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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vivid account of failure
As one who worked in the City during the period that Philip Augar describes (my own book, The City: Inside The Great Expectation Machine, comments on the decline of the British investment banks though in less detail) I can honestly say it struck many chords. The picture he paints is a vivid account of failure, the failure of the senior partners of broking firms and the...
Published on 24 Nov 2000

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinarily dull book
Despite tackling a subject that is potentially fascinating - how indeed did the British manage to pass control of almost all their investment banking institutions to foreign corporations in the space of a few years - this book fails to hit the mark.
Despite having worked for many years in the City, and thus having a greater affinity for the subject matter than some...
Published on 3 Jun 2003


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vivid account of failure, 24 Nov 2000
By A Customer
As one who worked in the City during the period that Philip Augar describes (my own book, The City: Inside The Great Expectation Machine, comments on the decline of the British investment banks though in less detail) I can honestly say it struck many chords. The picture he paints is a vivid account of failure, the failure of the senior partners of broking firms and the senior management of banks to grasp fully what was happening and what needed to be done. The analysis in this book has implications beyond the narrow confines of the City of London. As well as being vital to the British economy, the City is a reflection of what is good - and what is bad - about the wider society. A good read, spiced with plenty of quotes and anecdotes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insights into the cultures of finance, 5 Nov 2001
By 
Tom Groenfeldt (Sturgeon Bay, WI) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
An insider's view of the City's takeover by American and European firms. Augar is very interesting on the different cultures of commmercial and investment banking, the failure of UK firms to adopt sophisticated management and the failure of the UK government to keep control of at least some of the major firms in British hands.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinarily dull book, 3 Jun 2003
By A Customer
Despite tackling a subject that is potentially fascinating - how indeed did the British manage to pass control of almost all their investment banking institutions to foreign corporations in the space of a few years - this book fails to hit the mark.
Despite having worked for many years in the City, and thus having a greater affinity for the subject matter than some may do, and thus a higher boredom threshold, this is one of the few books I could not finish.
I think the reason is simple; while Philip Augar is indeed a very experienced and respected professional, his background is as a research analyst and this shines through the whole book. Pages and pages of tables and graphs, every comment backed up by a quotation from some source or other, cross referenced and dated in minute detail. It makes for an accurate work, but also a desparately uninteresting one, unless you want a reference manual.
What makes a full-length book "scan" is anecdotes and characters around facts (which don't need endless referencing), and I certainly don't find reams of tables in the least bit compelling reading. Indeed, it has all the attractions of reading a super-elongated piece of analyst research.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What An Expose!, 1 Dec 2000
By A Customer
"The Death of Gentlemanly Capitalism" is a wonderfully penned, fascinating expose of the "secret" world of British bank management revealing the negative characteristics that can lead to the downfall of a successful organization. Yet, if it were not for the British setting, I would easily have believed it was describing worldwide management practices, where creating the right perception is often of greater importance than actual technical knowledge. There may not be any "old school ties, gentleman's clubs or country homes" to guarantee an important company position, but the new breed of manager certainly aspires to the status symbols of a "Power Look", membership in exclusive golf clubs, ownership of luxury cars, up-scale properties etc.! And is there humor to be found in such managerial corruption, incompetence and complacency? I believe so, as I recently read a hilarious satire, which brings to light examples of similar managerial bungling in the American R&D high-tech industry. The book is entitled, "Management by Vice" by scientist/author C.B. Don and I highly recommend reading it in conjunction with this superb British banking disclosure to bring some measure of international perspective on the apparently widespread problems of managerial "vices"!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fasinating insight into the truth., 21 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This book should be the wake up call for the Government and the City of London, and an absoulte must for anyone who worked in the city during that period.This book is one that needed to be written. Well done Philip!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for those wishing to understand the city!, 28 Feb 2001
Philip Augar, a long respected figure in the city of London, describes the events that have shaped the city from the 1970's onwards......to the present day.
Mr Augar starts of with the traditional view of the corpulent braces wearing city broker who poodled of to the country at the weekend (Friday afternoon actually) and to whom the ideas of risk management, trading limits and other things that we take as the norm were alien.
He gradually dissects this jaundiced view explaining how it operated and generally how it thrived before the advent of the US firms......
He treats the US banking "invasion" of the UK with a balanced eye, commenting favourably on the more productive working environment and the increasing consolidation within the banking industry as advisory firms attempted to transform themselves full service investment banks.
He also covers the Barings scandal, and to his credit does it briefly - only mentioning the general lack of strategic focus that the firm had. The section on Warburg and Kleinwort Benson is far more interesting, covering the contrasts between 2 banks, one which overextended in an effort to become a global player and the other which decided to be subsumed into a German entity which it decided would be a better bet in the long term.
Given the current questions being posed in the wake of the post euro city concerning the relevance of London as a financial centre, then this book is a hugely valuable read.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great piece of research, not so great read, 13 Jun 2001
By A Customer
Philip Augur was trained as an analyst, and it shows in this book. Having been intimately involved, he obviously has a detailed understanding of his subject. Every sentence contains facts and figures, and tables illustrate his points. However, he fails to bring any sense of excitement to the material. Even when he was personally involved, he maintains an academic detachment which is laudable, but not very readable. From its exciting title, one would expect tales of American invaders getting the English merchant bankers drunk (not too difficult) and robbing them blind - a new "Liar's Poker". Instead we get a book which deserves to be the "official history" of the demise of British banking, but by no means a thrilling best-seller.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What is this man trying to say ?, 28 Aug 2001
The author does not appear to have made up his mind about what the loss of "gentlemanly capitalism" means. His condemnation of the naievety of the "Big Bang" generation, holding them responsible for the subsequent US takeover of the City sits oddly beside his attacks on obscene salary and benefits packages and the prevailing culture of arrogant, grasping individualism. It would have been better if these sorts of issues had been explored further - in space left by a much-needed hatchet job on all the stuff about particular individuals and institutions, a lot of which is unnecessary and, frankly, tedious.
It is a pity that the book is so lacking in focus. The issues it tries to address are extremely important and run very deep.
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The Death of Gentlemanly Capitalism: The Rise And Fall of London's Investment Banks
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