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What's Wrong with Wall Street?

Everyone seems to have an opinion on this topic. What I don't like about many of the 'what's wrong with Wall Street' articles these days is that they're written from a backward-looking perspective and in the context of the financial crisis. What would be great is if someone had explained everything that's wrong with Wall Street before any of this happened.

Fortunately, someone did. Two guys, actually. I don't know how I've missed this book over the years, but Monkey Business by John Rolfe and Peter Troob seems to have slipped under my radar. If you have any curiosity about how screwed up the world of investment banking is, or need any justification to steer away from it as a career path, this is your book.

As far as the writing goes, it's a memoir written by two authors who tell their stories independently. Each author's work appears in its own font, although the progression is logical and well-connected. It's a quick and easy-read. The language borders on obnoxious and offensive (in true spirit of Wall Street culture, I suppose), but retains some aspects of humor.

The ultimate takeaway is that the business of Wall Street is mostly childish nonsense and game-playing. And almost everyone on the inside knows it; but they either refuse to admit it because they love the culture or wealth and hubris, or they're in denial and unable to admit that what they spend literally all of their time doing contributes little real value to society.

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