You Can’t Predict a Hero
Joseph J. Grano, Jr. with Mark Levine

John Wiley & Sons
Hardcover/240 pages
ISBN: 0-470411678
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". . .a book everyone should read and take to heart. . ."

You Can’t Predict a Hero: It isn’t bragging when it’s true.

To say that Joseph Grano has led an interesting life is like saying the Grand Canyon is a big ditch.

As a patriot, Grano served his country in the Army Special Forces and took a rag tag, demoralized group of soldiers and turned them into an elite team. As an entrepreneur, Grano started at the bottom and worked his way up with nothing more than the strength of his desire after suffering devastating and near fatal injuries during the Vietnam War. It was that same determination that took him from the bottom rung of the corporate ladder on Wall Street at Merrill Lynch to the top as CEO of Paine Webber. In all kinds of circumstances, and at the time of our nation’s greatest tragedy on September 11, 2001, Grano proved that he is willing to buck the system to do what needs to be done.

You Can’t Predict a Hero is aptly titled, but in the case of Joseph J. Grano, Junior it’s obvious that anyone who watched his career could have predicted this hero.

What impresses the reader most about Grano’s tale isn’t the extraordinary life he has led or the obstacles he has overcome with nothing more than grit and determination, but the simple, matter-of-fact style in which this book is written. Not once does Grano blame fate, circumstances or others for the obstacles in his life. Instead he finds solutions to whatever situation in which he finds himself.

The book contains a wealth of information about how Wall Street firms like Merrill Lynch and Paine Webber work and what they do, which is a bit daunting to someone outside the financial community, but Grano breaks things down into understandable bits as much as possible. However, it isn’t facts and figures about the financial community and stock brokerage that makes You Can’t Predict a Hero fascinating. His common sense solutions to problems that have become tangled and unintelligible gives Grano’s story something extra. From the recent bailouts of several Wall Street firms, to the spectacular bursting of the housing bubble, Grano offers solutions that make sense. Why wasn’t Grano on the presidential ticket in 2008? Would he be willing to run in 2012?


You Can’t Predict a Hero is a book everyone should read and take to heart for its honest, forthright, solution-based suggestions for a more stable and productive future.


Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell