Book Review: Dark Genius of Wall Street: The Misunderstood Life of Jay Gould

Ian Cassel Blog, Book Reviews 1 Comment

Dark Genius of Wall Street (Buy Here)

This book is a fantastic read about one of the 19th century’s most misunderstood business moguls, Jay Gould (1836-1892).  Vanderbilt whom hated Gould due to losing to him on several occasions to acquire railroads said, “Gould was the smartest man in the United States”.   When Jay Gould died at the age of 56 in 1892, his estate was worth an estimated $125 million.

Jay Gould was born into a family with nothing, and at the age of 15 set out on his own to make his mark.  By the age of 21 he already made his first million ($28 million in todays dollars), and by the age of 30 was already worth $20 million.  Gould was a trader, investor, entrepreneur whose business acumen was unparalleled during his career.  Gould, known for his bear raids on stocks, was one of the most successful traders of his era.  He would most infamously be known for his cornering of the gold market in 1869 that left thousands of traders-investors and several large banks bankrupt.

The gold corner along with several other manipulations left Gould one of the most hated and feared men on Wall Street for decades to come (well after his death).  During his era, every major media outlet would paint Gould to be a serpent from hell, but while also acknowledging Gould’s business acumen as second to none.

Gould enjoyed being viewed as the villain and used this to his advantage on many occasions.  He even chose to give to charities anonymously so as to keep his hated public persona. The mere mention of his name would move markets in either direction.  When he died of Tuberculosis in 1892, Gould controlled roughly 20% of the railroads in the United States and controlled the Western Union (communication system of its day).  His mantra was to seek controlling interests in industries that the public could not go without.

Rating: READ IT!

Comments 1

  1. Even the most evil, vile people from history can teach us something incredibly useful today – all we have to do is seek out the information and know how to apply it to today’s society.

    Thanks for sharing.

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