John Brooks


American Writer, Author of bestselling book "Business Adventures", Contributor to New Yorker Magazine

Author Quotes

I never intended to be especially combative, in Washington or in the Tennessee Valley. It was just that people kept disagreeing with me.

On the first day of his duel with the bears, Saunders, operating behind his mask of brokers, bought 33,000 shares of Piggly Wiggly, mostly from the short sellers; within a week he had brought the total to 105,000?more than half of the 200,000 shares outstanding. Meanwhile, ventilating his emotions at the cost of tipping his hand, he began running a series of advertisements in which he vigorously and pungently told the readers of Southern and Western newspapers what he thought of Wall Street. Shall the gambler rule? he demanded in one of these effusions. On a white horse he rides. Bluff is his coat of mail and thus shielded is a yellow heart. His helmet is deceit, his spurs clink with treachery, and the hoofbeats of his horse thunder destruction. Shall good business flee? Shall it tremble with fear? Shall it be the loot of the speculator? On Wall Street, Livermore went on buying Piggly Wiggly.

The way stock prices are made, the silly and almost childlike basis upon which grown men decide that a stock should be bought, and at what price

If you?re not able to communicate successfully between yourself and yourself, how are you supposed to make it with the strangers outside?

One of de la Vega?s observations about the Amsterdam traders was that they were very clever in inventing reasons for a sudden rise or fall in stock prices,

There is no possible protection from technology except by technology, he wrote. When you create a new environment with one phase of technology,

In Big Business, Lilienthal argues that not only the productive and distributive superiority of the United States but also its national security depends on industrial bigness; that we now have adequate public safeguards against abuses of big business, or know well enough how to fashion them as required; that big business does not tend to destroy small business, as is often supposed, but, rather, tends to promote it; and, finally, that a big-business society does not suppress individualism, as most intellectuals believe, but actually tends to encourage it by reducing poverty, disease, and physical insecurity and increasing the opportunities for leisure and travel.

One rather odd use of xerography insures that brides get the wedding presents they want. The prospective bride submits her list of preferred presents to a department store; the store sends the list to its bridal-registry counter, which is equipped with a Xerox copier; each friend of the bride, having been tactfully briefed in advance, comes to this counter and is issued a copy of the list, whereupon he does his shopping and then returns the copy with the purchased items checked off, so that the master list may be revised and thus ready for the next donor.

They were very clever in inventing reasons for a sudden rise or fall in stock prices.

In industry, you take a bump now and then, but you bounce back as long as you don?t get defeated inside.

Paradoxical as it may seem, the evolution of our income tax has been from a low-rate tax relying for revenue on the high income group to a high-rate tax relying on the middle and lower-middle income groups.

This preoccupation with the difficulty of getting a thought out of one head and into another is something the industrialists share with a substantial number of intellectuals and creative writers, more and more of whom seem inclined to regard communication, or the lack of it, as one of the greatest problems not just of industry but of humanity.

A call is an option to buy a stated amount of a certain stock at a fixed price?generally near the current market price?at any time during a stated period. Calls on most listed stocks are always on sale by dealers who specialize in them. The purchaser pays a generally rather moderate sum for his option; if the stock then goes up during the stated period, the rise can easily be converted into almost pure profit for him, while if the stock stays put or goes down, he simply tears up his call the way a horseplayer tears up a losing ticket, and loses nothing but the cost of the call. Therefore calls provide the cheapest possible way of gambling on the stock market, and the most convenient way of converting inside information into cash.

In no time at all, Foote, Cone & Belding had eighteen thousand names in hand, including Zoom, Zip, Benson, Henry, and Drof (if in doubt, spell it backward).

Saunders wound up his statement by laying down his terms: the Stock Exchange?s deadline extension notwithstanding, he would expect settlement in full on all short stock by 3 P.M. the next day?Thursday?at $150 a share; thereafter his price would be $250.

To set high goals, to have almost unattainable aspirations, to imbue people with the belief that they can be achieved?these are as important as the balance sheet, perhaps more

A considerable percentage of these respondents [to a question about their ability to mix cocktails] are in the somewhat category on ability to mix cocktails.? Evidently, they do not have much confidence in their cocktail-mixing

In the stock market, however, as de la Vega points out, the news [as such] is often of little value; in the short run, the mood of the investors is what counts.

Thanks to time differentials and good telephone service, the world money market, unlike stock exchanges, race tracks, and gambling casinos, practically never closes. London opens an hour after the Continent (or did until February 1968, when Britain adopted Continental time), New York five (now six) hours after that, San Francisco three hours after that, and then Tokyo gets under way about the time San Francisco closes. Only a need for sleep or a lack of money need halt the operations of a really hopelessly addicted plunger anywhere.

Various magazine articles have predicted nothing less than the disappearance of the book as it now exists, and pictured the library of the future as a sort of monster computer capable of storing and retrieving the contents of books electronically and xerographically.

A luncheon guest at the Bank of France is generally told apologetically, In the tradition of the bank, we serve only simple fare, but what follows is a repast during which the constant discussion of vintages makes any discussion of banking awkward, if not impossible, and at which the tradition of simplicity is honored, apparently, by the serving of only one wine before the cognac.

In truth, an important issue was at stake, and pitfalls awaited the judge who heard the case, no matter which way he decided. On one side was the danger that discoveries made in the course of corporate research might become unprotectable?a situation that would eventually lead to the drying up of private research funds. On the other side was the danger that thousands of scientists might, through their very ability and ingenuity, find themselves permanently locked in a deplorable, and possibly unconstitutional, kind of intellectual servitude?they would be barred from changing jobs because they knew too much.

The button waiting to be pushed, the whir of action, the neat reproduction dropping into the tray?all this adds up to a heady experience, and the neophyte operator of a copier feels an impulse to copy all the papers in his pockets. And once one has used a copier, one tends to be hooked.

We may see another speculative buildup followed by another crash, and so on until God makes people less greedy.

Afterward, Hayes settled down in an armchair to read for a while. In banking circles, he is thought of as a scholarly, intellectual type, and, indeed, he is scholarly and intellectual in comparison with most bankers; even so, his extra-banking reading tends to be not constant and all-embracing, as his wife?s is, but sporadic, capricious, and intensive?everything about Napoleon for a while, perhaps, then a dry period, then a binge on, say, the Civil War. Just then, he was concentrating on the island of Corfu, where he and Mrs. Hayes were planning to spend some time. But before he had got very far into his latest Corfu book he was called to the telephone. The call was from the bank. There were new developments, which Coombs thought President Hayes ought to be kept abreast of.

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American Writer, Author of bestselling book "Business Adventures", Contributor to New Yorker Magazine