Higher Standards is the Marine Corps Way to Win on Wall Street


Despite a recession and increased government regulation, the "profit at all costs" philosophy is still a priority for some businesses, especially Wall Street. Ken Marlin, former Marine commander turned banker, was sick of this philosophy and built his own investment bank inspired by his military experience. "The Marines Way to Win on Wall Street" is the story of the values that all leaders need if they want to transform their work culture just like him.

Higher Standards is the Marine Corps Way to Win on Wall Street

If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Corporate scandals, an economic recession, lawsuits and outright stealing of the public’s money predictably have soured the relationship between the American public and big business. To prevent future fraud, the government unleashed an army of regulatory watchdogs and created laws designed to keep business in check. While this added more surveillance, it can’t guarantee compliance.

What better environment for a Marine to enter?

The Marine Corps Way to Win on Wall Street: 11 Key Principles from Battlefield to Boardroom is a book that takes a look at business from the point of view of an ex-marine Marine turned Wall Street insider.

What is The Marine Corps Way to Win on Wall Street About?

Ken Marlin experienced a “value shock” when he transitioned into the financial services industry after the military. Executives procrastinated, ignored or even sabotaged their client’s interests. For Marlin, the defining moment happened in the midst of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He worked in a business that was near the devastation, but his former employer was more concerned about the potential profit from a cancelled meeting.

Enough was enough. He started his own investment bank and never looked back.

Guided by values he learned from the military, Marlin was able to create that bank and advisory firm. In his new role, Marlin’s academic training, corporate banking experience and decade of military service found a good fit. Wall Street was entering a difficult and chaotic period and needed a person who could keep a clear head during mergers, acquisitions, selling a business and more.The wisdom gained from those experiences became the stories and lessons in his book, The Marine Corps Way to Win on Wall Street.

Leaders, Marlin argues, have to change the values that drive business culture for their long-term survival. In particular, a profitable and sustainable business must build a strong competitive base with preparation, trust and strategic discipline. Without this base, businesses won’t have the capacity or clients to successfully compete. It is Marlin’s hope that business leaders can adopt the same values that led to the Marines’ continued success.

Marlin is the founder and managing partner of Marlin and Associates, a boutique investment bank and advisory firm. His goal with the company was to create a business that exemplified the values he admired in the military. He served for 10 years in the Marines as a captain and infantry commander.

What Was Best About The Marine Corps Way to Win on Wall Street?

The Marine Corps Way to Win on Wall Street deserves credit for its optimistic view that profit focused culture can be fixed from the inside out. In true Marines style, Marlin attempts to fix this toxic work culture in a simple way. He then reinforces these principles with engaging military stories and his own experience with clients. This combination of principles, stories and insight can be very helpful when examining leadership as it exists in today’s complex business world.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

If you are not familiar with terms like “valuation” and “bulge bracket”, The Marine Cops Way to Win on Wall Street may be a little too technical. For those who are familiar with these financial terms, the book offers numerous stories that exemplify — or, in some cases, don’t — great financial stewardship under pressure. For those who aren’t savvy in the financial industry, the book still offers engaging stories and principles for leaders of all types to follow.

Why Read The Marine Corps Way to Win on Wall Street?

The Marine Corps Way to Win on Wall Street is an energetic call-to-action for a specific audience — those who work in the financial services industry or who deal with finances in their businesses. But the book has applications for leadership in all businesses. Marlin writes from his experiences in the financial services industry with a goal of  improving accountability and vision within it. The applications of his work, a principled leadership with a focus on a strategic and long-term competitive vision, can be extended to all business. This book shows why having such a strategy is important for long-term profitability.

Get discounts and special offers on new and classic business books with an Audible Premium Plus membership. Learn more and sign up for an account today.

Charles Franklin Charles Franklin is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He has a background as a professional reviewer, and is also a content provider and customer relations professional.