Originally Posted by bucksfan2
I think I finished The Buy Side and also read about a quarter of The Wolf of Wall Street. Quite frankly both books turned me off. I have little desire to read about guys who thought they were all that while jacked up (or down) on all types of drugs. I was more interested in what actually went on in the financial aspect of things. But the books read like "look how great I was" "or I did this jacked up on coke."
I haven't read The Wolf of Wall Street as it never appealed to me. I agree with your assessment of The Buy Side and that's the main reason I was disappointed. I thought it was going to be less about him personally, and more about the overall after work culture of wall street. His narrative comes across as very self promoting, and I think he thought much higher of himself than he was probably thought of by his peers.
Duff struck me as not super intelligent. I've watched a couple of interviews with the guy and they do nothing to make me think otherwise. I think he's a guy with a connection who was in the right place in the right market. He was mostly doing what he was told, but made it sound like he was some kind of trading genius. He learned a few tricks of the trade in how to manipulate brokers to get information, but nothing about him struck me as impressive.
Billionaire's Apprentice is really good so far, but goes into a lot of detail on the key players background in India. Doesn't bother me, but may some.
I really liked Confidence Game about Bill Ackman and his now famous short selling of MBIA. It was a tough book to put down and had plenty of those "how could this actually happen" moments kind of like The Big Short. It's one of the more enjoyable reads on the financial side of these things.
Money and Power, on the history of Goldman Sachs and some of the things they've done over the years is a good book, but very tedious. I walked away from that one with an even stronger belief that GS is the devil.
A really fun read is Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis (my favorite author). It didn't get the reviews some of his other books got, but it was a really easy read and some of it will blow you away. I had no idea about what happened in Iceland and it's one of the most amazing stories I've ever heard. And I had no idea the level of corruption of the tax system over in Greece either. I've read this one twice now.
Crash of the Titans about the fall of Merrill Lynch and Stan O'Neil was pretty good as well. I was disappointed in The Greatest Trade Ever Made. Had I read that before The Big Short, I may have liked it more, but I knew that story already and the book didn't add much, IMO. Too Big to Fail was interesting, but too tedious, IMO. Way too hard to follow.
When Genius Failed is a classic and a must read if you're interested in this stuff. More Money Than God is a great book on the history of hedge funds. And I assume you've read Liar's Poker, as that's the book that got me interested in all this stuff to begin with. Actually, I think Duff thought he was writing a modern day version of this book, but it came up well short.
I think this pretty much covers what I've read on this topic.