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Buying In Hardcover – November 5, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: New Harvest; First Edition edition (November 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0544114574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544114579
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #897,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The world of high finance provides a thrilling setting for Hemphill's fine debut about survival in a cutthroat business where millions of dollars are at stake and the wrong comment can cost you your job. Sophie Landgraf, from smalltown Massachusetts, lands a lucrative Wall Street job out of college as an analyst for Sterling, while her college boyfriend struggles to make ends meet at an entry-level position at NPR. Sophie befriends a colleague, Vasu Mehta, who, after seven years on the job, is used to the grueling work but longs to spend more time with his family. Ethan Pearce, their department's managing director, is a brilliant, suave, and cold-hearted wheeler and dealer who throws Sophie for a loop by bringing her into a major merger of aluminum companies. She forges a genuine connection with one of the deal's main players, AlumiCorp CEO Jake Hutchinson, who worked his way up from the plant floor 23 years prior. The author, who paid her own dues at Lehman Brothers and other firms, clearly knows her way around Wall Street, but, more importantly, can make us care about her characters' successes and failures, against a formidable backdrop rife with competition, backstabbing, and soul-searching. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Nov.)

Review

"The world of high finance provides a thrilling setting for Hemphill’s fine debut." —Publishers Weekly

"I read Buying In in one sitting. It sucks you into an adrenaline vortex, obliterating everything but the deal. Work swallows family, friends, and scruples. A gripping and thought-provoking read." —Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, is the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and the former Director of Policy Planning, United States Department of State

"With assured prose, a compulsively readable plot, and insider savvy, Buying In offers a front-row seat to the downfall of Wall Street, with a terrific young heroine who outmans the men without sacrificing her soul." —Ayelet Waldman, author of Red Hook Road, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, Bad Mother and Daughter's Keeper

"Laura Hemphill writes about Wall Street with the granular knowledge of an industry insider and the incisive empathy of an outsider. Buying In is an absorbing and affecting study of high finance and the toll it takes on one's non-capitalistic identity, with much to say about gender in the workplace, from a bright new literary talent." —Teddy Wayne, author of  The Love Song of Jonny Valentine and Kapitoil

"Laura Hemphill deftly pulls off a hat trick, offering readers an insider’s clear-eyed take on the subprime lending crisis, a chilling look at the lives of women in banking, and a briskly entertaining coming of age story. You’ll be thinking about her complicated, conflicted heroine, Sophie Landgraf, long after you devour the novel’s final pages." —Joanna Smith Rakoff, author of A Fortunate Age

"In Buying In, Laura Hemphill provides us a ringside seat in the inner boardrooms of Manhattan's investment banks in the months just before the financial crash. As her whip-smart, charmingly naïve protagonist Sophie attempts to navigate a deal that will make or break her career (and perhaps decide the future of the bank itself), you can't help but root for her to succeed even as you fear she will. Hemphill effortlessly lays bare the complicated machinations of the banking industry with the breathless pacing of a thriller, and with remarkable assurance describes the very real pull between family and career, success and sacrifice, loyalty and self-preservation. A stunning debut which is sure to catapult the author onto must-read lists." —Allison Amend, author of A Nearly Perfect Copy

“Wall Street banker Laura Hemphill took her seven years laboring in the world of finance and spun them into a work of fiction that pulls back the door on life of the privileged elite.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Sophie’s not just leaning in; she’s buying in.” —BookPage

“Former Wall Street financier Laura Hemphill pens a riveting novel about what it takes to make it in the world of finance, particularly as a young woman competing with the boys.” —Metro

Customer Reviews

Interesting and intriguing enough to captivate the readers attention to the very end.
Dedra L. Thornton
I don't like books where the central character just does not show any spunk for too long of a time.
PattyLouise
Well written with excellent prose, and well developed characters. it's a pretty quick read.
Wilhelmina Zeitgeist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dave Parker VINE VOICE on September 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The title of the opening chapter gives a strong hint of what's to come - October, 2007. Everyone over the age of 15 remembers the catastrophic sub-prime lending crisis and the big investment banks that failed, leading our country into a severe recession. In Buying In, recent Yale graduate Sophie Landgraf has landed her dream job - an analyst for Sterling, a major investment bank. She is well paid, and she envisions growing rapidly within the company.

Sophie is responsible for modeling financial results from investments in order to help mid-level executives broker acquisitions and growth development for their clients. Her first big assignment is developing models for a potential merger between AlumiCorp and any of several other aluminum manufacturers in support of her group leader, Ethan Pearse's meeting with the AlumiCorp CEO.

