Summary of John Brooks Business Adventures

Are you looking for books about business stories? If yes, then you have arrived at the right place.

In this post, I am going to give you a detailed summary of Business Adventures by John Brooks.

So, without further due, let’s get started.

Chapter 1: The Fluctuation


It is about the stock market fluctuation during 1962.

It showed how risky trading and investment in the stock market is and how due to globalization no financial market is safe. Besides, I realized how advanced the tech has upgraded.

Interesting Insights:

  1. The selling pressure had reached at such a frantic rate that ticket tape couldn’t keep up with the latest prices. When the crisis ended, Memorial Day was declared a holiday for clean-up.
  2. The cause of the crash was unknown with mutual funds acting as a hero – a price stabilizing force.

Chapter 2: The Fate of Edsel


Why did Ford Motors most ambitious and costly project fail?

Interesting Insights:

  1. Financial buffs estimated a $200Mn loss but it hardly left a dent in Ford’s financials. They recovered quickly.
  2. Car dealers were bankrupt.
  3. Flashy marketing.

Chapter 3: The Federal Income Tax


A detailed narrative about the Fed IT – history, complexity, issues, and loopholes.

Interesting Insights:

  • Its base comes from war financing.
  • British tax was the first modern tax.
  • IRS is the reason why income tax is taken seriously in America. It played a vital role in improving collection numbers.
  • The special provision, which basically is a loophole, led to more loopholes, which led to a big gap between actual law and what’s been practiced.

Chapter 4: A reasonable amount of time


It’s about an insider trading lawsuit against Texas Sulphur Company.

Interesting plot:

  1. It addressed some interesting problems and arguments against insider trading laws.



It’s about how Haloid Xerox grew to become a big and dominant Xerox Corporation.­

Interesting Insights:

  1. When new products failed, Xerox was in talks for acquisition with IBM, but a few people showed their grit and entrepreneurial spirit and turned things around.
  2. Copywrite law revised.
  3. Publishing industry disrupted.

Chapter 6: Making Customers Whole


A financial fraud that got clients into trouble and how the stock exchange Board of Directors handled the crisis.

Interesting Insights:

  1. America declared National Emergency that had nothing to do with the fraud. (No offence)
  2. The Stock Exchange bailed the company out using funds from its treasury.

Chapters 7: Impacted philosophers


How communication problems in a company led to an antitrust scandal?

Interesting Insights:

  1. The law violated was Sherman Act 1890.
  2. Company involved are GE and Westinghouse Electric.
  3. Winking culture threatened the free enterprise system.

Chapter 8: The Last Great Corner


Clarence Saunders V/S Bear Cartel

Interesting Insights:

  1. Saunders’s company became a base of how a supermarket operates.
  2. I felt Saunders could have won if not for the SEC.

Chapter 9: Second Sort of Life


It’s about David Lilienthal, a career transition story from a government agent to an entrepreneur.

Interesting Insights:

  1. He gave the India/Pakistan Indus river treaty solution, which was later discarded.
  2. Showed the secret behind the wealth of corporate executives.
  3. He is the author of the book Big Businesses which is about anti-trust laws and why he believes bigness is essential for national security.

Chapter 10: Stockholder Season


The author narrates his experience of attending the AGM of AT&T, GE, and Pfizer.

Interesting Insights:

  1. Never thought shareholders misbehaved to this extent.
  2. HBR released a book about professional stockholders and how to deal with them.

Chapter 11: One Free Bite


What happens when you are sued by your former company for intending to violate its trade secrets when you accept a job at its rival company. 

Interesting part:

For Goodrich to win, it had to prove three things:

  • It had trade secrets,
  • And it’s archival has it and,
  • It would suffer irreparable injury if the injunction was not granted.

Controversial points raised:

  • Should an employee be formally restricted from revealing trade secrets when they are not committed to doing it and when it’s not clear that they intend to?
  • Should they be prevented to take a job simply because the job presents them with a unique temptation to break the law?

Chapter 12: In Defence of Sterling


It’s about the role Federal Reserve and major central banks played to defend GBP and safeguard the global financial stability.

Interesting Insights:

  • London was an undisputed monarch in world trade during WW1, with the Pound as a vehicle currency for international trades.
  • Gold Standard benefitted Britain more than the US and other developed and developing countries.
  • With IMF a little slow to tackling a monetary crisis, the Fed Reserve along with other leading central banks developed a ‘swap network’. The purpose was to provide instant access to credit to defend their currencies from bear cartels.


This is it. These are the twelve classic tales from the world of Wall Street narrated in this book.  I hope this article gave you a brief insight into what Business Adventures is about. But just in case if you need a book review, you can click here.

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See you later, Cheers!!

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