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King Of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall, And Rise Again Of Steve Schwarzman And Blackstone (2010)

by John E. Morris(Favorite Author)
3.78 of 5 Votes: 2
0307452999 (ISBN13: 9780307452993)
Crown Business
review 1: I have mixed feelings about this book. Some of the content was very interesting. I liked learning about the ideas behind conglomerates, private equity and venture capitalists. I actually found the details behind all of Blackstones deals interesting. What irritated and annoyed me was the author's inability to maintain chronological order. I listened to this as an audiobook, and the constant jumps between the time the deal was done to unrelated events decades later confursed me constantly. Anyway good information, just presented inadequately. Oh yes, what irritated me the most was the title. I couldn't figure out what the "Fall" part of the title meant. Schwarzman seemed to take off and never look back.
review 2: The story of Blackstone is the story of t
... morehe private equity business as a whole, at least in the telling of it from business writers David Carey and John Morris. Private equity, for those who might not be familiar, is a process whereby investment groups search for corporations that are somehow in trouble or, at a minimum, in need of greater efficiencies, invest in them thus taking them ‘private,’ only to reorganize them into entities that can be put back on the market (or sold to another firm) at a considerable profit. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.What makes Blackstone’s story unique has as much to do with the personality of its chairman as it does with the rise of the firm itself. The authors portray CEO Steve Schwarzman, much as he is seen in the press; excessively driven, periodically hot headed and one who is known for his more-than-occasional outsized behavior (from having jet-skiing waiters serve him a beachfront lunch off of his yacht in St. Barth’s to a lavish, pre-IPO birthday party that may have made his spotlight a little too hot with D.C. regulators.)The rise of the firm is well documented, from its humble beginnings (where Schwarzman and his mentor Peter Peterson, both ex-Lehman execs, set up shop with just a secretary, two desks and a billion dollar dream) to its rise through the lists of competitive firms (Drexel, Wasserstein Perrella, Forstmann Little) arriving near the top and within spitting range of the leader of the pack, Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts (KKR.)Along the way, Carey and Morris outline every major deal the firm was engaged in (and some they were not – thanks to former Reagan cabinet member, staffer David Stockman) as well as the personnel in and outs that sometimes narrowed the staff down to near-desparate levels. The reader is given a conference room view of deal points, market factors and the all important banker relationships that are key to success or failure in the field, as well as a good look at Schwarzman’s philosophy of always protecting the downside (Schwarzman is notorious for hating to lose money.) Part of the myth-busting applied by the authors surrounds the (ill-concieved, as they argue) notion that despite their ‘barbarians at the gate’ style, strip and flip image, private equity firms, especially in the new world order (i.e. lower leverage opportunities post-regulation) can actually be beneficial to a firm’s survival prospects (despite the standard downsizing) thus increasing the odds of a successful sale or IPO on the backside of the deal.While “King of Capital” ostensibly purports to be the story of one firm – Blackstone – by the end, it becomes clear it really is about the two decade history of the private equity business in general, along with the argument that private equity often times helps a company rather than destroying it. If its focus had been another private equity firm (say KKR), the crux of the book would probably be very much the same. The rise of Blackstone, for all intents and purposes, parallels the path of private equity in general. That, as much as the machinations of the firm itself, is really the basis of this book. less
Reviews (see all)
Good history of Blackstone and the Private Equity world (at least in the US).
Great walk through of some of the history of private equity
learn how to hustle
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