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CFA Society New York Book Club:The Greatest Capitalist Who Ever Lived by Ralph Watson and Marc Wortman

Wednesday, June 12 | 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

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The CFA Society New York Book Club® meets every other month and is designed to be an informal group discussion on a multitude of investment related topics. The author is not present as this is simply a discussion on the book of the month to help members further digest the material and meet other like-minded CFA Society NY members. We will generally have 2-3 books planned in advance so members can pick and choose which ones they are interested in reading prior to the meeting. Overall, a way to build on our investment knowledge and meet other members.

Title: The Greatest Capitalist Who Ever Lived
Authors: Ralph Watson and Marc Wortman

A riveting, first-ever, sweeping biography of Thomas Watson, Jr. – more important to the history and development of the modern world than Vanderbilt, Morgan, Rockefeller, and Carnegie – who risked everything, personally and professionally, to reinvent IBM and launch the computer age that created the world we live in today.

Thomas Watson Jr. drove IBM to undertake the biggest gamble in business history with a revolution no other company of the age could dare– the creation in the 1960s of the IBM System/360, the world’s first fully integrated and compatible mainframe computer that laid the foundation for the information technology future.  Its success made IBM the most valuable company in America. Fortune magazine touted him as “the greatest capitalist who ever lived.” Time named him one of the “One Hundred People of the Century.”

Behind closed doors, Watson was a multifaceted, complicated man. As a young man, he was a failed student and playboy, an unlikely candidate for corporate titan. He pulled his life together as a courageous World War II pilot and took over IBM after his father’s death. He suffered from anxiety and depression so overwhelming that he spent days prostrate and locked in a bathroom at home while IBM faced crisis after crisis. And he carried out a family-shattering battle over the future of IBM with his brother Dick, who expected to follow him as CEO.

But despite his many demons, he laid the foundation for what eventually became the global information technology industry, which dominates today’s world. His story, and the industry he created, is equal to, if not more important than that of Rockefeller and Standard Oil, Vanderbilt and the railroads, and Morgan in finance.