The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader's Tale of Spectacular Excess

( 24 )

Overview

New York Times Bestseller

The Buy Side, by former Galleon Group trader Turney Duff, portrays an after-hours Wall Street culture where drugs and sex are rampant and billions in trading commissions flow to those who dangle the most enticements.  A remarkable writing debut, filled with indelible moments, The Buy Side shows as no book ever has the rewards – and dizzying ...

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The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader's Tale of Spectacular Excess

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Overview

New York Times Bestseller

The Buy Side, by former Galleon Group trader Turney Duff, portrays an after-hours Wall Street culture where drugs and sex are rampant and billions in trading commissions flow to those who dangle the most enticements.  A remarkable writing debut, filled with indelible moments, The Buy Side shows as no book ever has the rewards – and dizzying temptations – of making a living on the Street.
 
Growing up in the 1980’s Turney Duff was your average kid from Kennebunk, Maine, eager to expand his horizons. After trying – and failing – to land a job as a journalist, he secured a trainee position at Morgan Stanley and got his first feel for the pecking order that exists in the trading pits.  Those on the “buy side,” the traders who make large bets on whether a stock will rise or fall, are the “alphas” and those on the “sell side,” the brokers who handle their business, are eager to please.
 
How eager to please was brought home stunningly to Turney in 1999 when he arrived at the Galleon Group, a colossal hedge-fund management firm run by secretive founder Raj Rajaratnam.  Finally in a position to trade on his own, Turney was encouraged to socialize with the sell side and siphon from his new broker friends as much information as possible.  Soon he was not just vacuuming up valuable tips but also being lured into a variety of hedonistic pursuits.  Naïve enough to believe he could keep up the lifestyle without paying a price, he managed to keep an eye on his buy-and-sell charts and, meanwhile, pondered the strange goings on at Galleon, where tens of millions were being made each week in sometimes mysterious ways.
 
At his next positions, at Argus Partners and J.L. Berkowitz, Turney climbed to even higher heights – and, as it turned out, plummeted to even lower depths – as, by day, he solidified his reputation one of the Street’s most powerful healthcare traders, and by night, he blazed a path through the city’s nightclubs, showing off his social genius and voraciously inhaling any drug that would fill the void he felt inside.
 
A mesmerizingly immersive journey through Wall Street’s first millennial decade, and a poignant self portrait by a young man who surely would have destroyed himself were it not for his decision to walk away from a seven-figure annual income, The Buy Side is one of the best coming-of-age-on-the-Street books ever written.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Bracing…calls to mind books like Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney, and especially Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis…As spectacle [the book] easily trumps both…Mr. Duff proves a fine wordsmith: his prose is smooth, lean and rhythmic…An entertaining and cautionary tale, well worth your time.”
-Bryan Burrough, The New York Times 

 “A heavyweight confessional about the perils of a life spent chasing the almighty dollar…even though the author’s brutal honesty about his increasingly chaotic personal life is commendable, it’s really more his vivid portrait of the everyday inner workings of life at a hedge fund that fascinates…A fast-paced memoir of the easy-money hypercapitalist dream-turned- nightmare.”
—Kirkus Reviews

 “Looking for a Hollywood-worthy account of Wall Street with lots of juicy details about the high life? Duff, a former financial trader who climbed the ranks at several major firms, provides a fascinating glimpse into the trader’s life as he narrates his journey from smalltown boyhood in Kennebunk, Maine, to hitting the jackpot in Manhattan, to succumbing to the poisons of success…[This] fast-paced tale will absorb readers…a wild ride.”
—Publishers Weekly

“This is why I keep my money safe and sound under the mattress. You could get high just reading this book. Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Wall Street traders."
 —James Patterson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls

“Turney Duff is a natural storyteller, and his tale of how a naive kid from Maine traded in L.L. Bean for Armani and got sucked into the seamy side of Wall Street is almost impossible to put down. The book is by turns hilarious, harrowing, maddening, and illuminating. After this debut, the smart money will be on Duff.”
—Bethany McLean, New York Times bestselling author of The Smartest Guys in the Room and All the Devils Are Here

