Mike Bloomberg | Joyce Purnick

Summary of: Mike Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics
By: Joyce Purnick


Delve into the intriguing life of Michael Bloomberg in this summary of Joyce Purnick’s ‘Mike Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics’. Uncover how this middle-class, nerdy kid from Boston gradually rose to power to become mayor of New York City. Get insights into Bloomberg’s entrepreneurial endeavors and learn about his secret ingredient to success: adaptability. Explore the key decisions and relentless determination that helped him build his fortune and develop his unique brand of philanthropy.

Michael Bloomberg’s Journey to Success

Michael Bloomberg grew up in a middle-class Jewish family and was known for being a nerdy and headstrong kid. After his father’s death, he became more focused on his studies and eventually graduated with an engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University. He then pursued an MBA from Harvard Business School and joined Salomon Brothers, a bond trading firm, where he quickly rose through the ranks. However, after 13 years, he was demoted to the technical support department due to office politics. Bloomberg turned this setback into an opportunity and developed the prototype for the future Bloomberg business terminal while still at Salomon. He later left the firm when it was bought out by Phibro Corporation but received a substantial payout. Bloomberg’s journey showcases how perseverance and innovation can lead to success.

Bloomberg’s Revolutionary Machines

When Mike Bloomberg founded Innovative Market Systems (now Bloomberg L.P.), he introduced smart PC-based terminals that disrupted the electronic trading industry. Dubbed “Bloombergs,” these machines democratized financial data and created an elite brand that leased for less than $1,000 a month. By 2009, the company had over 280,000 worldwide subscribers paying $1,590 a month on average. Bloomberg integrated bond and stock data, news, technical support, trading, and investment analytics on his terminals, which proved invaluable to traders during the volatility of bonds in the face of free-floating interest rates. By leasing the machines as a complete package to clients, the successful firm created a revolutionary trading sensation that linked computer technology and trading. As the company expanded, Bloomberg spawned other successful ventures such as Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Radio, Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg Personal, and Bloomberg Markets. With his net worth estimated at $1.3 billion by Forbes in 1997, this massive achievement in business made Bloomberg contemplate a career change into politics.

Bloomberg’s Unlikely Rise

Despite his lack of political experience and unconventional personality, Michael Bloomberg, a wealthy outsider, became the Republican candidate for mayor of New York City. Though facing challenges due to his divorce, inexperience, and lack of name recognition, Bloomberg employed his “I-am-all-you-need philosophy,” philanthropic donations, and business acumen to propel him to victory over Democratic opponent Mark Green. Bloomberg’s success is a testament to his belief that a business executive could help rebuild the troubled metropolis, despite its Democratic leaning, and his willingness to invest $74 million in his campaign.

Bloomberg – A Pragmatist in the Making

When Michael Bloomberg became the Mayor of New York, he was quick to revitalize the public health system, renovate neighborhoods, and improve police responsiveness. His transparency policies garnered attention, but his property tax increase proved costly. Despite the disapproval of 46% of New Yorkers, he remained loyal to his department heads and neglected lobbyists. Bloomberg threw his hat into the Olympic bid in an effort that eventually failed, leading him to direct his attention towards challenging tasks such as eco-friendliness and school reform. The possibility of a presidential bid surfaced, but Bloomberg, who had transitioned from being a Democrat to a Republican and then to an independent, lost out to Obama’s surprise victory and McCain’s appeal to independent votes.

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