From Willard Straight to Wall Street: A Memoir

Thomas W Jones (Author)


In stark and compelling prose, Thomas W. Jones tells his story as a campus revolutionary who led an armed revolt at Cornell University in 1969 and then altered his course over the next fifty years to become a powerful leader in the financial industry including high-level positions at John Hancock, TIAA-CREF and Citigroup as Wall Street plunged into its darkest hour.

From Willard Straight to Wall Street provides a front row seat to the author's triumphs and struggles as he was twice investigated by the SEC--and emerged unscathed. His searing perspective as an African American navigating a world dominated by whites reveals a father, a husband, a trusted colleague, a Cornellian, and a business leader who confronts life with an unwavering resolve that defies clich and offers a unique perspective on the issues of race in America today.

The book begins on the steps of Willard Straight Hall where Jones and his classmates staged an occupation for two days that demanded a black studies curriculum at Cornell. The Straight Takeover resulted in the resignation of Cornell President James Perkins with whom Jones reconciled years later.

Jones witnessed the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11 from his office at ground zero and then observed first-hand the wave of scandals that swept the banking industry over the next decade.

From Willard Straight to Wall Street reveals one of the most interesting American stories of the last fifty years.

--Clifton R. Wharton, Jr., Chairman and CEO, TIAA-CREF, 1987--1993

Product Details

$28.95  $26.63
Cornell University Press
Publish Date
April 15, 2019
9.3 X 0.9 X 9.3 inches | 1.1 pounds
BISAC Categories:

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Thomas W. Jones is founder and senior partner of venture capital investment firm TWJ Capital. He previously served as Chief Executive Officer of Global Investment Management at Citigroup; Vice Chairman, President, and Chief Operating Officer at TIAA-CREF; and Senior Vice-President and Treasurer at John Hancock Insurance Company. Jones received Masters degrees from Cornell University and Boston University, and holds honorary doctoral degrees from Howard University, Pepperdine University, and College of New Rochelle.


"A marvelous book--a compelling must read story for all. For young black and minority youth who do not know what is possible and what can be achieved. For whites who need to understand and recognize the multi-talented contributions that a black man has accomplished. And above all, for those who need to believe in the power of setting and living with goals of excellence in all they do. This book is informative and honest."

--Clifton R. Wharton, Jr., Chairman and CEO, TIAA-CREF, 1987--1993

"This story will put to rest any notion that Wall Street is a fair, squeaky clean, meritocracy-based system that is team oriented and color blind. Tom rose above it and triumphed, in part due to his commitment to excellence. A great read by a wonderful man."

--Joseph Deane, Former Executive Vice President, PIMCO

"Tom Jones presents a unique insiders perspective on the causes of Citigroup's collapse. As head of Asset Management, he helped to make it a powerful profit center while gaining the respect of all who worked for and with him. This story is a must read."

--Hersh Cohen, Co-CIO, ClearBridge Investments

"This is the long-awaited and deeply revealing autobiography of Tom Jones, one of the leaders of the armed takeover of a Cornell University building by black students in 1969, later a successful Wall Street executive for many decades. Jones tells his quintessentially American story with passion and conviction, and with a mixture of pride and regret. For a country still grappling with racial issues fifty years later, this is a seminal account of a life of dramatic action and religiously inspired thought."

--Hunter R. Rawlings III, Cornell University