For the Love of Money

For the Love of Money

by Sam Polk


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For the Love of Money by Sam Polk

In 2014, a former hedge fund trader’s New York Times Sunday Review front page article about wealth addicition instantly went viral. This is his unflinching memoir about coming of age on Wall Street, fighting to overcome the ghosts of his past—and the radical new way he now defines success.

At just thirty years old, Sam Polk was a senior trader for one of the biggest hedge funds on Wall Street, on the verge of making it to the very top. When he was offered an annual bonus of $3.75 million, he grew angry because it was not enough. In that moment he knew he had lost himself in his obsessive pursuit of money. And he had come to loathe the culture—the shallowness, the sexism, the crude machismo—and Wall Street’s use of wealth as the sole measure of a person’s worth. He decided to walk away from it all.

For Polk, becoming a Wall Street trader was the fulfillment of his dreams. But in reality it was just the culmination of a life of addictive and self-destructive behaviors, from overeating, to bulimia, to alcohol and drug abuse. His obsessive pursuit of money papered over years of insecurity and emotional abuse. Making money was just the latest attempt to fill the void left by his narcisstic and emotionally unavailable father.

As in Liar’s Poker, Polk brings readers into the rarefied world of Wall Street trading floors, capturing the modern frustrations of young graduates drawn to Wall Street. Raw, vivid, and immensely readable, For the Love of Money explores the birth of a young hedge fund trader, his disillusionment, and the radical new way he has come to define success.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476785981
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 07/19/2016
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Former hedge fund trader Sam Polk is a writer; cofounder and CEO of Everytable, a social enterprise that sells fresh, delicious meals at prices everyone can afford; and the founder and executive director of Groceryships, a nonprofit that helps low-income families struggling with obesity. Polk graduated from Columbia University in 2002 with a BA in English and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Designation. His writing has been published in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, and He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their daughter. For the Love of Money is his first book.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi

Prologue 1

1 Unconscious Inheritance 7

2 The Cheerleader 15

3 Camp Fox 21

4 Numbcake 31

5 Chicken-All-Together 37

6 Fifteen Pounds 45

7 There's a Bomb in My Stomach 55

8 The Boy with the Dragon Tattoo 63

9 The Burglary 71

10 ON 24 77

11 Fight Club 87

12 Sex in the City 93

13 Spiritual Counselor 101

14 Like Father, Like Son 107

15 Brand-Name Life 111

16 The Fulcrum 117

17 Remnants of an Accident 121

18 The Easy Confidence of Millionaires 125

19 Nurturing Love 133

20 Protector of the Stupid 139

21 The Least Cool Thing to Order at a Bar 147

22 The Ice Melteth 157

23 The Ephemeral Prison 163

24 Charleston 169

25 The Land of Ambition and Success 177

26 A Castle on a Cloud 187

27 A Handwritten Note 193

28 The Navy SEALs of Bond Trading 197

29 The Anniversary Presents 205

30 Sacred Creatures 211

31 Gatsby, Interrupted 217

32 The Mad Max Scenario 223

33 Fear, Love, and a Billion Dollars 231

34 Peter Luger's 239

35 Hear It in the Deep 251

36 The Bright Light of the Afternoon 257

Epilogue: Good-bye to All That 265

Acknowledgments 271

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