Buying In introduces the reader to the highly competitive, back-stabbing environment of investment banking through the interplay of ideas, secrets, and lies among all the major players. The goal of every senior manager is making deals and scoring fees - the bigger, the better - regardless of the eventual success of the client's acquisition. With multiple low- and mid-level analysts working for the same goal - making their superior look good, Sophie soon learns that this requires long hours, missed appointments, and broken relationships.

Buying In starts slowly while building the background of the cultural environment of investment banking challenges and practices. As it progresses, the reader feels their interest growing as Sophie's personal relationship falls apart.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Brennan on October 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Laura Hemphill nails the investment banking world circa 2007-08. The heroine, Sophie Landgraf, lands a Wall Street analyst job (aka Excel slave) and throws herself into her new career with abandon pulling long nights, weekends and holidays, much to the dismay of her boyfriend and family. Her superior, Vasu, and Managing Director, Ethan, treat her like part of the furniture, never for a moment acknowledging her spreadsheets, expecting her to sacrifice any semblance of a personal life in service of the bank.

Hemphill builds the story with a pending merger, giving us a front row seat to the players and the financial battle that must be won at all costs. I spent ten years at a venture capital firm in California so I really enjoyed how Hemphill handled the art of the deal and the toll it takes on everyone's values. The stakes are high. The game must be played. With the subprime crisis looming in the background, Vasu and Ethan are forced to manipulate the only pending merger on the bank's slate. Sophie is caught between their gigantic egos and unreasonable demands, yet she finds a way to connect with their client in a way that Vasu and Ethan would never dream possible.

I can never get enough Wall Street thrillers, especially when a young, vulnerable, but highly intelligent woman like Sophie finds her way through the fall out.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Becky Scott VINE VOICE on December 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It took some time for the real meat of the plot to get going in this book. That said, it was interesting enough to keep me going since this book is set in a world I know pretty much nothing about. I am really glad that the heroine in this novel wasn't sitting around waiting to be rescued by her romantic interest. Sophie is a bit naive (in the beginning) and I'm a little surprised she lasted as long as she did in the cut throat world of Wall Street. She not only survives, but loves her job and the work she does. She realizes that she has to make decisions that are the best for her, not what everyone back home "thinks" is best for her. I like that.

The book was solid, interesting, and I enjoyed it. There were some plotlines that stumped me, though. Sophie likes to snoop in people's offices and it just didn't fit the story. It was never really explained to my satisfaction and it seemed like a cheap way to try and reveal (very little) information about some of the other characters. That part could go away and I don't think the novel would suffer much for its loss. The rest could be kept. I liked that the people in the book are flawed without being neurotic to the point of being annoying.

I'd be interested to see if the author writes a sequel or at least another book featuring Sophie. And I would check it out to see where Sophie lands next.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Diane VINE VOICE on November 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Last year I read a dynamite book about a woman working at one of Wall Street's big banks, Erin Duffy's Bond Girl. I loved it, putting it on my Best Of The Year list. Recently I had the opportunity to read another debut novel in the same setting by a woman who also worked in the industry, like Duffy. My return to that world was rewarded with another terrific read, Laura Hemphill's Buying In.

Sophie Landgraf grew up in a small town to parents who owned a sheep farm. They were hippies, and none too happy when their child decided to get a degree in finance and pursue a job with Sterling, one of the big New York City banks.

One of the first things we see Sophie doing is going through the desk drawers of the people whom she works for, trying to understand something about them. I liked this quirk of Sophie, and it gave us a look at the secret side of these single-minded people. She goes through her boss Ethan's desk.
"One peek inside his top drawer had been enough for Sophie. Swimming goggles, nail clippers, a Ferragamo tie wound into a tight coil, and packets of Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard. None of that compared to Ira Blumenstein's gold tooth, Kenneth Yang's Darth Vader lollipop, or Rich Angstrom's Magic 8 Ball."
Sophie is a first year hire, so she does all of the grunt work: research and plugging numbers into Excel formulas, then analyzing the data. This world is so foreign to me, and I was fascinated by my immersion into it, thanks to Hemphill's skilled storytelling.

Ethan's team consists of Vasu, an Indian man with a wife and two children he loves but rarely sees, and Sophie.
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More About the Author

After graduating from Yale in 2003, Laura Hemphill spent seven years on Wall Street, at Lehman Brothers, Credit Suisse, and hedge fund Dune Capital. She left finance to write Buying In. Her writing has appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek and on NewYorker.com. Laura and her husband live in Manhattan, where she's working on her second novel.

To learn more, visit laurahemphill.com.

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