Resources > Publications > My Book Reviews

My Book Reviews

Category: Wall Street Insider
Published: 2006
Read: 2010
Reviewed: Jul 2010

After working at Coopers & Lybrand, and then MCI in the investor relations department, Dan Reingold decides to make the jump to Wall Street and become a telecom stock analyst. He starts at Morgan Stanley before moving to Merrill Lynch, and then on to Credit Suisse First Bank. The book describes the rise of WorldCom and the integration of the smaller telecom companies like LDDS. The author gives details of his personal interactions with many of the key players of the era before they became famous, specifically analyst Jack Grubman (when Reingold was an investors relations person with MCI) and with Bernie Ebbers (before Worldcom had become big).

The book's greatest strength is it's insight into the life of a stock analyst - the conflicts between the investment bankers and the analysts, the bonus culture, the long hours, the traveling, and the politics. The book also benefits from the greater macro story - the sharp rise and ultimate fall of the telecom stocks in the 90s (which was a microcosm of the general Wall Street mania of the that decade) - and all of the associated events (the WorldCom scam, and the rise of the powerful analysts like Grubman)

This book has a seriousness to it that other "Wall Street insider" books don't have. That's because most books in this genre aren't really written by true "insiders", they are written by outsiders who happen to get a transitory glance from the periphery of Wall Street. They typically come in two varieties: books that tell comical stories (like "Monkey Business") or books written by green outsiders who wiggle their their into a Wall Street job (like "Riding the Bull"). In Reingold's case, the author was not just some entry-level MBA who became an investment banker for a year or two. He was a high-profile and well-respected analyst (for whatever that's worth).

Some readers like to throw Reingold in with the rest of the Wall Street scum. They say that he should have spotted the WorldCom fraud. I don't agree. Analysts aren't auditors. And even though he kept quiet about the questionable conduct that he witnessed, he also drew explicit lines which he wouldn't cross. Overall, he was pretty honorable.

Book Reviews


Individual Reviews