PLAY MONEY by Laura Pedersen


My Brief but Brilliant Career on Wall Street
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 The sassy memoirs of a still young woman who had a short and bittersweet but financially rewarding career as an index options trader at the American Stock Exchange. Having quit the Univ. of Michigan after just one semester, Pedersen headed for Wall Street. Starting as an ASE clerk at age 18 in January 1984, she earned a partnership in a specialist firm (and an exchange membership) shortly after turning 20. By the time the author left the Amex late in 1989 (within days of the market's second precipitous break in two years), her annual income was close to $500,000. Physically and mentally, however, she qualified as a basket case, with badly strained vocal chords, impaired hearing, jumpy vision, chronically sore feet, a wealth of vague anxieties, and an attention span that could most charitably be described as transient. Here, Pedersen (who pinched pennies to maximize her investment bankroll) offers some good yarns about the lessons learned by an Upstate New York lass while apartment-hunting in Manhattan. She also provides pointed commentary on casino capitalism during the Reagan era. At the heart of her narrative, though, are antic accounts of the manic goings-on in the ASE's futures trading pits. In addition to making split-second judgment calls on contracts that could yield her employer substantial profits or losses, Pedersen had to cope with brutal practical jokes, unsparing competition from male- chauvinist rivals, deafening noise levels, and allied challenges. She nonetheless kept her wits and prevailed to the extent that she escaped with her life, comparatively good health, and a small fortune (accumulated mainly in real estate). A savvy insider's vastly entertaining line on aspects of the money game.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-517-58227-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1991


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