Cover image for Changing the rules : adventures of a Wall Street maverick
Changing the rules : adventures of a Wall Street maverick
Siebert, Muriel.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Free Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
232 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HG4928.5 .S58 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



When Mickie Siebert arrived in New York in the mid-1950s, she had $500 in her wallet and drove a used Studebaker. Almost fifty years later she is known as the "First Woman of Finance," the only woman to head a publicly traded national brokerage firm. Pithy, vastly entertaining, and full of behind-the-scenes anecdotes, Changing the Rules reveals how Siebert forged her phenomenal success in the chaotic and cutthroat world of Wall Street. Three four-letter words are behind Siebert's career success: One is work -- she learned everything there was to know about a company before recommending its stock. The second is luck -- as an analyst in training, she had the good fortune to follow a fledgling industry that nobody else wanted. (The "dog" industry was airlines.) The third word is risk -- she knew how to assess liability and make a decision. Siebert recounts the resistance of the good gray Stock Exchange when she dared to infiltrate the boys' club, threatening to have a Port-O-San delivered to the NYSE luncheon club if they didn't add a women's bathroom. She reveals the backstage stories about saving Lockheed and selling Conrail (at the time, the largest stock offering in Wall Street history), as well as the changes on the Street that led to May Day, 1975, when she was first in line as a discount broker (and considered a pariah by industry standards). She tells of her memorable encounters with such legendary figures as Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, the World War I flying ace who ran Eastern Airlines, and Robert Brimberg, the iconoclastic "Scarsdale Fats" whose investing acumen was the envy of the Street. Writing with equal candor about the politics of finance and the finance of politics, Siebert recalls her five years as Superintendent of Banking for New York State -- when she helped to prevent a national fiscal crisis during the Iran hostage situation -- and her experiences as a pro-choice Republican senatorial candidate. Siebert's reputation for rocking the boat is legendary, and Changing the Rules is both a fascinating biography of a true pioneer, and a valuable strategic and informational tool for anyone who deals with or dabbles in the money game.

Author Notes

Muriel Siebert is founder and president of the discount brokerage that bears her name, established in 1967
Aimee Lee Ball has coauthored several nonfiction books

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Siebert's autobiography follows her career, beginning in 1954 with her arrival on Wall Street, and chronicles the various experiences that led to her becoming the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and the only woman to head a publicly traded national brokerage firm. We learn about the enormous institutional roadblocks she faced as she struggled to earn recognition in a male-dominated world highly resistant to women. In an informal and engaging style, Siebert and her coauthor present colorful stories of the clients and fellow employees Siebert encountered on the bumpy road to success. An image of her emerges from the pithy subtitles of the chapters, which include "You Make Money by Taking a Stand and Being Right," "Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way," and "Giving Back Is More Than an Obligation, It's a Privilege." Siebert is a true role model not only for young women but for all who seek success in the world of finance. --Mary Whaley

Publisher's Weekly Review

Although Siebert isn't a household name, she's made waves in financial and political worlds, from the New York Stock Exchange to the Senate. Siebert's gritty determination shines throughout this motivating memoir sprinkled with alluring anecdotes and tidbits. The author's experiences as the first woman to hold a seat on the NYSE and as the superintendent of banking for New York State have taught her much about working hard and taking advantage of lucky breaks, but lest readers think she's a heartless, money-hungry magnate, she reminds them, "I sleep well at night, knowing that I've been competitive but honest, tenacious but scrupulous, tough but fair." This slim volume contains more hard information about Wall Street than many popular books on financial planning for women, even if the authors, perhaps concerned about the average reader's ability to digest comments on airline stocks and financial laws, pepper many of the pages with simplistic success maxims (e.g., "Know a lot about a little" and "You've got to know the right questions to produce the right answers") in boldface type. Published at a time when Wall Street's reputation is less than stellar, this account by Siebert, who's donated substantial time and money to charitable, educational and women's programs, adds some badly needed luster to the stock exchange's tarnished image. Agent, Mel Berger. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

1 Street People: Know a lot about a littlep. 1
2 The Lady Takes a Seat: A risk-reward ratio is important, but so is an aggravation-satisfaction ratiop. 28
3 Saving Lockheed: You make money by taking a stand and being rightp. 54
4 I Can Get it for You Discount: Any significant change in business is an opportunity for new businessp. 62
5 Superintendent of Baking: A woman can be an S.O.B.p. 74
6 A Guest at the Grand Old Party: Lead, follow or get the hell out of the wayp. 128
7 Rate War is Hell: Make the customer wholep. 144
8 Stand by to Crash: If the client goes under, you're the senior partnerp. 167
9 Billionaire for a Day: If you're not willing to accept the worst that can happen, don't do itp. 181
10 Leaps and Bounds: Giving back is more than an obligation, it's a privilegep. 199
Afterword: Must Greed Be the Creed?p. 219
Acknowledgmentsp. 223
Indexp. 224