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Honestly not the best written book in the world, but it really isn't supposed to be. It's a hilariously written take of a former investment banking associate into life in investment banking. Highly recommend for anything either in finance or thinking of getting into it!
Wall Street memoirs are a dime a dozen. And then there's Discussion Materials. First off, it is screamingly funny. It is also, for those only glancingly acquainted with the world of investment banking, a palatable education in what on earth that actually means. Further, despite the peculiarities of life on the 44th floor at 60 Wall Street, readers will find plenty of hilarious reassurances that office life is, in ways large and small, the same the world over. But beyond that---way beyond that----beyond the nutsiness-bordering-on-slapstick, beyond the insanity, run deep currents of wisdom and clarity and fury and---most of all---sadness that make this book not only about something arcane but also about something profound and universal: the search for passion and meaning in the world of work. It is a neat trick to capture all that and to do it in a way that is at once a ground-level, eye-of-the-hurricane view AND the view from some sort of ironic remove. Keenan is the participant and the reporter, the inmate and the asylum visitor, the specimen and the forensic psychologist. It really doesn't get much better than this.
I really enjoyed reading this as I deeply wanted to get a sense of what banking culture and life is like. I felt like I was with Bill the entire way and as I went through this story, became increasingly impressed at the inner strength and resilience that he and the other analysts and associates display while enduring their sleepless nights powered by caffeine, endless weekends in the office, etc. By the end of the book, I felt emotionally exhausted with everything Bill had been through and wanted him to leave the job, the firm, walk far far away and never return. He seems like a person you really like to root for, and I hope whatever he is doing now makes him fulfilled and happier than before.
For the first time, a well-written book about the Finance industry that portrays the real thing. Discussion Materials provides an authentic perspective of life and progression as a first-year Investment Banker, which they do not teach in school. Bill Keenan does a skillful job introducing readers to the world of Finance and Investment Banking, while detailing the scarring nights (that occasionally turn into mornings) and short-lived successes. Highly recommend this smooth read to those who are thinking about pursuing a career in Investment Banking or other high-pressure roles, current or former professionals who like re-living the 4am office horror stories, and especially the parents of both in an attempt to reset expectations for frequency of calls home...
Bill Keenan takes us on a amusing ride through the world of being a newly minted MBA becoming an Associate at Deutsche Bank. Very sarcastic and completely true when offering up these Wall St anecdotes and sarcastic personalities. A must-read for anyone wanting to work those 100+ hour work weeks!
Very interesting perspective from someone initially new in the industry with a good amount of entertainment and humor. It reads much more like a story compared to a textbook and gives real-world examples of what a job in the industry can look like at a large firm. If you have some finance in your background it shouldn't be confusing but for those a little unfamiliar some abbreviations could be a little hard to understand. If EBITDA, MD, OTC, FX, and IPO are all in your wheelhouse it should be easy enough.
I suppose it's reflective of the job to be fair. The first 10 chapters are fantastic, the second 10 a little slower but still good, then the last ten more of a drag if I'm honest. Still enjoyable but lost the flair of early on, hence misses out on the 5 stars.
This is a hilarious book full of gems that will have you laughing out loud. As an outsider, I could appreciate the genuine and honest look inside the soul-crushing misery that befall junior bankers. The author does an excellent job conveying the attitudes and personalities up and down the investment banking hierarchy. It also confirms the worst stereotypes of bankers but at the same engenders a degree of sympathy for the individuals who find themselves working this job.
What might seem like exaggeration is actually on point and probably like fiction to anyone outside the industry... would have been interesting to learn what his exit strategy was for all of those who sympathise with his lack of fulfilment.