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Full Circle: A memoir of leaning in too far and the journey back Paperback – March 20, 2016

4.2 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"With Full Circle: A memoir of leaning in too far and the journey back, Callan takes control of her controversial career story and tells it with candor and finesse and self-understanding that comes only after many years, much distance, and a slow recovery from her critical role in the rise and fall of one of Wall Street's most storied firms.  Beyond providing an insider's perspective that will engross people who savored Wall Street tomes like Too Big to Fail, Full Circle reveals details that make this book far more personal - and sometimes juicier - than the other books that have been published." -Fortune

"Callan wrote her book, Full Circle: A Memoir of Leaning In Too Far and the Journey Back, to try to share the lessons she learned--painfully and publicly--about the dangers of prioritizing one's career...  While the cautionary work-life balance angle of the book is powerful, Callan's memoir will also serve as an important part of the historical record of what went wrong at Lehman and on Wall Street in general. It offers a case study of the sort of overachiever personality that thrives in finance, which carried Callan to the top of the industry." - Bloomberg Business

"Former Lehman Brothers CFO Erin Montella's new memoir offers a unique perspective of the events that led to the financial crisis." - Wall Street Journal

"As someone who was named to Lehman's executive committee at the end of 2007, and thrust into the middle of the bank's demise almost immediately, Callan had remarkable proximity to one of the biggest financial collapses in modern history. Full Circle, in parts, delivers the juice some readers are likely coveting...  But dredging up Lehman dirt is not Callan's main focus in Full Circle...  In fact, the book actually reads as something of a love story.  It is an ode to a man she calls her savior and hero, Anthony Montella, a retired firefighter...   From the title onward, Full Circle is about Callan's pointed decision to lean out.  It is a choice that seems to have brought Callan much peace and happiness, and anyone who reads the book feels a sense of relief that she climbed out of her own darkness to get there." - Vanity Fair 

From the Inside Flap

In Full Circle, Erin Callan Montella traces her experiences as a young girl in Queens, New York to the highest-ranking woman on Wall Street during the financial crisis as chief financial officer of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Erin recounts her path of achievement starting as a promising young student and athlete and, ultimately, how she allowed her career and its demands to become the center of her life. She sacrificed all other priorities and relationships along the way, throwing work-life balance to the wind. The story reveals the subtleties of the everyday decisions that led collectively to a work-centric existence over a twenty-year career.

Set against the backdrop of the dramatic circumstances at Lehman Brothers in 2008, Erin discloses her own struggle as events spiraled out of control. Ultimately, her resignation from her executive role prior to the Lehman bankruptcy resulted in a devastating personal crisis as her career crumbled revealing no foundation beneath it. We learn of the journey back to change her life with a semblance of present day peace and happiness. Full Circle provides a unique inside and emotional perspective of the sacrifices Erin made to achieve extreme career success and the self-awareness required to return to being the fundamentally grounded person she was as a child.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Triple M Press (March 20, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0997382112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0997382112
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Surprisingly honest and raw. Worthwhile reading for aspiring high-flyers, overachievers, and ambitious professionals - men and women. Valuable insight into Lehman and Wall Street culture. Nice antidote to Sheryl Sandberg. Well-written. Kudos to Erin. HOWEVER, would be more powerful story if Erin now balancing vibrant professional life with motherhood. As it now stands, Erin was a professional and now is a mother, and that's her balance - to do only one thing well at a time, and be a cult-like devotee in the moment. Her Lehman fever has now been replaced by baby fever - more meaningful, yes, but "Full Circle" for all the wrong reasons. Erin, you can be both a professional and a mother.
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Format: Paperback
As a retail securities industry executive who examined her priorities and exited well before the 2008 crisis, I have followed Callan's story with some interest. The title is somewhat misleading as she has not returned to her high school success in balancing achievement with personal happiness, but she is obviously bright and has written a detailed account regaining some perspective. Women who attain positions of power are more vulnerable to our culture of narcissistic thoughts and behavior because they are more closely scrutinized, work harder and are paid less than men in the same positions, often forgo traditional gender roles and are sometimes promoted into positions for which they are ill-prepared to achieve diversity optics, rather than being coached into a "stretch" job. Until our boardrooms are conscientiously populated to look like our society, women and minorities will continue to navigate a perilous path to the top with little guidance, and too many are dropping out. I would love to see Callan Montella or perhaps someone more resilient (Sallie Krawcheck?) add to Sandberg's thoughts on what it might look like to "lean in" without sacrificing perspective and reasonable quality of life, and what corporations can do to change the dynamics.

As an aside on the issue of accountability, Callan's book is fairly transparent about her minor role in creating and managing Lehman's balance sheet. Wall Street CEO's and boards and our political "leaders" are accountable for the crisis, not mid-level execs promoted into scapegoat positions.
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Quick read, awesome book that every women should read whether she is off to Wall Street or on to any career. True story, to the point and something you need to learn from of "what NOT to do" early on in your career! Getting your priorities straight is difficult when your young and climbing the corporate ladder. When it is all said and done, you realize just how "unimportant all those long hours and time away from your personal life" really were.
Erin, I am happy you have found peace in your life and you have a happy ending! Congratulations, God only knows you went through hell and back and deserve to have YOUR story told.
Having been with the firm for over 20+ years I enjoyed reading your story which was funny at times and brutally honest. It is a shame that Lehman was the sacrificial lamb for the rest of Wall Street. Lehman was truly an incredible firm with some of the most brilliant minds and special people I had the pleasure to work with including yourself. I could relate on so many fronts and yes there is Life After Lehman!
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I worked at Lehman for 16 years and the people and culture there were nothing like the vicious and stereotype articles / books written post-2008.

Thank you Erin for putting a human element to the hard work & commitment the staff put into their work, there. And most of all, thank you for expressing the evolution that so many go through, trying to be successful before we all really understand what "success" really is. The photo cover of your book says it all. The pages inside are heartfelt and honest.

To the readers - buy it, read it, and contemplate it. Then go out and enjoy life's gifts.
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Format: Paperback
As working, single parent this book was touching. Erin comes across as honest and hardworking struggling to balance a career and a personal life. She doesn't have the answer but her sincerity is heart-warming.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A refreshingly honest, vulnerable, and thoughtful account of her career in investment banking. To echo the sentiments of another reviewer, Erin did an amazing service to public with her 2013 NYT article and much more with this book. This books describes what goes on for many individuals in the business, regardless of gender. I am thrilled Erin wrote this book, because Sheryl Sandberg's book truly doesn't do any justice for women who work in finance, law, and any other industry/role where hard work and brilliant execution is a expected from the onset. I hope those in business read this book and see what their business is missing out when expectations, pay, perceptions are out of whack.
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As a business woman and a mother, I enjoyed this book. Erin is like each one of us " putting her pants on one leg at a time." Sometimes one forgets we are all human with feelings and emotions and each one of us are doing the best we can at the moment. I am so happy for Erin and her family. I hope this book helps other women make the right choices for their life and do what is truly important and lasting. Life is too short to not pay attention to what truly lasts.
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