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Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals Hardcover – July 14, 2015

3.8 out of 5 stars 208 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A New York Times Bestseller
One of Entertainment Weekly’s 10 Must-Reads of Summer
A Time magazine Ultimate Summer Reads Pick
An Amazon Best Book of the Month in Business/Leadership & Humor/Entertainment


“Shocking and sordid—and so much fun.”New York Daily News

“Shots are drunk, nether parts are exposed and rubbed against food, bread rolls are hurled, drugs are inhaled and prostitutes paid. It’s Bertie Wooster’s Drones Club via the darker corners of Edward St. Aubyn and Bret Easton Ellis.”Wall Street Journal

“LeFevre . . . sharply observes the lives of globe-trotting, overindulging, investment bankers.”Entertainment Weekly

“If you thought the Wall Street culture portrayed in his tweets was bad, the one in LeFevre’s new book Straight to Hell is worse.”CNN Money

“LeFevre’s workplace anecdotes include tales of nastiness, sabotage, favoritism, sexism, racism, expense-account padding, and legally questionable collusion.”New Yorker

“Don't mistake this book for something it doesn't strive to be. The core themes of Straight to Hell survive attacks on its claims to credibility, and the book is not about boasting so much as entertainment. So should you read it? Maybe. It depends on your appetite for debauchery . . . Straight to Hell . . . offers a window into a deviant culture, and suggests the mechanisms by which it perpetuates itself, even in today’s climate.”Newsweek

“There's no question that [LeFevre] knows his way around the business, and it's a dirty one. There's collusion, competition, nepotism, and a whole lot of reprehensible stuff going on in the business side, and it's fascinating. . . . A great read.”Business Insider

“LeFevre’s stories are eye-opening. Also I’m pretty sure he confesses to several felonies, and there’s a price-fixing conference in a Hong Kong hotel room that I hope he ran by his lawyer. But you don’t want to read about bond deals. You want drugs and hookers. LeFevre delivers them with overwhelming force . . . Teenage boys at Choate will want to be investment bankers after reading Straight to Hell.”Bloomberg Businessweek

“LeFevre . . . has a clear talent for storytelling and writing.”Global Capital

“In some memoirs, the author tries to pull back the curtain to provide a glimpse into a particular time and place, but LeFevre attempts to rip the drapes right off. He gives a naked look at how business in the world of finance is conducted. LeFevre . . . doesn’t shy away from witnessing and partaking in some of the seedier antics . . . You may not like LeFevre's tact, but he knows what he's talking about.”—CNBC

“Informative and . . . highly entertaining . . . After all the wheeling and dealing, the drinking and snorting, the cheating and fucking, there is only John LeFevre, gleefully riding to hell and taking as many other sinners down with him as he can . . . LeFevre’s contributed a classic to the genre. Anyone interested in global finance, credit markets or cocaine-fueled debauchery should give it a read.”—Reformed Broker

“The Wall Street tell-all tome has been done before, but never quite like this. Straight to Hell is career suicide as literature; an interlude at a Filipino house of ill repute, all on its own, would be enough to render the author unemployable by any bank . . . If there were such a thing as witness protection for former bankers, John LeFevre would be eminently eligible.”Barron’s

“Reads like a frat boy’s fever dream of the highflying life: morning drinking, late-night drinking, and drinking all the hours in between; pranks, bar fights, cheating, travel, and prostitutes. . . . Equal parts fun and train wreck, this is a tale engineered to astonish.”Publishers Weekly

“Bad Behavior 101 . . . No, it’s not a day at Hunter S. Thompson’s ranch but . . . a day at an ordinary big ticket investment bank. . . . You’d be forgiven for keeping your money under the mattress henceforth.”Kirkus Reviews

“Stories . . . that entertainingly and unapologetically flesh out the excesses of the banking industry.”Library Journal

“Full of shocking lawlessness, boyish antics, and win-at-all-costs schemes, this is the definitive take on the excessive world of finance.”—IndieBound

“Shocking.”Times (UK)

