STRAIGHT TO HELL by John LeFevre

STRAIGHT TO HELL

True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A scattershot syllabus for billionaire boys-club bankers in Bad Behavior 101. “As we see it,” writes LeFevre, “if you’re dumb enough to get caught cheating, you probably don’t belong on Wall Street.”

Cocaine, bloody marys, more cocaine—and that’s before breakfast. No, it’s not a day at Hunter S. Thompson’s ranch but rather a training day at an ordinary big-ticket investment bank, a place full of starry-eyed Ivy Leaguers and a few Oxbridge types looking to score big. Cheating, to hear the author—famed for his tell-all tweets before this book deal—tell it, is ordinary behavior, hardly worth pausing to ponder except to figure out ways around the traps laid by fellow cadets. LeFevre is the real-world embodiment of Patrick Bateman, coming off as soulless, unapologetic, and full of overweening pride—the very stuff of which successful Wall Street honchos are made. But he is also strangely unreflective. Where readers might want to know a bit about, say, why supposedly heavily regulated institutions are so open to corruption and system-gaming, LeFevre brags about the fact that his “garbage disposal eats better than 99% of the world” and insists that “morality and deviance are relative.” (Yes, readers may be thinking, but if it’s my money at stake, some absolutes are in order.) What we learn instead is that it’s easy to chalk up a $2,700 bar bill in an evening, that drugs are as easy to come by as potato chips in communist China, and that part of the job description at any brokerage worth its salt is “to proactively throw my competitors under the bus at every possible opportunity.”

Reading this book-length swagger, you’d be forgiven for keeping your money under the mattress henceforth. But if LeFevre is truly hell-bound, as his title suggests, then it’s for indifferent writing as much as for any fiscal peccadilloes.

Pub Date: July 14th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-8021-2330-5
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2015




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionCAPITAL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY by Thomas Piketty
by Thomas Piketty
NonfictionHOW MARKETS FAIL by John Cassidy
by John Cassidy
NonfictionANTIFRAGILE by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb