Monkey Business-Swinging through the wall street jungle by John Rolfe and Peter Troob
Initially I was sceptical about the book. My experience with Indian bankers turned authors has not been great and I had read enough and heard enough accounts of life in a B school and long hours in investment banking jobs to read another book on the same subject. Fresh out of Wharton and Harvard Business Schools, the authors got employed with investment bank – DLF (Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette). The book is their account of how the business is run and their experiences as an associate banker albeit in an extremely entertaining narrative.
“We realized that the compensation levels and the perks weren’t in place because being an associate in investment banking was a great job. They were in place because the job sucked”.
The book is a pleasant surprise. Written in an entertaining, sarcastic and brutally honest fashion it lays down in amazing detail the impersonal way in which an investment bank works. Though there are parts which are slightly exaggerated, accounts of the relentless meaningless work, boredom, sycophancy, huge ego and machismo running wild , endless meetings, bureaucracy and excess money is something which many of us in the corporate world can related to though in various degrees.
“Investment banking is a profession characterized by extremes. Whether it’s money, booze, food, sex, or work hours, the typical banker believes that more is better”.
The details are uncensored and not moderated to sugar coat it. It’s the ugly truth or the naked trust as you might call it. The narration is interesting where each author in turn writes about his experience. Through personal stories and anecdotes the authors expresses the boredom and drudgery of their daily lives—which is far from the glamour that led them to apply in the first place.
Investment Banker or not, the book is a window into the meaningless excesses, idiosyncrasies and stupid competition which marks corporate life. Its strictly recommended for those who can face these difficulties realising the irony of it all and still maintaining some sense of humour.