“Turney Duff’s The Buy Side picks up where the Academy Award-winning film about systemic corruption on Wall Street, 'Inside Job', leaves off.  Duff, who at one time was the promising rookie on the trading desk at troubled hedge fund Galleon, gives us a front-row seat to the Street’s dark side – but the tale also features a personal story that will have you cheering as Duff fights his way through a jungle of excess and figures out what really matters. To all those who want to rule the market not just during business hours but after hours, beware — you may not have Duff’s survival skills.”
—Lawrence G. McDonald, New York Times bestselling author of A Colossal Failure of Common Sense
 
The Buy Side takes the reader on an extremely wild ride so eloquently and honestly that we never want it to end.  Cocaine wants everything you love and everything that loves you.  Turney Duff had everything and nothing while trading billions of dollars on a razor's edge. His book takes you from Wall Street to Skid Row to the Thompson Hotel – and then, mercifully, back to sanity and finding a place in the world. Hang on, The Buy Side is gonna move you around, and there are no seatbelts to keep you from getting hit hard.”
—Brian O’Dea, author of High: Confessions of an International Drug Smuggler

The Buy Side is ‘Wall Street’ meets ‘Breaking Bad’ – except that this book is fact not fiction.
Turney Duff yields to temptation at every turn, and the sheer volume of criminal behavior he saw, and even participated in, is astonishing…If you want to see Wall Street’s seamy underbelly firsthand, read this book.”
—Frank Partnoy, bestselling author of F.I.A.S.C.O and Infectious Greed
 
"If you took Gordon Gekko, Bud Fox, a copy of Bright Lights, Big City, and threw them in a blender with an ounce of cocaine, a bottle of Patron Tequila, and your favorite teddy bear you'd have yourself a Buy Side smoothie. Turney's my kind of guy; a madman with heart.  I couldn't put the book down."
—Colin Broderick, author of Orangutan
 
“Does Wall Street make people crazy or are crazy people simply attracted to Wall Street?  The Buy Side doesn’t get us any closer to answering that question, but along the way we get a look inside perhaps the most ethically-challenged investment firm in recent memory, and a harrowing journey through drug addiction and recovery.  This is not a musical comedy; at the end, you’re just relieved that Duff is alive.”
—Jared Dillian, author of Street Freak: Money and Madness at Lehman Brothers
 
“Turney Duff's The Buy Side is the perfect parable for Wall Street's lost decade. Duff’s account of his rise and fall has it all, from a fast-paced coke-crazed trip through Manhattan nightlife that conjures Bright Lights, Big City, to an eyewitness account of insider trading and front running that reads like a federal indictment. Broke but not broken, Duff ends up better than others on Wall Street have—sober, chastened, and lucky to be alive after the self-destructive excesses of easy money and empty ambition.”
-Guy Lawson, New York Times bestselling author of Octopus

