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It was a German soldier’s chance decision to reach for a cigarette and absently wave a car through a checkpoint outside Marseille in 1940 that allowed Felix Rohatyn and his Jewish family to escape from Nazi-occupied France. In the States, a chance summer job led him to the small, private investment bank of Lazard Frères, where he came under the tutelage of legendary financ It was a German soldier’s chance decision to reach for a cigarette and absently wave a car through a checkpoint outside Marseille in 1940 that allowed Felix Rohatyn and his Jewish family to escape from Nazi-occupied France. In the States, a chance summer job led him to the small, private investment bank of Lazard Frères, where he came under the tutelage of legendary financier André Meyer. The summer job turned into an extraordinary fifty-year career. Hailed as "the preeminent investment banker of his generation," Rohatyn was a creator of the merger-and-acquisition business that revolutionized investment banking and transformed the worlds of finance and entertainment. In this very personal account, Rohatyn takes us behind the headlines to offer readers a telling look at some of the era’s most renowned figures in the worlds of finance, entertainment, and politics. We are alongside Rohatyn as he meets Steve Ross in the back of the funeral parlor Ross is managing as they strategize to take control of Warner Brothers, and in André Meyer’s art-filled apartment as they negotiate with Frank Sinatra. We are with Rohatyn as he assists Harold Geneen of ITT weather a series of congressional investigations, and as he stays one step ahead of the canny Michael Ovitz as Matsushita attempts to win control of Lew Wasserman’s Universal Pictures. We also watch Rohatyn defending shareholders’ interests as the RJR-Nabisco buyout becomes a cautionary tale of executive greed. We have a front-row seat as Rohatyn and Governor Hugh Carey forge a desperation plan to save New York City from bankruptcy. And we accompany Rohatyn when he returns to Paris as the U.S. ambassador to the country he barely escaped alive as a young boy. Full of headline-making revelations, insider stories, keen personal observations, and relevant financial wisdoms, Dealings is the page-turning story of a life well lived.


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It was a German soldier’s chance decision to reach for a cigarette and absently wave a car through a checkpoint outside Marseille in 1940 that allowed Felix Rohatyn and his Jewish family to escape from Nazi-occupied France. In the States, a chance summer job led him to the small, private investment bank of Lazard Frères, where he came under the tutelage of legendary financ It was a German soldier’s chance decision to reach for a cigarette and absently wave a car through a checkpoint outside Marseille in 1940 that allowed Felix Rohatyn and his Jewish family to escape from Nazi-occupied France. In the States, a chance summer job led him to the small, private investment bank of Lazard Frères, where he came under the tutelage of legendary financier André Meyer. The summer job turned into an extraordinary fifty-year career. Hailed as "the preeminent investment banker of his generation," Rohatyn was a creator of the merger-and-acquisition business that revolutionized investment banking and transformed the worlds of finance and entertainment. In this very personal account, Rohatyn takes us behind the headlines to offer readers a telling look at some of the era’s most renowned figures in the worlds of finance, entertainment, and politics. We are alongside Rohatyn as he meets Steve Ross in the back of the funeral parlor Ross is managing as they strategize to take control of Warner Brothers, and in André Meyer’s art-filled apartment as they negotiate with Frank Sinatra. We are with Rohatyn as he assists Harold Geneen of ITT weather a series of congressional investigations, and as he stays one step ahead of the canny Michael Ovitz as Matsushita attempts to win control of Lew Wasserman’s Universal Pictures. We also watch Rohatyn defending shareholders’ interests as the RJR-Nabisco buyout becomes a cautionary tale of executive greed. We have a front-row seat as Rohatyn and Governor Hugh Carey forge a desperation plan to save New York City from bankruptcy. And we accompany Rohatyn when he returns to Paris as the U.S. ambassador to the country he barely escaped alive as a young boy. Full of headline-making revelations, insider stories, keen personal observations, and relevant financial wisdoms, Dealings is the page-turning story of a life well lived.

