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On Top of the World: Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick, & 9/11: A Story of Loss & Renewal
by Tom Barbash
ISBN 0060510293 / 9780060510299 / 0-06-051029-3
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In the attacks of September 11, 2001, 658 of New York brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald's 1,000 New York employees were killed. Immediately following the events, author Tom Barbash traveled to New York to profile his college friend, Cantor CEO Howard Lutnick, and chronicle the firm's struggles to stay in business and help its employees' families. The result, On Top of the World, is a compulsively readable book that is difficult to categorize. Unlike many books about the attacks, its story goes well beyond September 11 and into the following year, helping to better demonstrate the human impact of the catastrophe. And while the book ably describes the horror of the events, it is as much a business study as anything: can a company that trades $200 billion a day in commodities futures survive the sudden death of over 65 percent of its New York employees, and its New York headquarters? Cantor Fitzgerald does endure, but soon Lutnick becomes the center of a media firestorm as Connie Chung, Bill O'Reilly from Fox News, and others question the sincerity of Lutnick's public appearances and denounce his method of compensating the families of those lost. Barbash, a novelist by trade, portrays his friend's struggles sympathetically but also provides well-researched dimension to the other people involved, which helps deepen the human drama of the efforts on the part of all involved to put their lives and their company back together. --John Moe [via]