A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class

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Simon and Schuster, Nov 29, 1995 - Business & Economics - 464 pages
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Now with a new introduction describing the fallout of America’s consumer credit boom, 1994’s wildly acclaimed bestseller A Piece of the Action tells the story of how millions of middle class Americans went from being savers to borrowers and investors through the invention of credit cards, mutual funds, and IRAs—resulting in profound societal change.

Tracing the invention of products like credit cards, mutual funds, and individual retirement accounts, A Piece of the Action tells the stories of a handful of men who transformed the way Americans think about and deal with their money: men like Charles Merrill, the flamboyant founder of Merrill Lynch; Peter Lynch, the investing guru who managed the Fidelity Magellan Fund; and Charles Schwab, who transformed his eponymous company into the nation’s biggest discount broker. These innovations produced a genuine revolution—the democratization of money—in which the middle class became financial players.

Author Joe Nocera’s 2013 introduction describes where this revolution took those who embraced it, that is, practically all of us. We have gone into debt, made dicey investments, and lived through many bursting bubbles. We used the financial tools we now had at our disposal to act on bets and dares we didn’t yet understand. We bet on the Internet, borrowed on our homes, and compromised our retirements in pursuit of the American dream.

A Piece of the Action is an important piece of financial and social history, and Nocera’s 2013 critique of the uses of the revolution is a powerful warning and admonition to understand what is at stake before we act.

 

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A piece of the action: how the middle class joined the money class

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The business writer of "The Profit Motive" column for GQ magazine, Nocera presents a fascinating and comprehensive history of the evolution of the personal financial products accessible to most ... Read full review

Contents

The Money Revolution
9
Parti The Shape of the Wave
13
The Drop September 1958
15
The Man with the Golden Touch February 1966
34
Delusions and the Madness of Bankers November 1966
53
The Great Wall of Q February 1970
70
Here Come the Revolutionaries July 1970
89
The Luckiest Entrepreneur May 1975
106
Part III
210
Bulls and Bears
229
The Maestro of Magellan August 1982
231
Socks n Stocks November 1982
250
The Peoples Nest Egg April 1984
275
The Pleasure Palace in the Sky May 1984
297
The Bulls Last Stampede January 1987
325
This Is a War over Here October 1987
346

The Worlds Most Hated Bank August 1977
126
The Discreet Charms of the CMA September 1977
149
Part II
165
The Great Inflation July 1979
167
Please Dont Take It Away March 1981
187
Mr Regan Goes to Washington September 1981
207
Peter Lynchs Long Goodbye March 1990
366
The Triumph of Main Street August 1993
390
Acknowledgments
407
Selected Bibliography
449
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About the author (1995)

Joe Nocera is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. He was previously a business columnist for the Times and a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. He spent ten years at Fortune, where he rose to editorial director, and has written for numerous publications, including GQ, Esquire, and Newsweek. He has won three Gerald Loeb awards and three John Hancock awards for excellence in business journalism. His most recent book is the New York Times bestseller All the Devils Are Here, which he coauthored with Bethany McClean. He lives in New York.

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