Tearing Down the Walls

Tearing Down the Walls

How Sandy Weill Fought His Way to the Top of the Financial World. . .and Then Nearly Lost It All

He is one of the world's most accomplished figures of modern finance. As chairman and chief executive officer of Citigroup, Sanford "Sandy" Weill has become an American legend, a banking visionary whose innovativeness, opportunism, and even fear drove him from the lowliest jobs on Wall Street to its most commanding heights. In this unprecedented biography, acclaimed Wall Street Journal reporter Monica Langley provides a compelling account of Weill's rise to power. What emerges is a portrait of a man who is as vital and as volatile as the market itself.
Tearing Down the Walls tells the riveting inside story of how a Jewish boy from Brooklyn's back alleys overcame incredible odds and deep-seated prejudices to transform the financial-services industry as we know it today.
Using nearly five hundred firsthand interviews with key players in Weill's life and career -- including Weill himself -- Langley brilliantly chronicles not only his success and scandals but also the shadows of his hidden self: his father's abandonment and his loving marriage; his tyrannical rages as well as his tearful regrets; his fierce sense of loyalty and his ruthless elimination of potential rivals. By highlighting in new and startling detail one man's life in a narrative as richly textured and compelling as a novel, Tearing Down the Walls provides the historical context of the dramatic changes not only in business but also in American society in the last half century.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 480 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743247269 | 
  • May 2004
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Crashing the Gates

At age twenty-two, when most young men are eagerly laying plans for their careers, Sandy Weill was facing failure. In one shattering night the future that he had thought would be his had utterly evaporated. His dreams of joining the family business were in ruins, his beloved mother was suddenly facing life alone, his classmates would soon be graduating without him, and the woman he desperately wanted to marry was being told to dump him. All because his father, Max Weill, went out for cigarettes one night and didn't come back.

For Sandy, the pain of failure was all the worse for how hard and long he had... see more

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