Former investment advisor and debut author DeLegge examines how Wall Street works in this basic investment primer.
If Dave Barry had a Wall Street background and hated that experience with an apocalyptic passion, he might write a book about it that sounds like this one, equal parts wit and acid. The author has written what amounts to a beginner’s course on how investment works in the current financial markets, with basic concepts illustrating the relationships between investment advisors, banks, brokerage firms, regulatory agencies and a host of other players. Although the tone of the book is in no way educational, DeLegge manages to paint a fairly clear picture of the overall workings of the Street and how each party interacts. The fact that these relationships are expressed clearly is a tribute to DeLegge’s skill as an author, particularly since it seems that this elucidation is almost an afterthought. Judging from the numerous caustic footnotes, verbal jabs and wordplay that permeate the book, readers might assume that the author wrote this book as a form of therapy. To call its overarching attitude cynical would be an understatement. In fact, the biggest drawback to DeLegge’s title is that the underlying tone tends to spiral into serious anger, which is tonally at odds with other sections of the book. This deep dissatisfaction also weighs heavily on DeLegge’s overall point; he eventually concludes that the only way to win is not to play. Despite the occasional descents into darkness, however, the book retains enough good humor and perspective to make this an enjoyable read—and somewhat educational to boot. Given the traditional view of books on financial matters, that’s an achievement in itself.
Angry but informative.