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From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller What Should I Do with My Life?, Bombardiers is Po Bronson’s first novel, a devastating satire of the business world told through the lens of a crazed and colorful group of salespeople forced to push increasingly absurd financial products.

The Bonfire of the Vanities meets Catch-22 in this black comedy about corporate America. Welcome to the manic world of the bombardiers, a ragtag corps of bond traders who hustle ...

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From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller What Should I Do with My Life?, Bombardiers is Po Bronson’s first novel, a devastating satire of the business world told through the lens of a crazed and colorful group of salespeople forced to push increasingly absurd financial products.

The Bonfire of the Vanities meets Catch-22 in this black comedy about corporate America. Welcome to the manic world of the bombardiers, a ragtag corps of bond traders who hustle financial products in the fast lane of the Information Superhighway.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The most entertaining work of fiction on Wall Street since Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities.”
USA Today

“A hilarious must read for anyone with a brokerage account or mutual fund.”
—USA Today

“The prose explodes with the force of a volcano, the dialogue is as flashy as a fireworks display, and the characters are as relentlessly driven as motorcycles on the wall of death.”
Time Out

“Perhaps the most entertaining depiction of greed and dishonesty on Wall Street ever to see print...Bronson is a major talent, able to craft the kind of passages you reread just to revel in prose with a compelling cadence all its own.”

“The first thing you’ll want to do after reading to buy futures on Bronson’s career. This first novel is both funny and wise.”
San Francisco Chronicle

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The ``bombardiers'' are the bond traders for the San Francisco-based Atlantic Pacific Corporation, a madcap crew shrewdly observed in Bronson's bitingly satiric first novel. Chief among these cynical, inbred, often self-loathing but highly paid white-collar worker ants is anti-hero Sid Geeder, an ``old man'' at 34, enraged at his meaningless work and existence. Snapping at Sid's heels is the puppy-like Eggs Igino, the trader of the future, boyish, seemingly dependable, sneakily ruthless (in one amusing spar, Eggs tries to get Sid to swap insider information in exchange for clues to the procurement of an elusive strawberry danish). Around them whirl the others, including hard-bitten Coyote Jack, gorgeous Lisa Lisa, pathetic Nickel Sansome, all of them driven relentlessly and absurdly by the cocaine-like high of easy money. Around their frantic and inconclusive relationships, which Bronson delineates with verve, are woven an episodic plot concerning the bombardiers' manipulation of Eastern European and Caribbean affairs and a quiltwork of trenchant observations about the financial world: ``The financial markets had replaced elections as the barometer of the country's mood''; ``the information economy was a Ponzi scheme spiralling out of control.'' These clever and abundant maxims, however, fail to compensate for a lack of subtlety in the evolution of the characters, who often seem more marionettes of the author's satire than living entities. Still, Bronson writes with panache, and while his novel finally lacks the depth of feeling that can distinguish a great satire like Catch-22, it's a witty and cutting send-up that marks him as a writer with a likely big and bright future. Author tour. (Mar.)
Library Journal
This savage satire of the sleazier elements of Wall Street follows the fortunes of Sid Geeder, King of Mortgages in the trading firm of Atlantic Pacific. Sid can sell anything to anybody, all day and every day. Others, like Lisa Lisa and Nickel Sansome, eavesdrop, cajole, and bribe to copy Sid's techniques. The arrival of maverick Eggs Igino unbalances the corporate culture, however. Since none of the salespeople understands the market, finance, economics, or even the nature of the products they sell, they all fall apart in various ways trying to meet quotas until the biggest sales job of all comes along: the selling of an entire country. As a former bond trader, Bronson makes ferocious humor from the daily obsessions of this stressed-out bunch. Yuppies and MBA candidates should read Bombardiers before they have their next job interview; anyone owning stock will find food for thought here. For popular collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/94.]-Elsa Pendleton, Boeing Computer Support Svcs., Ridgecrest, Cal.
From Barnes & Noble
"It was a filthy profession, but the money was addicting, and one addiction led to another, and they were all going to hell." So starts this Catch 22 for '90s. Set at the nexus of capitalism, the Information Economy, and high technology, the story chronicles the trench warfare of the bond trading business and the lives of the colorful characters who conduct its high-risk deals and increasingly bizarre transactions. Author Mario Puzo called it "a wonderful novel. You will never invest again." Written by a former member of the First Boston Corporation's salesforce (with a degree in Economics and Creative Writing), this story plumbs the depths, deceptions, and mania of the investment world to bring us a cautionary, engrossing tale.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812971866
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/30/2003
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 968,150
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Po Bronson
Although it took him some time to find his literary niche, Po Bronson has settled into his role as “social documentarian” with great ease, penning two books that have become tremendous commercial, critical, and personal successes in the process.


