explain the concepts very well and inject many insights along the timeline of the PE industry.
Jack Nolan
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
An easy and engaging read. Provides a good overview of the PE industry and how it developed. Less of a focus on Schwartzman or Bx than I expected. Surprisingly good amount of detail on specific LBO profits, IRRs etc. Ends a bit abruptly but accurately predicts the Hilton returns being massive.
Alex Trimm
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finance
This seemed like a fair appraisal of the history of Blackstone. It doesn't paint Schwarzman as a god, more as a very focused and hard-working young man who did a good job of gathering people around him that knew what they were doing. It also did a fair job assessing the private equity industry as a whole, bucking the general shallow perception of private equity as greedy investors looking to destroy a company for personal gain.

The last chapter seemed was the most intriguing to me. The author tri
Tyler Storm
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Pretty good and thorough history of Blackstone

Wish the author went into more detail about their investments. He just kinda gives it a cursory mention and some global details here and there. Really wish I could learn how the firm did a turnaround of their various investments. They invested in cyclical companies at the right time or turnaround companies that were undervalued. The author gives some mention but I really want to find out what exactly they did.

Overall, its the best of the bunch and gi
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A history of Blackstone that focused on the deals and their outcomes and not so much on Schwarzman, Petersen, et. al. I liked that aspect of it and how it included the broader macroeconomic and PE industry contexts.
Jan 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finance-novel
This book provides an overview of the private equity industry.

I think you can take a lot of value out of this book by reading the very last chapter which summarizes the current state of the industry and provides predictions about what will happen in the future.
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great summary of the history of the current players in private equity. entertaining and informative read!
Gmendra Lau
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lunch time fastfood.
Ed Zhu
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very readable book. I enjoyed the balanced context about the evolution of the PE industry, deal sourcing and structuring, and investment outcomes.
Bill Clarkin
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
It was ok. No really inside grittiness of the deal or the goings-on in Private Equity. Very few great stories of the life in Private Equity. The birthday party at the beginning was the best.
Julian Bu
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
risk taker, manager, market timer, salesman
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business
Informative but seemed too defensive of private equity. Also was heavily promoting Blackstone, especially at the expense of other PE firms.
Paulo Boghosian
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, easy reading, rich, and interesting if you like business and finance
Steve Bachman
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting history of Blackstone...a little preachy in the defense of private equity.
Zubair Habib
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great read, well presented.

The numbers got a bit laborius toward the end, but the real estate chapter picks up toward the end, which is a fascinating read too.
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thought this was a great book on the history of Blackstone and the private equity industry.

Below are my notes per chapter:

1. The Debutants - PE overview
Best PE strategies -> buy troubled companies or expanding them
Banks got rid of PE brands so they would not compete with their clients
Stocks sold by PE firms do better than just normal IPOs stocks on average
2. Houdaille Magic, Lehman Angst - Schwarz’s early days @ lehman and his exit
3. The Drexel Decade - Drexel Financing
1985 - LBOs booming → 1)
Suresh Ramaswamy
Oct 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
KING OF CAPITAL narrates the story of the remarkable rise, fall, and authors David Carey and John E. Morris convey how, why and its place in the economy of private equity industry.

Thirty five years back two former employees of Lehman Brothers – the investment bank king of Wall Street left the company and set up their own LBO firm. They were latecomers to the game. A decade earlier – in 1978 to be precise - the number one Private Equity firm (then a little-known investment firm) Kohlberg Kravis.
Kyle Weil
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To be fair, I probably wouldn't have read this book if I wasn't starting a private equity internship in a few days. Like many Americans, I long had no idea what private equity actually was. Are they the ones who just gut companies and lay a ton of people off? Are they just big financial traders? Are they the top 1%'ers ruining America? Yes. Well, kinda.

King of Capital tells not only the story of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone but the birth, growth, and maturation of the whole private equity ind
For a while in 2006 it felt like private equity would buy up the universe. Intoxicated by rising pension allocations and a tidal wave of credit, PE companies acquired anything in their sight. The bonanza was crowned with the extravagant 60th birthday party of Blackstone’s celebrity CEO Steve Schwarzman. Then came the hangover. Financial journalists David Carey and John Morris walk us through the making of Blackstone while at the same time giving the reader a history of the PE business.

In a way t
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