Publishers Weekly
Looking for a Hollywood-worthy account of Wall Street with lots of juicy details about the high life? Duff, a former financial trader who climbed the ranks at several major firms, provides a fascinating glimpse into the trader’s life as he narrates his journey from smalltown boyhood in Kennebunk, Maine, to hitting the jackpot in Manhattan, to succumbing to the poisons of success. After earning his stripes at Morgan Stanley, he joins the Galleon Group and gets his first tastes of the privileged trader’s lifestyle. Jumping ship to Argus Partners, he finds he has “arrived”: he wears suits from Barneys, lives in a ,300-per-month apartment, and indulges in escorts, alcohol, and drugs. As his star rises, so does his partying, until cocaine and booze take control and he begins his fall from grace. Despite the money that continues to roll in; a committed, loving relationship; and the impending birth of his daughter, Duff’s downward spiral cannot be stopped. His fast-paced tale will absorb readers, taking them along for a wild ride until they land in a comfortable spot squarely in the middle. Agent: Lisa Leshne, the Leshne Agency. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
Former Wall Street party boy tells his cautionary rags-to-riches-to-rags story. Finally reaching the proverbial palace of wisdom after years of greed and high-stakes drugs-and-money excess, former big-spending trading whiz and recovering addict Duff turns in a heavyweight confessional about the perils of a life spent chasing the almighty dollar. From sleepy Kennebunk, Maine, Duff moved to New York in 1994 after graduating with a journalism degree. He soon found work as a sales assistant for the formidable Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley. Little did he know he was embarking on a death-defying roller-coaster ride that would see him go from making $30,000 per year as an assistant to pulling in hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary (plus hundreds of thousands more in bonuses) in the late-1990s tech-boom. But by 2008, Duff's fortune was dwindling along with the market. Before he knew it, he was stuck with a mortgage he couldn't pay and was in rehab for cocaine abuse, before finally burning all of his Wall Street bridges and beginning his life again. In fact, he exited this slimy lifestyle just before the life consumed him. Duff lucidly depicts the hedonistic emptiness of the Wall Street culture, as well as the callous, cutthroat environment that makes most careers on the Street very brief. But even though the author's brutal honesty about his increasingly chaotic personal life is commendable, it's really more his vivid portrait of the everyday inner workings of life at a hedge fund that fascinates. Duff's down-to-earth conversational writing style demystifies the daily business of what a stock trader actually does and just how a hedge fund can pull so many billions of dollars seemingly out of thin air. A fast-paced memoir of the easy-money hypercapitalist dream-turned-nightmare.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780770437176
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/17/2014
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 207,805
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Turney Duff has worked on Wall Street since 1994, including at Morgan Stanley, the Galleon Group, Argus Partners, and J.L. Berkowitz. A graduate of Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, he has written and executive-produced two short movies and under his rap name "Cleveland D," was partly responsible for the infamous Galleon song, "On the Good Ship Galleon." He currently lives in Long Island City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    One of those rare books that you stay up all night reading.  Com

    One of those rare books that you stay up all night reading.  Compelling insight into the salacious side of Wall Street, but more importantly
    a brutally honest, often humorously told story of Duff's unlikely rise and inevitable fall. Thoroughly entertaining.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    The Buy Side, by Turney Duff, is a thoughtful, well-crafted memo

    The Buy Side, by Turney Duff, is a thoughtful, well-crafted memoir that captures your soul and sucks you in. I literally couldn't put it down. It has a great flow and rhythm to it; the metaphors often made me giggle out loud. 
    I don't know the first thing about Wall Street or finance but I certainly learned a thing or two about how things really work; after hours and after dark. The juicy details of what goes on behind the scenes of Wall Street mixed with the sometimes humorous and often painful experience of the author's demise due to his hideous disease called addiction captured and held my attention from start to finish.
    All the passages that included financial jargon were written in such a way that a layperson like myself could understand. The author teaches you these tidbits through fascinating recounts of events that, unlike Liar's Poker, are fact and not fiction. 
    That someone lived this life; that someone survived this life and is able to retell it in such a captivating way, is in and of itself unbelievable. 
    Whether you are interested in Wall Street, addiction or just plain ole drama and great writing, this book is incredibly entertaining and I can't recommend it highly enough. Read it now, thank me later.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    An uninteresting, poorly written, and self-aggrandizing book.

    An uninteresting, poorly written, and self-aggrandizing book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2013

    I was so disappointed by how boring this book was. It is not at

    I was so disappointed by how boring this book was. It is not at all an interesting tale of either remorse or adventure. Both the Wall Street and addiction stories have both been "memorized" before, in actually interesting and well-written works. It's mystifying that this poorly penned, snooze-worthy tome found a publisher.  One of the worst things I've ever read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2013

    This book was fantastic. I am a little bit of a Wall Street boo

    This book was fantastic. I am a little bit of a Wall Street book junkie but this was quite different to me because it had heart. I really felt for the main character, I wasn't just p.o'd that he made a ton of money. I think because I could put myself in his shoes. I could relate. Rooting for Turney Duff in his highly moving memoir, I also cringed, cried and laughed out loud. That's the journey of The Buy Side. I highly recommend taking this wild ride. Who knew Wall Street had a heart? Duff does. He shares with us the seediness, the dark side, the narcissistic spoils of the life he once knew. Duff also is no stranger to finding the comedy in it all. He shares it as if he were commanding a room at an open mic night. He's a weird pied piper of sorts from humble beginnings to massive excess and the pages turn faster than any other book I have read to date. Morbid curiosity of the inner workings of world dominating Wall Street traders coupled with Duff's very human struggles makes this a great read. I liken it to a great work of art on a stage that has it all - it made me laugh, made me cry, made me feel and made me think. I did lose two nights of sleep staying up all night, but it was well worth it.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2013

