Synopses & Reviews
The story of the Davis dynasty is, in many ways, the story of Wall Street over the last half century. John Rothchild's sweeping saga chronicles the changing face of Wall Street alongside the financial escapades of one of America's most successful, yet unheralded investing families.
Three generations of the Davis family portfolio-patriarch Shelby Cullom Davis, son Shelby, and grandsons Chris and Andrew-take you through the canyons of Wall Street as they consistently beat the market with a growth-at-a-reasonable price philosophy and a passion for investing.
Born into a middle-class family in Peoria, Illinois, Shelby Cullom Davis was more interested in history than finance. That all changed in 1947 when, at age thirty-eight, he left his job as a New York State Insurance Department bureaucrat and plunged into investing using $50,000 of his wife's money. In the late 1940s, as the Dow reeled at 180 and Wall Street ignored insurance stocks, Davis went with what he knew best and built a dynasty from a plain-vanilla portfolio of insurance stocks.
With proven strategies and a frugal spending philosophy, Davis amassed a fortune from the postwar bull market of the 1950s through the glorious market of the 1980s. He passed his experience on to future generations but left nearly $900 million in trust for conservative causes, forcing his family to continue the dynasty on their own merits.
Son Shelby Davis took on Wall Street during the go-go market of the 1960s. He started a small investment firm and took control of the fledgling New York Venture Fund, which beat the market twenty-two of the twenty-eight years he operated it. Navigating the inflationary market of the 1970s was tricky, but Shelby emerged unscathed. Grandsons Andrew and Chris steered the Davis dynasty through the 1990s and continue into a new century as they use the refined financial strategies of the Davis family to challenge Wall Street and manage Davis Convertible and Real Estate Funds.
Although markets may change, the tradition of financial expertise does not. The Davis dynasty, built on the belief of "compounding machines"-companies that could multiply your investment-and the idea that long-term investing lasts a lifetime, has passed through two lengthy bull markets, two savage and seven mild bear markets, one crash, and twenty-five corrections.
With The Davis Dynasty, John Rothchild presents the Davis family, their investment philosophy, and Wall Street within a historical and literary narrative that is informative, entertaining, and engaging. Take a once-in-a-lifetime journey through Wall Street with one of the most successful investing families in America and watch how a dynasty was built.
"I remember attending a company meeting with Shelby Cullom Davis when he was in his seventies. Even then it was obvious he was taking the best notes. This is really two books in one. It is the story of a rarity in the investment business: a family whose money management skills have evolved and been passed on from the patriarch to two succeeding generations. It is also a how-to book on common sense investing. As the dot.com phase passes into history, the book provides some useful lessons on how fortunes are built and then used for constructive purposes."--Byron R. Wien, Chief U.S. Investment Strategist, Morgan Stanley
"When John Rothchild combines history and biography with investing in one package, history illuminates the biography and investing, biography illuminates the history and investing, and investing illuminates the history and biography. This is a sparkling book on each level, but even more so as an adroitly mixed cocktail of all three."--Peter Bernstein, Author of THE POWER OF GOLD
"...Rothchild's book is a combination of entertaining biography and successful investment philosophy..." (Lloyd's List, 28 September, 2001)
"...well-researched, solidly written book..." (Institutional Investor, 1 October, 2001)
Praise for The Davis Dynasty
"Equally relevant to the uninitiated and to those of us who have many years' experience with the Davis dynasty, Rothchild's book takes a close look at the family's remarkable success and endurance. I know that many will find it interesting to learn how, even today, Davis endeavors remain focused on the long view, guided by the strong investment philosophy and business principles that Shelby himself lived by in one of the most important periods in commercial history."-M. R. Greenberg, Chairman and CEO, American International Group, Inc.
"This is really two books in one. It is the story of a rarity in the investment business: a family whose money management skills have evolved and been passed on from the patriarch to two succeeding generations. It is also a how-to book on commonsense investing. As the dot-com phase passes into history, this book provides some useful lessons on how fortunes are built and then used for constructive purpose."-Byron R. Wien, Chief U.S. Investment Strategist, Morgan Stanley
"This is an unusual biography, a rare gem that captures the history of one of Wall Street's greatest families. The Davis Dynasty offers unparalleled insight into the Davis family investment philosophy."-Barton M. Biggs, Chairman, Morgan Stanley Asset Management , Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
"When John Rothchild combines history and biography with investing in one package, history illuminates the biography and investing, biography illuminates the history and investing, and investing illuminates the history and biography. This is a sparkling book on each level, but even more so as an adroitly mixed cocktail of all three."-Peter L. Bernstein, author of The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession and Against the Gods
A half-century of Wall Street history as seen through the lives of its most illustrious family
This compelling new narrative from bestselling author John Rothchild tells the story of three generations of the legendary Davis family, who rank among the most successful investors in the history of the Street. With a novelist's wit and eye for telling detail, Rothchild chronicles the financial escapades of this eccentric, pioneering clan, providing a vivid portrait of fifty years of Wall Street history along the way. Rothchild shadows the Davis family's holdings through two lengthy bull markets, two savage and seven mild bear markets, one crash, and twenty-five corrections and, in the process, reveals the strategies behind the family's uncanny ability to consistently beat the markets.
The Davis Dynasty begins in 1947, the year Shelby Davis quit his job as a state bureaucrat and, armed with $50,000 of his wife's money, took the plunge into stock investing. By the time he died in 1994, he had multiplied his wife's original stake 8,000 times! The story continues with his son, Shelby, who established one of the most successful funds of the past thirty years. The final characters in this enthralling family saga are grandsons Chris and Andrew. Both surrendered to the Davis family passion for investing and both went on to earn reputations as investment luminaries in their own right.
John Rothchild (Miami Beach, FL) co-wrote the blockbusters One Up on Wall Street, Beating the Street, and Learn to Earn with Peter Lynch. He is the author of Survive and Profit in Ferocious Markets (Wiley: 0-471-34882-1), A Fool and His Money (Wiley: 0-471-25138-0), and Going for Broke. He has written for Harper's, Rolling Stone, Esquire, and other leading magazines and he has appeared on the Today Show, the Nightly Business Report, and CNBC.
About the Author
JOHN ROTHCHILD wrote, with Peter Lynch, the blockbusters One Up on Wall Street, Beating the Street, and Learn to Earn. Rothchild is the sole author of The Bear Book, A Fool and His Money, and Going for Broke. A former editor of the Washington Monthly and Fortune magazine, Rothchild has written for Harper's, Rolling Stone, Esquire, and other magazines. He has appeared on the Today show, the Nightly Business Report, and CNBC.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Davis Meets His Bankroll.
Chapter 2. From the Great Depression To the Hitler Crisis.
Chapter 3. Beyond the Rear-View Mirror.
Chapter 4. A Last Hurrah for Bonds.
Chapter 5. A Crib Course in Coverage.
Chapter 6. From Bureaucrat to Investor.
Chapter 7. The Bullish 1950s.
Chapter 8. Davis Shops Abroad.
Chapter 9. Wall Street a Go-Go.
Chapter 10. Shelby Gets Funded.
Chapter 11. The Inheritance Flap.
Chapter 12. Cool Trio Runs Hot Fund.
Chapter 13. The Worst Decline Since 1929.
Chapter 14. Davis on the Rebound.
Chapter 15. Shelby Buys Banks?Davis Buys Everything.
Chapter 16. The Grandsons Get in the Game.
Chapter 17. The Family Joins Forces.
Chapter 18. Chris Inherits Venture.
Chapter 19. Investing ? la Davis.