Thursday, 5 July 2012

Book Review: Damn it feels good to be a banker by Leveraged Sell Out

Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Banker: And Other Baller Things You Only Get to Say If You Work on Wall Street Damn It Feels Good to Be a Banker is a satirical look at the Wall Street lifestyle.  It is written by “Leveraged Sell Out”, who in the book poses as a Princeton undergraduate student who went into banking and then onto the buyside in a private equity roll.   On his blog, leveraged sell-out confessed that he actually never worked as a banker, but actually roomed with a couple of bankers and drew his observations from his time.
This is the type of book that you will either love or hate.  You will HATE it if you have no idea about the Wall Street culture that the book is satirising. However if you have ever worked in an investment bank (of any sort) or been involved in finance or even have friends who are involved in finance in any way you will get some of the references.  On the other hand if you have worked or work as an analyst at an investment bank this book is a hilarious take on the industry (and the ‘posers’ within it).
The book is broken into 5 rough sections:
·         Business: deals with what investment bankers do (along with all the misconceptions and elitism that goes with it)
·         People: deals with the schools investment bankers recruit at, recruiting, women in banking, diversity and front office versus back office roles
·         Culture:  deals with fashion, reimbursement policies, culture in central offices versus regional offices
·         Entertainment: what bankers listen to / read / enjoy doing in their spare time
My summary above somehow makes Damn It Feels Good to be a Banker seem like the perfect book to get an idea of what investment banking is.  It most definitely is not.  Actually the only people who think being an analyst at an investment bank is anything like this book are college students who are desperate to live the ‘models and bottles’ lifestyle (see link to the Wall Street Oasis and pick any thread where it is mainly college kids talking about why they want to get into Investment Banking to get an idea). 

If you read this book (and do not work in the industry) please keep in mind that it is a satire!  If you do work in the industry Damn It Feels Good to be a Banker is funny, arrogant and cocky look at the industry which will keep you laughing right through the book.

·         Hilariously funny
·         Damn It Feels Good to be a Banker actually verbalises (in a satirical fashion) some of the underlying prejudices
inherent in investment banks (e.g. the hierarchy of banks, the hierarchy of students and colleges and the inherent elitist atmosphere that plagues most Wall Street Banks. 
·         Even though I realised that this was a satire, the arrogance of the author drove me nuts at some points
·         Will not teach you anything you don’t already know
·         If you already work in the industry this book is a must read
·         I can’t stress this last point enough but if you want to become a banker this book will teach you NOTHING.  If you want a look at what being an analyst or associate of an investment bank is really like read Monkey Business
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