30 review for Dealings: A Political and Financial Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A brisk memoir from one of the world's most prominent investment bankers. He crossed paths with Edith Piaf, corporate leaders such as Lew Wasserman of RCA and Jack Welsh of GE, Sinatra, and many others. The most interesting segments of the book, though, recount his role in saving New York City from bankruptcy in the 1970s with Governor Hugh Carey. The similarities to our current situation are uncanny, and Rohatyn closes the book outlining the dark transformation capitalism has seen in recent yea A brisk memoir from one of the world's most prominent investment bankers. He crossed paths with Edith Piaf, corporate leaders such as Lew Wasserman of RCA and Jack Welsh of GE, Sinatra, and many others. The most interesting segments of the book, though, recount his role in saving New York City from bankruptcy in the 1970s with Governor Hugh Carey. The similarities to our current situation are uncanny, and Rohatyn closes the book outlining the dark transformation capitalism has seen in recent years. Essential reading.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Hitesh

    Background: - Heard Felix's name numerous times in multiple biographies. Glad to have finally picked up his book and gotten inside his head. Thoughts: - Good elaboration into how several deals were structured. Gave a play by play summary of various deals and insight into the decision making process. - Overall, most impressed by the man that he was. A highly ethical gentleman. I do admire how he fought for his beliefs. Especially how he helped the city of new york get their finances right. Fav Quot Background: - Heard Felix's name numerous times in multiple biographies. Glad to have finally picked up his book and gotten inside his head. Thoughts: - Good elaboration into how several deals were structured. Gave a play by play summary of various deals and insight into the decision making process. - Overall, most impressed by the man that he was. A highly ethical gentleman. I do admire how he fought for his beliefs. Especially how he helped the city of new york get their finances right. Fav Quote: - "At it's core, banking is not simply about profit, but about personal relationships. Second, the key aspect of any successful merger or acquisition lies in the ability of the new company to provide a beneficial service to it's customers"

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A good memoir full of significant, historical M&A events in finance (e.g. a couple of large corporate mergers, the creation of MAC to save NYC, and also RJR Nabisco). The late Felix Rohatyn shared some precious learnings that I will bear in mind from now on: 1) it is more prudent to walk away from seemingly glittering opportunities than to chase after them; 2) investment banking is not simply about profit, but about personal relationships; 3) in a crisis, don’t wait for all the facts you would l A good memoir full of significant, historical M&A events in finance (e.g. a couple of large corporate mergers, the creation of MAC to save NYC, and also RJR Nabisco). The late Felix Rohatyn shared some precious learnings that I will bear in mind from now on: 1) it is more prudent to walk away from seemingly glittering opportunities than to chase after them; 2) investment banking is not simply about profit, but about personal relationships; 3) in a crisis, don’t wait for all the facts you would like. Get as many as you can and then move. If you wait for all the facts, it will be too late.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Mah

    One of the better memoirs I’ve read that you won’t find on many reading lists.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jerry Kane

    This man,an undergraduate physics major at Middlebury, put his skills to work in the 70's. After being shrugged by Gerald Ford, a financially drowning New York, looked to the brilliance of this quiet, smart man to rescue it...he did. His thoughtful writings should be required reading for all young, bright mathematicians who choose The Wall Street Door over The Technology Innovation Door. We. as a country, loose the medical, physicsl, and additional knowledge that these minds could have produced. This man,an undergraduate physics major at Middlebury, put his skills to work in the 70's. After being shrugged by Gerald Ford, a financially drowning New York, looked to the brilliance of this quiet, smart man to rescue it...he did. His thoughtful writings should be required reading for all young, bright mathematicians who choose The Wall Street Door over The Technology Innovation Door. We. as a country, loose the medical, physicsl, and additional knowledge that these minds could have produced. They run to the immediate, though transient, short, monetary rewards of obscurly designed, financial instruments.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Trina

    A memorable look at American investment banking. Rohatyn writes well and is candid about his role in preventing the bankruptcy of New York City in the 1970s and later serving as an ambassador to France.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Somewhat interesting, but I lost steam and was mostly skimming by the end.

  8. 4 out of 5

    JOhn

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

  10. 5 out of 5

    Caleb

  11. 4 out of 5

    CM Hamilton

  12. 4 out of 5

    Markus

  13. 4 out of 5

    Zoran

  14. 5 out of 5

    Max Edwards

  15. 5 out of 5

    Johnny Vazquez

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  18. 5 out of 5

    Justin Mitran

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brad Tingley

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michael Matute

  21. 4 out of 5

    Drilling

  22. 4 out of 5

    Steven Jasmin

  23. 4 out of 5

    EvaSaidIt

  24. 4 out of 5

    Philip O'Shea

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andres Claparols

  26. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Woodworth

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dean

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sergey Panov

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tom Eff

  30. 4 out of 5

    Scot McCollum

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