In highly entertaining and impressive fashion, New York magazine business writer Roose (The Unlikely Disciple) shadows eight young, ambitious college graduates from various walks of life as they embark on careers as Wall Street analysts. In the three years that Roose follows and befriends Arjun, Chelsea, Derrick, Jeremy, Samson, Richardo, Soo-jin, and J.P., their bright-eyed enthusiasm gives way to exhaustion, struggles with abusive environments and bosses, suicidal thoughts, and disillusionment with the world of finance. Roose’s vivid prose brings these stories to life as his subjects forge their way in the adult world of high finance and life in New York City, navigating workloads, relationships, sex, booze and drugs, the meaning of life, and their conflicting desires for security, prestige, money, intellectual stimulation, and purpose. Through Roose’s intimate portraits, readers see not only a snapshot of “millennial” life in this privileged sector, but also an industry in transformation since the 2008 financial collapse. Roose’s captivating read is sure to appeal to readers young and old who are interested in the zeitgeist of Wall Street since the crash. Agent: Sloan Harris and Kari Stuart, ICM. (Feb.)
It's not all beer and skittles on Wall Street. After all, writes New York business and technology reporter Roose, a budding Rockefeller needs to be able to "write a coherent memo to your boss after your third or fourth Jäger Bomb." When they're not imbibing Jäger or Red Bull by the gallon, the eight young Wall Streeters whom the author profiles are working around the clock—literally, in one instance, a stint of "110 hours in a row, without setting foot outside the building." One hopes the boss was appreciative, though, by Roose's account, the young people who have flocked to Wall Street are often badly used, caught up in power struggles among middle management and little appreciated. The author often takes an offhand, anecdotal approach; sometimes the effect is too breezy, but at other times it captures the daily indignities to which the junior capitalists are subjected. On the other hand, as he recognizes, no one made them take the gig. The better part of the book is sociological in nature: Roose examines the trends that have governed the world of finance since the great collapse of 2008, which exposed not just weaknesses in financial governance, but also the fundamental whiteness and maleness of the system, to say nothing of the disproportionate representation of graduates of Wharton. To gauge by his observations, the culture of Wall Street was once a strange cocoon now laid open: Until the crash, even a loser could count on lasting two years before being let go, but now, among youngsters anyway, the atmosphere is one of fear and uncertainty—just like in the rest of the economy, in other words. It is instructive to note that after the bloodletting that followed the collapse, only a few of his subjects remain in high finance, while most Wall Street firms are having trouble recruiting the best and the brightest. Of particular interest to young people contemplating a career in investment banking and trading, though with plenty of discouraging news.
Praise for The Unlikely Disciple:"
Well-written, thoughtful, and surprisingly three-dimensional . . . The charm and emotional heft of Roose's book lies in his honesty. . . a refreshing cease-fire in the wearying culture wars, likely holding surprises for anyone-theist, atheist, or somewhere in between." A.V. Club, The Onion
"[A] vivid, sunny, and skeptical portrait of life among the saved." New York Times
"What makes THE UNLIKELY DISCIPLE remarkable is that it doesn't take the cheap shot or make the easy joke . . . never anything but fair." DailyBeast.com
"Very funny . . . I loved this book." Slate.com