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Capital Instincts: Life as an Entrepreneur, Financier, and Athlete


For over three decades, Thomas W. Weisel has been one of the leading figures of the financial scene that blossomed along with Silicon Valley, becoming an integral part of its phenomenal success. Many pioneers have contributed to the changing nature of U.S. business, but only a few have emerged as real leaders in American entrepreneurialism. Thom Weisel is one of those leaders.

His passions extend beyond business. Deeply competitive, he remained a top athlete well into his fifties, helped revive U.S. Olympic skiing and U.S. cycling, and created the world-class cycling team (led by his good friend Lance Armstrong) that has won the famed Tour de France four times in a row-and counting. He's also a renowned art collector and has contributed significantly to the world of politics, not just with money but with his classic blend of personal involvement and energy.

In Capital Instincts: Life As an Entrepreneur, Financier, and Athlete, you'll follow Thom Weisel from his youth as an extraordinarily talented athlete from Milwaukee, to his present position as one of the most influential investment bankers of our time. He rejected the New York financial scene in 1969 to join the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley, taking public such companies as Amgen, Micron Technology, Siebel Systems, and Yahoo! He may be one of the last of a generation of influential financial entrepreneurs in a world now dominated by giant conglomerates.

A controversial figure, Weisel took over control of Montgomery Securities in a power struggle that solidified his reputation as a no-holds-barred businessman decades ago. Through accounts from colleagues, competitors, and Weisel himself, you'll learn how he built Montgomery to a position of prominence, selling the firm to NationsBank in 1998 for $1.3 billion-probably the biggest mistake of his career.

In 1998, Weisel walked out of NationsBank-now called Bank of America after its acquisition of the San Francisco bank-after a dispute over control. He took key partners and hundreds of millions of dollars with him to start over again at the age of 58. His new company, Thomas Weisel Partners, reached nearly half a billion dollars in revenues in two years, one of the fastest growing companies in history. The firm was then battered by recession, the death of the dot-com industry, and an industry wracked by scandal. But Weisel's rapid restructuring of his firm, told even as it happens, is a powerful lesson in business crisis management.

A mix of intellectual might, passion, and powerful egos, Capital Instincts distills Thomas Weisel's approach to success throughout his life. Weisel himself adds commentaries on the U.S. economy, the future of the stock market, and the current crisis in the industry. Capital Instincts is an extraordinary tale of life, business, and sports from one of the most impressive leaders of our age.

About the Author

RICHARD L. BRANDT is one of the few journalists who has gained Weisel's trust, and has contacts deep within the worlds of finance and technology. A veteran journalist with over twenty years' experience, Brandt was formerly Editor-in-Chief of Upside magazine. Prior to joining Upside, Brandt was a senior reporter for BusinessWeek for fourteen years.

THOMAS WEISEL has led his most recent firm, Thomas Weisel Partners (TWP), to the top of the investment banking world. His negotiation tactics, strong stomach for risk, and ability to ferret out influential investment trends are legendary. Weisel has expanded the firm into a multifaceted merchant bank that, in only four years of existence, has orchestrated $135 billion worth of public and private stock offerings and mergers, invests in private companies with two funds totaling $1.6 billion, manages over $5 billion worth of assets for private clients, and acts as a prime broker for many of the world's largest financial institutions.

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