Richard Brandt – Capital Instincts. Life as a Entrepreneur, Financier and Athelete
An insider’s view of the investment banking world from someone who is actually shaping it
Powerful, controversial and determined, Thomas Weisel is known for his unwavering focus on winning the race, whether he is competing in a national cycling championship, sponsoring Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong or negotiating with business competitors. For twenty-seven years he ran one of the major investment banks on the West Coast, bringing public companies such as Applied Materials, Siebel Systems and Yahoo! and was instrumental in establishing San Francisco as an alternative financial center to Wall Street. In 1997 he sold his company to NationsBank, which later merged with Bank of America. Unhappy with his treatment after the merger, Weisel trumped Bank of America by negotiating a separation package that included $500 million in stock options and the ability to hire away crucial Bank of America management. Within two years, the investment bank he started, Thomas Weisel Partners, reached half a billion dollars in revenues and negotiated high-profile deals such as Yahoo!’s merger with Geocities. Power Investor weaves Weisel’s approach to success, his competitive nature and love of cycling into a fascinating inside account of the cutthroat world of investment banking.
Thomas Weisel (San Francisco, CA) is the founder, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Thomas Weisel Partners, a research-driven merchant bank exclusively focused on the growth sectors of the U.S. economy. He is founder and president of Tailwind Sports, which manages the U.S. Postal Service cycling team, and was an Olympic-class speed skater and the former chairman of the U.S. Ski Foundation. Richard Brandt (San Francisco, CA) has twenty years’ experience as a leading business journalist. He was a senior reporter for BusinessWeek for fourteen years and editor in chief of the technology business magazine Upside for four years.
San Francisco investment boutique Thomas Weisel Partners just offloaded another 100 employees (spurring more rumors the firm will be sold), but its 62-year-old founder is busy charging up other hills. Weisel, a renowned cyclist, has been promoting his new autobiography, Capital Instincts: Life as an Entrepreneur, Financier, and Athlete, and doling out the tome to clients. The book isn’t exactly flying off the shelves (Amazon rank: 9,136), but it’s packed with testosterone-charged tales of Weisel’s athletic, business, and art-collecting exploits–including his recent $40 million sale of abstract impressionist art. Chapter 1: “Never Underestimate Thom Weisel.” (Fortune Magazine, March 31,2003)
From the Inside Flap
For over three decades, Thomas W. Weisel has been one of the leading figures of the financial scene that blossomed along with Silicon Valley, becoming an integral part of its phenomenal success. Many pioneers have contributed to the changing nature of U.S. business, but only a few have emerged as real leaders in American entrepreneurialism. Thom Weisel is one of those leaders.
His passions extend beyond business. Deeply competitive, he remained a top athlete well into his fifties, helped revive U.S. Olympic skiing and U.S. cycling, and created the world-class cycling team (led by his good friend Lance Armstrong) that has won the famed Tour de France four times in a row-and counting. He’s also a renowned art collector and has contributed significantly to the world of politics, not just with money but with his classic blend of personal involvement and energy.
In Capital Instincts: Life As an Entrepreneur, Financier, and Athlete, you’ll follow Thom Weisel from his youth as an extraordinarily talented athlete from Milwaukee, to his present position as one of the most influential investment bankers of our time. He rejected the New York financial scene in 1969 to join the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley, taking public such companies as Amgen, Micron Technology, Siebel Systems, and Yahoo! He may be one of the last of a generation of influential financial entrepreneurs in a world now dominated by giant conglomerates.
A controversial figure, Weisel took over control of Montgomery Securities in a power struggle that solidified his reputation as a no-holds-barred businessman decades ago. Through accounts from colleagues, competitors, and Weisel himself, you’ll learn how he built Montgomery to a position of prominence, selling the firm to NationsBank in 1998 for $1.3 billion-probably the biggest mistake of his career.
In 1998, Weisel walked out of NationsBank-now called Bank of America after its acquisition of the San Francisco bank-after a dispute over control. He took key partners and hundreds of millions of dollars with him to start over again at the age of 58. His new company, Thomas Weisel Partners, reached nearly half a billion dollars in revenues in two years, one of the fastest growing companies in history. The firm was then battered by recession, the death of the dot-com industry, and an industry wracked by scandal. But Weisel’s rapid restructuring of his firm, told even as it happens, is a powerful lesson in business crisis management.
A mix of intellectual might, passion, and powerful egos, Capital Instincts distills Thomas Weisel’s approach to success throughout his life. Weisel himself adds commentaries on the U.S. economy, the future of the stock market, and the current crisis in the industry. Capital Instincts is an extraordinary tale of life, business, and sports from one of the most impressive leaders of our age.
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