“Beyond the shock factor, it’s the humour in the book that stands out. . . . [LeFevre] flinches from nothing: the Herculean inappropriateness of trading-floor antics, the hookers, the cocaine. . . . This book is going to annoy and offend a lot of people, with good reason. It is a vicious, vacuous, caustic world he illuminates. But it would be a shameful waste if we didn’t have LeFevre to find the humour in it all.”Euromoney

About the Author

John LeFevre has enjoyed a distinguished career in international finance. He joined Salomon Brothers immediately out of college, and worked for Citigroup in New York, London, and Hong Kong. In 2010 he was hired by Goldman Sachs to be head of Debt Syndicate in Asia, a position that he eventually did not take due to a contractual issue. He has written for Business Insider and has been interviewed about @GSElevator by the "New York Times," CNN, and other outlets.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (July 14, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802123309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802123305
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.3 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
4 1/2 stars. This book is great entertainment. It provides you with a rare opportunity to see the world of elite-level banking. The stories of deviance and debauchery are interesting. The persons involved are depicted in a very realistic and above all funny way. But this can be considered mere fun and trivia. As the author said in an interview, the real outrage comes from seeing how the bankers do business: they are all utterly corrupt.

I have recently read Ice-T's autobiography. There is a revealing quote in it:

"One thing I've learned from straddling two worlds: Hollywood is way more gangster than the streets. It comes down to this. The higher you go up the mountain, the colder it gets. I’ve been around some of the most ruthless gangsters in the streets of South Central L.A., but I’ve never seen anything like Hollywood’s gangsterism. When cats are dealing with billions of dollars, anybody—I mean, anybody—is expendable."

Now imagine that multiplied by a billion. The world of banking is corrupt to the bone. The difference is that the 'collateral damage' are whole states, millions of people who aren't even aware why the system works the way it does and why the bailouts always cost the common man and not the bankers themselves.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
LeFevre's book makes for breezy beach reading. There are a few nuggets of information here, but most of his stories merely confirm what we already know: investment banksters are greedy, amoral narcissists who focus their life upon making a lot of money. Many if not most of them are sociopaths who indulge their own squalid pleasures instead of attempting to lead a virtuous life. In fact, they resemble politicians and entertainers ... um, and a few academics whom I have known.

Whether it is worth the money and time a reader invests in it probably depends upon one's available wealth and leisure as well as upon one's interests. For my time and money, "Straight to Hell" is worth a quick laugh or two. In terms of abstract political-economic thought, Keynes and Hayek -- and their mutually respectful disputations -- remain unsurpassed in recent literature. The most valuable description of how The Money Power works today, IMHO, is still Doug Henwood's "Wall Street", to which I frequently return despite its age (1998).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're looking for one possible road to hell, among the many that exist, this could be an option. Wonderful, incredible, almost unbelieveable stories of deceit, greed and corruption. Lefevre has a knack for storytelling and making it hilarious in the process. This is in line with stories from other people's experience in the industry, and considering Lefevre's reputation I doubt there is little, if any, embellishment. Great read, must have been one wild ride.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let's be real. This isn't a classic. This isn't literature. It's entertainment. But is it ever entertaining! I read this book quickly on a trip and couldn't help but laughing throughout out loud. Don't believe half of it, but the likely embellished stories are definitely a riot and worth the read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like it. I started reading this on the train and it started off great- then the cockiness started to be a little too exaggerated to believe. I knew what I was getting into with this book, and I hope that when I pick it up again that I wind up changing my review to 5 stars. But we're just not there yet.
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Format: Hardcover
Boring. Stories seem to be all the same. Maybe I am numb, but none of this was shocking. It sounds like typical college partying and pranks but on a larger budget. Reconfirms that the assumptions we all make about Wall Street are true.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pretty funny book. If you were a regular reader of the overheard on Goldman Sachs elevator site you will find it amusing. Others may find it a bit over the top with very repetitive type of stories. Interesting behind the scenes stories of a trading desk though.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
the human beings who run our financial system.
That aside, it's an entertaining read that sounds a lot more like fiction than reality (one can only hope), but there are some incredibly funny passages - the private jet is one.
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