August Jefferies CEO Advice: Which title matters

Richard Handler, CEO of Jeffries, isn’t going into the publishing industry any time soon, but he still managed to give a valuable Wall Street lesson to his bankers in the form of a cute summer reading list. Remember those reading lists we had to get through each summer? Handler imagined a reading list for adults, namely the people in his company who want to excel, who need to succeed, and who always want to do their very best.

What did he say?

“In keeping with our strong desire to maintain maximum focus and momentum in August and into our fourth quarter, we came up with a way to make everyone’s life a little easier. When at the beach or in the mountains on vacation, it is always fun to bring along a few good books to help relax, unwind, and stretch the mind. With the goal of saving everyone some time, we have included our list of books we would like everyone to take with them on vacation. The good news is you need only read the titles and merely imagine the hundreds of pages that could fill each volume:

1. It Really Is That Easy: Why people who surround themselves with the best and brightest and encourage everyone to speak the truth always win.
2. Misguided Brand Envy: Why bad things happen to investment banks who covet the business models, success or compensation levels at competing investment banks.
3. Caught: The non-fiction account of what happens EVERY time someone on Wall Street cuts a corner.
4. It’s Personal: An account of the Wall Street professionals who made the leap from transacting with counterparties to partnering with people they truly care about, and why their business and happiness levels grew exponentially.
5. Hubris in the Financial Markets: The certain death of firms that were once great, and the certain destruction of value and careers.
6. 10-Q Reading for Dummies: A simpleton’s guide to looking at long positions and short positions of the same asset class when they are both listed on the same page.
7. Nothing Worthwhile Comes Easy: Why it takes decades to build a quality full service global investment banking firm, and the virtue of thinking and acting long-term.
8. The Perfect Size to Fail: Why it is good for society if an entire organization is responsible for staying in business versus complacently expecting to be saved by taxpayers or the government.
9. Nobody is Immune: Why even good companies make mistakes and what each of us must do to improve going forward.
10. Only the Third Inning: Why there is so much work yet to be done at Jefferies and why nobody should be satisfied or complacent.
Please stay focused in August on building Jefferies and enjoy any time away you may be taking”

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