Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Wall and Mean: A Novel Hardcover – May 17, 2007
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
From Publishers Weekly
George Wilhelm gets his kicks from sex, bond trading and gambling in this promising debut, which mixes those volatile elements with Tarantino-style violence. In 1993, George, a rookie Wall Street trader, is trying to make his mark in the cutthroat emerging markets funds. If the financial jargon Bernard uses is arcane, the frenetic pace and high-stakes maneuvers still emerge clearly. When paper success (low salary but prospects for high bonuses) goes to George's head, he ups his bets on sporting events to levels that leave him facing financial disaster. Suddenly, he's in over his head with a pair of sadistic debt collectors, who get their best ideas from movies like Reservoir Dogs. George is forced to concoct a scheme that will keep his bosses from learning about his problems and earn enough money to get him out of the jam. Bernard, himself a former bond trader, keeps upping the ante as his hero's choices get more and more desperate. George's transformation from brash risk-taking gambler and lover of the high life to gritty survivor is well done, but the rather saccharine ending isn't terribly convincing. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
In his twenty-eight years on Wall Street, Tom Bernard ran numerous trading businesses for Salomon Brothers, Kidder Peabody, and Lehman Brothers. He lives in Aspen, Colorado, with his wife, Sallie, and three sons.
Top customer reviews
What is successful in this book are the scenes involving stale trading floor antics, overstated trader debaucheries, and recycled Wall Street anecdotes. It is always fun to recall Wall Street excesses brought to literary light in "Liars Poker" and the rest of the Street tell-alls. Read those books instead.
This book breaks no new ground and if not for its one redeeming value, I would have demanded a refund. The author's proceeds are given to autism research, which is quite a worthy cause. But I cannot recommend the book for that reason alone, rather you should donate the entire cost of the book to autism research and cut out the middle-man.
While struggling to pay the weekly vig, George comes up with an elaborate scheme to raise the sum he needs to get out from under the threat of bodily harm, taking on a partner to accomplish the sophisticated plan that is inspired by the intricacies of trading in which he excels. One step ahead of the violence that awaits his failure, George juggles work, romance and an increasing panic, mixing with men of questionable repute from Miami to the Bahamas, desperate to escape his compromising circumstances and go back to a normal life. Although George's plan will make more sense to anyone familiar with the vagaries of stocks and hedge funds, clearly the risk is significant, both personally, in his career and potentially, his life.
A former stock broker, the author molds his tale around a young man's hubris and his unfortunate susceptibility to the vice of gambling. George skates to the limit and back over one harrowing long weekend, learning quickly the duplicity of greed. Although the author attempts a bit of American Psycho gallows humor at the end, the whole is uneven, the brutality of George's choices an uncomfortable match with his levity. One is never sure if Wilhelm is a genius or a fool; he is, however, unlikable, as are the rest of the characters, either too self-centered or stereotypical to leave a lasting impression. (A caveat: you can't ignore Bernard's generosity; proceeds from the sale of Wall and Mean go to Autism Speaks and Safe Minds.) Luan Gaines/2007.