    I read this book in record time because I simply couldn't put it

    I read this book in record time because I simply couldn't put it down.  It's an honest, straightforward and at times uncomfortable account of a man's journey from naive college grad to Wall Street power player, and the inevitable crash landing that followed. Turney Duff was living a high octane  existence, one which he was not equipped to sustain, and the window we as the reader have into his struggle and ultimate rebirth is one to which everyone can in some way relate. All that aside - it's also a HIGHLY entertaining read. You'll get sucked in from page one, so don't expect to get much done until that last page is turned. 

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2013

    I read this book in just about one sitting, and am now having tr

    I read this book in just about one sitting, and am now having trouble finding a summer read that will hold my attention as well.  This book makes you root for Turney, while also wanting to sit him down and lecture him on what he is doing to his life.  It is a crazy, exciting, and sometimes scary ride through Wall Street's inner workings that most of us are not familiar with.  I absolutely loved this debut novel.  Write another, Turney Duff.  You won't regret picking this book up.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2013

    I enjoyed this book very much. It's really the perfect summer re

    I enjoyed this book very much. It's really the perfect summer read. Im not one to review books but this one is so good I thought i would let other know about it. I both hated and loved Turney Duff.  He has an amazing story and its told very well. I really could not put this book down. If you are searching for a fun, guilty, fast summer read; look no further. I cant wait to see what comes next from this young writer.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2014

    It was an ok book, nothing really shocking about it or extremely

    It was an ok book, nothing really shocking about it or extremely interesting but a good account of some Wall street action and personal addiction problems 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    I will let you in a little secret (though I think I admitted thi

    I will let you in a little secret (though I think I admitted this in my review of Wolf of Wall Street already … I will read any book and see any movie that comes out regarding life on Wall Street. I can know ahead of time that it is going to be cartoonishly stupid, and they often are, and I will still read or see it. Some are quite serious in nature (see my lengthy list of reviews covering the financial crisis of 2008), and some are entertainment-driven (the Wolf of Wall Street is a case in point). Michael Lewis may be known to many of you for Moneyball and The Blind Side, but the book that made him famous, Liar’s Poker, literally began a genre of books describing the excesses of Wall Street behavior. I’m not sure that any book in the genre since Liar’s Poker have been quite as good, but many have tried with varying degrees of success. And I read all of them.

    Part of me thinks I read all of this stuff because it just fascinates me what people think about the financial advisory profession. I am a corner office managing director guy at a huge Wall Street firm, but I eat dinner with my wife and kids almost every single night. I’ve seen plenty of folks misbehave, but not any more than at an action sports trade show or a real estate office holiday party. It is the BUSINESS of Wall Street I love – the business of advising on capital. In case you haven’t heard me say it before, I LOVE free market capitalism, and there is no free market capitalism without capital markets. Therefore, I love the business of capital markets. And in the United States of America, we call that business “Wall Street”, so there you go.

    Anyway, now that my little secret fetish is out (regarding guilty pleasure movie watching and book reading), let me explain what I was expecting out of Turney Duff’s The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader’s Tale of Spectacular Excess, and let me tell you what I got instead. I was expecting another infantile tale of some piker who, imagine this, liked drugs and sex – a lot. I was expecting a book claiming that every single person in a 50-mile vicinity of the Hudson River lives the same way. And I was expecting a book where a failed piker would blame Wall Street’s business immorality for his lack of success in the business. What I got, on the other hand, was very, very different.

    I am not sure I would call the book a mere story of a Wall Street burnout. First of all, the real-life narrative itself is quite rare. For a young man educated in Ohio, a state many Wall Street elites are unaware is a part of the union, to become a prominent buy side trader is rare enough. But for the path to that trading job to have been an admin assistant job on the retail side of the business is utterly unheard of. Mr. Duff describes his journey with skill and literary flair. By the time he ends up at Galleon Group, a massive hedge fund which has since blown up behind the insider trading convictions of its key personnel, I am already enjoying the book, and realizing it is not going to be at all what I expected.

