This is a horrible book about horrible people. But, like many people, I loved reading it.
It is said to be based on actual events, though who can really know?
LeFevre worked as an analyst for big Wall Street firms, and curated a twitter feed allegedly delivering anecdotes overheard in Goldman Sachs elevator (actually, any dirt on Wall Street life). This book is a jumble of such stories, out of order, out of context, unsourced, pretty much fictionalized. Not particularly reliable.
Sadly, it is totally believable, nevertheless.
The story portrays a repulsive, childish, and basically insane culture of self-indulgence, privilege, back biting, and dishonesty. If you still invest your money with these people, you are an idiot (unless you have the fix in yourself). I’m sure I’m being fleeced by these skunks anyway, even though I have no direct dealings with them.
It’s difficult to really warm to LeVebre. He has “retired” from banking, presumably after making his pile. He takes a rather sanctimonious attitude, condemning these excesses, even though he says he eagerly participated. For that matter, his attitude toward people is just repulsive. There is little point in complaining about his abuse of Filipina servants, girlfriends, prostitutes, and coworkers. He’s abusive toward everyone, including his own parents. For that matter, he is suicidally abusive toward himself, at least in these stories.
The reader can be forgiven for wanting to just round them all up and exterminate all the vermin. They deserve to be hated, even if these stories are exaggerations.
All that said, it is such tasty reading, a guilty pleasure.
- John LeFevre, Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery and Billion-Dollar Deals, New York, Grove Press, 2015.
Sunday Book Reviews