I tend to read quite a bit and normally have a few books on the go at any one time. I had a friend e-mail me a link to an article about an upcoming book called the Buyside by a fellow called Turney Duff. My friend said they thought the subject matter would be right up my street sort of thing. I then waited for a day or two until it became available on Kindle and then I downloaded the book.
The thing about the finance business is that people tend to forget that like pretty much any other business it is in fact about people. Sure, we have algorithms working their automated magic on stock trading and information travels at the speed of a nanosecond, but the reality is that behind everything there is still a human being, thinking about how to rig Libor and/or whose turn was it to pick up the kids from school that day.
It’s all human interaction. All about our wants and desires and what others think of us. We bring our emotional baggage and insecurities to work and in the finance biz there’s a big, big pile of that. Firstly the business attracts its fair share of people with rather a slim hold on ethics and a poor relation to empathy. Secondly, it also attracts people that are highly talented, motivated and all around good eggs, and then it places a massive amount of stress on them over a prolonged amount of time. Some end up walking away, some crack, some get corrupted and some somehow survive.
Too often finance stories are much like the finance business itself a bit of a façade. You are always left wanting something a bit deeper. As a reader you want to have a bit of a gander in to the soul of the characters, see what makes them flinch and see the whole duality of man, the ying yang thingy, in action. From showroom shiny new car to wrapped around a tree insurance write off.
This is what Buyside does. It begins as a decent Wall Street story, the hook for the book is that Mr. Duff worked as a trader for the infamous Galleon Group, the hedge fund run by Mr. Raj Rajaratnam. As anyone who follows the finance world knows Mr. Rajaratnam is now in a place were you want to make sure you don’t drop the soap in the shower. He’ll be paying attention to his soap usage until 2021.
The book (without spoiling it) is much more. It really does evolve as you get further and further into it, and it does get intense. I mean really intense. Mr. Duff pulls you into his world in a way few other writers can and you get taken along for the trip. That doesn’t mean it’s a pleasant trip. So let me repeat myself and warn you: It gets intense. During the tough parts I found myself having to put the book down every now and then and take a moment, because the quality of the writing and the complete open honesty of the author was just a bit too much to handle. It speaks to you from a place that I believe everyone, regardless of background, can relate to, but would never ever want to go.
Simply put, without being over the top, I think it is a finance classic from the moment it rolled of the printing press.
If you want to be taken on a bit of a roller coaster outside of your comfort zone and you want to really understand the world of finance, particularly the people who work in it, then this is a book you need to read.
To buy the book I recommend you click right here.