    Duff gives readers a far more sensible and credible explanation of what he did for a living than many attempts at describing the business do. Unlike the pathetic scene in Wolf of Wall Street where Leonardo Dicaprio starts yelling to the FBI about “collateralized debt obligations” (before there was such a thing, and something he to this day would have absolutely no knowledge of or participation in whatsoever), Duff does not merely throw out finance-sounding vocabulary to tease the readers and get back to the stories of sex and drugs. Yes, there are a lot of stories about sex and drugs (more drugs than sex), but the book doesn’t insult its readers with disingenuous or vanilla descriptions of high finance. It is comprehensible but sharp, and that is a tough thing to do.

    The book does go into exhaustive detail of the demons which brought down Mr. Duff’s career as a trader. In fairness to the author, though, it simply does not read as a glamorization of that lifestyle. Jordan Belfort agonized his readers with an almost frat-boy like description of his shenanigans in the Wolf of Wall Street book (which he pretty much had to do because there weren’t ten pages of actual business material). Duff isn’t bragging. He’s confessing. And if you aren’t rooting for him throughout the final chapters of the book to find recovery, to find sobriety, and to find God, then you just aren’t human.

    The book really is an addiction tale more than a business thriller, but it is compelling, honest, and extremely inviting. I spent some time reading some interviews Duff gave after the book came out and he blew me away with his candor. There is no attempt to demonize all of Wall Street – quite the opposite. There is no juvenile story of how “Wall Street polluted me and made me do it”. He is a recovering addict who has been blessed with an extraordinary writing skill. I, for one, hope he’ll write again. This “genre” needs more writers like him. Michael Lewis worked in finance for about ten minutes and has spent twenty-five years getting rich from his moralizing, hypocritical tirades (though he is a remarkable writer, I confess). I do not know what the future holds for Turney Duff, but if he keeps his hands off a highball and on a keyboard, I am positive the best days of his life are still to come.

    Because life on Main Street and Wall Street both testify to the powerful adage: Don’t quit before the miracle happens.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2013

    I give the book a middling rating because I think its one of tho

    I give the book a middling rating because I think its one of those rare books that's heartfelt and honest. On the other hand, as a former Wall Streeter who reads lots of Wall Street fiction and non-fiction, I didn't think the book added much to what's already known. For example, I think most people know that depending on one's upbringing and morals, some professionals who work on Wall Street let the money and power get to their heads and feed their ego much more than others who work on Wall Street who have a stronger upbringing and moral foundation. Also, I believe most readers know that people who have the addictive gene are not a good mix with the Wall Street client- and money-driven scene. It's just not a good mix. I can also tell you as a long-termer on Wall Street that previous reviewers on this site have it right--there are good people and jerks in every line of work. Its just with the stakes so high on
    Wall Street, these jerky ego- and greed-driven behaviors become more accentuated. I can't tell you how many times I ran into huge egos on the Street who would treat folks they viewed as "below them" (e.g,, taxi drivers, waiters, retail merchants, secretaries, other service workers) like they were lower than dirt just to impress whoever was with them. I was glad to see that the author realized a bit late that life isn't about who has the biggest paycheck, or biggest house, or best car but that true meaning in life comes from more basic pursuits and daily activities.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2013

    Great book, it was like a history book that told a story. Finish

    Great book, it was like a history book that told a story. Finished it in 3 days, could not put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    Interesting read

    I really enjoyed reading this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    highly recommend

    To read a firsthand account of the excesses in the financial community and to see that this country was, in part, driven into the ground by coke addled, egotisticle kids making millions of dollars is incredible. This author did a good job explaining his and other excesses. The book was well constructed and very informative.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2013

    I can honestly tell you that once I started this book, I could n

    I can honestly tell you that once I started this book, I could not put it down. It is well written, and although I am horrified to admit it, I do believe his comments on what goes on behind the golden doors of Wall Street. Would I recommend it - you bet. I am thinking of burying my money in my back yard, you bet. Extremely well written account of the underbelly of the money street.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    Wow

    What a story! Took me about 25 hours to finish. I wish I would have started on a weekend. One of the best books I've ever read.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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