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Monkey Business

Swinging Through the Wall Street Jungle

John Rolfe & Peter Troob

An incredible book in which two Associates recount their hundred-hour weeks at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ, acquired by Credit Suisse in 2000) as investment bankers. DLJ has faded into its glorious past as a once money-making machine, a 24/7 running treadmill coordinated by a massive hierarchical troop of what the two authors describe as pitiful self-absorbed monkeys. DLJ might have faded away, but its shadow in the book is bloody vivid, and brutally visible.

I have never thought about investment banking as a career or learned about it (apparently), but the story fortified my understanding of money. The more you dump your ass into the comfort of lucrative money (a lot of money, easy money), you will want more, you will become a fat, greedy pig throwing money without care to parties, overpriced wine, and hot chicks, just to end up wanking yourself at 3 am under the office light. I think the authors were brutally honest in recalling all of their feelings starting from being proudly self-absorbed fresh grads of Harvard Business School and The Wharton School, to being bitterly self-assured of beautiful days ahead after every day 7am-to-3am marathon, to being frightening of the gloomy tunnel built with gold. The whole story is sensationally real. I can feel it just by reading it.

I want to credit the authors most for the language used in the book. Rolfe and Troob are genuinely hilarious, and their stories are super entertaining despite its negativity. I think the language they use somehow reflect who they were in the past. Aggressive. Straightforward. Reckless.

I think the investment banking industry has hit hard many times from the days the book was published that it has transformed itself. But as the author said in the afterword, it runs on the momentum of greed, so changes are gradual.

I think you will better enjoy the book with some knowledge of the banking world as I had prepared myself for this new land. Luckily for me that I had read some kinda Investing 101 as I started learning to do trading several months ago, so it was easy to get through sometimes.

Autumn 2020

September 7, 2020 at 3:00:00 PM


business, finance, biography


Monkey Business
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