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Mercury Rx Book REview - Blood on the Street
by Kaye Shinker

Blood on the Street, by Charles Gasparino
Review by Kaye Shinker

Since Mercury is retrograde I thought it might be appropriate to review a book I've just reread.

In The Textbook for Financial Astrology Book 1,  I challenge the student to think of things to do while Mercury is retrograde. I suggest doing things that start with the prefix "re".

Review is on the list. So let's read a book review while we work our way through these three weeks of "re".

My Toastmaster’s club has a book exchange every few months. The objective is to persuade another member to take home your book. I searched my book shelves to see which one of my precious volumes I was willing to trade. I contemplated   Blood on the Street, by Charles Gasparino.  I reread the jacket, skimmed the introduction and epilogue. My club would like this book. Next, I paged through it looking for an enticing quote that I could read aloud to the group. I became immersed in rereading one page after another.

It was like reading today’s Wall Street Journal only a different cast of characters. Every one of the same brokerage firms making headlines today were involved in the Dot. Com bubble of the late ‘90’s. Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, Citigroup, all took part in various improprieties involving their investment brokers and bankers.

I began to understand the past twenty years of games these characters played with the savings of the American public. The book recounts the details of how the investment banking divisions of large Wall Street brokerages influenced their analysts to issue positive stock ratings on companies that kicked back to the brokerage’s investment banking business. It was clear how they hyped certain stocks that were basically worthless. They recommended certain stocks to their brokers who then sold them to a public that was willing to get rich quick.

When the bubble burst the firms paid hefty fines as did some of the individual analysts. Evidently the fines had little effect. These same firms are involved in the current mess of credit default swaps as well as derivatives. These genuises of Wall Street are back into the Wall Street Journal's headlines.

Finally I found a few pages I had highlighted the first time I read the book. Page 300 had a great paragraph. My club would love the quote.

While Goldman didn’t have a name-brand analyst, the firm’s cut-throat business practices had made it just as successful as Morgan at snaring technology banking deals during the bubble. The last thing Goldman needed was to be singled out for its research conflicts, while Morgan received a pass. CEO Hank Paulson soon tried to convince Dick Grasso to make sure the language in Goldman’s final settlement agreement omitted the word “fraudulent” to describe its research practices. But Grasso was no fan of Paulson, whom he regarded as a “snake” for his effort to infuse more computerized trading at the the exchange at the expense of Grasso’s cherished specialist trading system. “Hank, you better talk to Eliot.” Grasso said. Later Grasso would remark that Paulson ”couldn’t have cared less how much he paid in a fine, just what the documents said.”

The book gives you a history for the current cast of Wall Street characters. It is an account of greed, arrogance, and corruption and includes the incompetence of government regulators to halt the fleecing on the investors. Except for the names of the players I felt like I was reading today’s edition of the Wall Street Journal.

I've pre-ordered Charles Gasparino's next book from Amazon.

Kaye Shinker


Kaye Shinker offers personal consultations based upon your natal horoscope. Kaye's analysis of an individual's chart is focused on the financial implications of the planets in their signs and houses in YOUR chart.   The reading is meant to give you ideas of ways to best use your time and money for your benefit and can help you define your style of trading or investing.  Click here for a professional astrological consultation by Kaye Shinker.

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