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Greed and Glory on Wall Street: The Fall of the House of Lehman by Ken Auletta

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Steven Fenster’s nightmares came alive in the fall of 1983. In the capricious world of trading, the market suddenly turned bearish. Lehman’s profits began to shrivel, and analysts agreed: the trading engine, which had been driving Lehman’s profits, was stalling all over Wall Street. The dreary business outlook produced new converts to the belief that Lehman’s capital was inadequate. Among them was Roger Altman, who all that summer had been whispering to Glucksman that he was an ally in opposition to the sale of the firm. “I only came to the conclusion we were seriously undercapitalized during the budget process of October,” says Altman. “Because we had had five consecutive years of record growth and had been retaining 80 percent of earnings, ...

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