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"What profit a man...."?,
This review is from: Trading With the Enemy: Seduction and Betrayal on Jim Cramer's Wall Street (Hardcover)
Each year, thousands of eager and ambitious young women and men arrive on Wall Street. What we have here is Maier's account of what happened to him after he relocated from Cambridge (MA) in 1994 and went to work for Cramer & Company, a hedge fund. He made a total commitment to advancing his career and eventually was entrusted with managing an investment fund of approximately $50-million. His is an insider's unique and compelling interpretation and evaluation, not only of his own experiences but also of Jim Cramer and the firm he founded and headed. As I began to read this book, I realized that its title lends itself to all manner of interpretation. For example, who is the "enemy"? Those with whom one competes for career advancement, obviously, but also those psychological forces which require trade-offs when ethics are in conflict with expediency. (Pogo once suggested that "we have met the enemy and he is us.") Maier and Cramer worked closely together and then, for various reasons which Maier explain in this book, he left the firm after five years. By then he and Cramer had become enemies and are now involved in litigation.
It is important to keep in mind that personal accounts such this are necessarily selective and subjective. (The same is true of Cramer's Confessions of a Street Addict.) There are specific reasons why this book's subtitle is "Seduction and Betrayal on Jim Cramer's Wall Street." Maier acknowledges that he was seduced by the opportunities he pursued while employed by Cramer & Company. Eventually, he felt betrayed by Cramer and explains why. That relationship reminds of the character Bud Fox played by Charlie Sheen in the film Wall Street. He is dazzled by the business success and lifestyle of Gordon Gecko, the character played by Michael Douglas. Much of what motivated Fox also motivated Meier. Moreover,when the film concludes as Fox and Gecko are headed for federal prison, Fox's opinion of Gecko is strikingly similar to Meier's opinion of Cramer when their five-year association ends in 1995.
It remains for each reader to decide to what extent Meier is responsible for what happened to him, and, to what extent Cramer should be blamed. My own opinion is that neither emerges as an especially sympathetic character by book's end. Both seem to be inevitable products of a materialistic society in which, if "greed is good," wealth and power are even better. But the question remains, "what profit a man...."?