Den Of Thieves: The Psychopathology Of The Big 4 Banks: The Memoirs Of A Millennial’s Wall Street Career, by Anthony Matthews
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Books Go Social. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
This book is part memoir and part investment guide, and even if some of the hints appear to be more than a little bit dodgy, this is an immensely likable book. The author comes off as someone who says what he thinks and is not concerned about being praised by the mainstream, and he also appears to have his ear to the ground when it comes to recognizing patterns and trends of behavior. Despite my own reservations about cryptocurrency  and my general aversion to marijuana or casual drug use of the kind the author writes about, he seems like someone who would be entertaining to talk to. When it comes to a book like this, whether one likes the approach of the writer–who is admittedly a pretty unconventional guy who does not follow social norms and clearly was drawn to investment banking in part because of his own anti-establishment tendencies–matters a great deal more than it might at other occasions.
In terms of its contents, this book is not very well organized. It contains a psychoanalysis of the investment banking world, contains some lively criticism of CNBC as well as noted experts like Warren Buffet who are perhaps a few decades past their prime, and contains the author discussing his work experiences snorting cocaine and his first sexual experience, interrupted when the girl’s father, an angry police officer, caught him in flagrante delicto. The rest of the short book (just over 50 pages), consists of the author’s recommendations as far as EFT’s and cryptocurrencies are involved. He’s very bullish on crypto, very bearish on the financial sector (especially Bank of America), and is very high on stocks and EFT’s that deal in cannibus and related matters. Knowing that is more or less what you need to know going into it as to whether this book is something whose advice can be taken seriously. I am deeply doubtful as to whether I would ever trust the author with my money, but I would be entertained to see him across from a dinner table at a restaurant or on television, and that is probably what he is aiming for.
A book like this reminds one that investment bankers are people. Sometimes they are not very good people–often their morality is highly dubious. But people who are not good people can still be people whom it is entertaining to read, not least to see what sort of mindset makes it in contemporary investment. The author is not a ringing endorsement for his field as a whole, but he is someone who comes off as honest. This is not someone who mouths platitudes or nods to the tendency of contemporary businesses to want to appeal to the social justice crowd. Rather, this author tells you exactly what he has done–in fairly vivid detail–and without a great deal of apologies. Whether or not one trusts the author or takes his advice seriously, he is someone who is knowledgeable about the general moral corruption of contemporary banking and investment, and he speaks with authority on issues of moral corruption. Whether or not that is something to be proud of, it does make a firm foundation for this true crimes book, which details his own immoral and illegal behavior and that of others, and points to the sort of approach that it takes to succeed in the business world if one wants to be a wolf of wall street.
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