Po Bronson is the rare writer that makes no claims to having an extraordinary or controversial history. On his web site, he states, "I'm a regular guy. I don't have much of a particularly unusual story." While some may assume such a description might not be the makings of a person with any stories worth telling, it actually provides the perfect background for a writer such as Bronson. He has made it his mission to relate the stories of his fellow everyday people, and with books such as What Should I Do With My Life? and Why Do I Love These People?, he has proved that ordinary people can lead extraordinary lives.

A prolific writer with a talent well-suited for a variety of genres, Bronson started out dabbling in screenplays, op-eds, TV and radio scripts, performance monologues, and literary reviews, and his first two books were satirical novels. Bombardiers (1995) was a sort of Catch 22 set in the bond-trading business; The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest: A Silicon Valley Novel, Vol. 4 (1997) a tale about the West Coast tech boom of the late 1990's. With his third book, The Nudist on the Late Shift: And Other Tales of Silicon Valley, he turned his focus away from fiction and toward the true stories of the tech-heads he encountered while working as a writer in Silicon Valley. Hailed by The Village Voice Literary Supplement upon its publication as "the most complete and empathetic portrait of the Valley so far," the breakout bestseller established Bronson as the first author to truly capture the spirit of the high-tech heyday.

In writing What Should I Do With My Life? (2003), Bronson posed that very question to a variety of regular folks all around the globe. The result: a rich and fascinating compendium of inspirational, witty, and insightful personal stories about finding one's direction, vocational and otherwise. The book was a tremendous success, and Bronson had clearly found his niche. Why Do I Love These People? followed in late 2005. This time around, Bronson questioned a multitude of people about illness, resolving familial conflicts, infidelity, prejudice, money problems, abuse, death, and other provocative issues, once again illustrating that one need not be a celebrity to lead a life worth reading about. Among others, Bronson encounters a Southern Baptist in the Ozarks who tracks down the teenage son he had abandoned at birth, a woman who fought for her life and the life of her children while trapped underwater in a Texas river, and a Turkish Muslim who wed a U.S. naval officer -- a union resulting in death threats from her own father.

Bronson characterizes his recent books as "social documentaries," but he doesn't rule out returning to the other genres he's loved. He does, however, credit his recent work with one important feature: "I used to write novels, and maybe I will again one day," he told in an audio interview, "but I have found that writing these social documentaries is good for me as a person."

Good To Know

Some fun factoids gleaned from our interview with Bronson:

"Well, when I look upon what I've written to the below questions, there's a lot on how I became a writer, but not much on how I came to write the books I have been doing the last six years. I write social documentaries, in which I tell the life stories of ordinary people. I used to write novels, and maybe I will again one day. But I have found that writing these social documentaries is good for me as a person; they make me a better person. I put myself in a position where I need to listen and learn from other people I interview. And even if the books were not successes, I would be a better person just for doing so much listening."

"Okay, I realize now that's now what you were really asking. It sounds like you want personal details -- you want to know me through my lists: my lists of books, films, music, restaurants I eat at, hobbies I enjoy. I'm not sure that's the best way to know the soul of a person, because it kind of suggests that who we are = what we consume. However, I'll answer, by all means. Here we go:

  • What I drive: Toyota Sienna minivan
  • Where I buy clothes: Banana Republic, Mexx, and thrift stores
  • Cell phone brand: Treo 650
  • Kids: Two. My son is 4, my daughter 1
  • Dog: golden retriever, 84 pounds
  • What I cooked for dinner last night: Pork tenderloin in a mustard crème sauce
  • What I'm cooking for dinner tonight: Nachos
  • Where I exercise: in my basement, on the elliptical machine
  • Favorite TV show: House. But I am a huge fan of football, basketball, and baseball. So actually my favorite TV show is Sportscenter
  • I play soccer in the Liga de Latina in San Francisco. I will play until I die
  • Favorite Cities: London, Hong Kong, Paris, Ronda, Verona
  • Parents: Still alive
  • Grandparents: one left. My grandmother. But I knew them all, and had lots of time with all of them
  • Favorite Beach: Todos Santos, Mexico
  • Why a name like "Po": Why not?"
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      1. Hometown:
        San Francisco, California
      1. Date of Birth:
        March 14, 1964
      2. Place of Birth:
        Seattle, Washington
      1. Education:
        B.A., Stanford University, 1986; M.F.A., San Francisco State University, 1995

    Customer Reviews

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    Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted November 27, 2006

      One of the Funniest Books Ever Written

      I tell my friends not to read this in a public place, because you will embarrass yourself laughing. I give this book every year to new friends and co-workers. It says something about its enduring appeal that Po Bronson wrote it ten years ago, and it's still in print.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted March 19, 2003

      I knew those cold-calling traders didn't know what they were talking about...

      The last 20 pages or so were laugh out loud funny! Not a deep thinking novel, but entertaining nonetheless.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 28, 2010

      No text was provided for this review.

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