Damn, It Feels Good To Be A Banker: Book Review

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I don’t often write book reviews on Mergers & Inquisitions (in fact, this is the first one I’ve ever done), and for good reason: there aren’t that many new books out there which are both relevant and entertaining to those breaking into investment banking.

Sure, you have the old favorites – Monkey Business, Liar’s Poker and Barbarians At The Gate, but those are all at least a decade old.

The Accidental Investment Banker was a good addition to the mix last year, but it was more informative than it was entertaining. I’d still recommend it to anyone interested in banking, of course, but don’t expect to be rolling on the floor laughing.

Fortunately, my craving for an informative and entertaining investment banking book was satisfied this past weekend when I received my advance copy of Damn, It Feels Good To Be A Banker: And Other Baller Things You Only Get To Say If You Work On Wall Street, the new book by The Leveraged Sellout.

It Does Feel Good To Be A Banker

Although I’m a huge fan of the site, I had no idea what to expect for the book. Would it be a re-hash of the (still good) content on Leveraged Sellout? Entirely new satirical pieces? Lots of blank pages followed by a section on models and bottles?

I was pleasantly surprised by the format: the book is written from the perspective of “Logan,” a 24-year old Princeton graduate who moved to New York in the fall of 2005 to work at a bulge bracket investment bank.

Each chapter of the book chronicles a different aspect of his life, from what banking is all about to how you get in (investment banking interviews and investment banking resumes) to culture: girls, partying and entertainment.

Although everything is written in the satirical style for which Leveraged Sellout has become famous, each chapter – especially the early ones on what bankers actually do – is highly informative. There’s even a section on investment banking resume and investment banking cover letter tips.

The only thing missing: a chapter on the art of the farewell email. But hey, he did cover that one on the site before

Parental Advisory: Elitist Content

I’m not going to lie – some of the content in Damn, It Feels Good To Be A Banker might offend you. Even if you’re perfectly fine with elitism, if you’re female the chapter on girls (“Mergers are a girl’s best friend”) and his characterization of “Banker Chicks” might go over the top.

If you’re international, you might want to skip over the section on diversity (“Diversity is one of our core values”). And if you work in the back or middle-office at a bank, “Logan” has some strong words for you in the “Holla back, office!” chapter.

Personally, I found everything hilarious – but then I’m not offended by much and only my geography was made fun of. Let’s face it, you’re just not a banker if you’re outside New York (kidding, kidding).

Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery

There are a few existing Leveraged Sellout pieces that are re-used in the book, including my personal favorite – on why you shouldn’t use the mouse in Excel.

However, they are skillfully woven into the chapters and add value to each section rather than seeming like a re-hash.

And there are plenty of new Leveraged Sellout-style articles in the form of “Case Studies,” covering state schoolers, the benefits and charities bankers donate to and more.

Errata For The First Printing

Reading through this fine work of art while off in nature this past weekend (the joys of being a former investment banker), I saw only 3 things I disagreed with in the book:

  1. The example “Cover Letter” is admirable, but sorry, we still don’t read them (exceptions apply for smaller firms).
  2. Sorry, Sex and the City is not a “Banker TV show.” I know of no males who watch this or will admit to watching it. Good job with listing Entourage and The Sopranos, though.
  3. You estimate the cost of an entire Bespoke wardrobe for an MD at… “######” Whoops – poor attention to detail there (hint: the Excel shortcut to properly re-size a column is Alt-O-C-A). By my calculations it runs to $68,000 – please fix and have it on my chair by morning.

Living The Dream

So, who should buy Damn, It Feels Good To Be A Banker?

  • Anyone interested in investment banking or the finance industry in general
  • Anyone attempting to break into these industries
  • Anyone who enjoys reading Leveraged Sellout
  • (Basically, anyone who reads this site)

Your assignment for the weekend: buy this book. Live the dream.


About the Author

is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys learning obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, and traveling so much that he's forced to add additional pages to his passport on a regular basis.

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15 Comments to “Damn, It Feels Good To Be A Banker: Book Review”

Comments

  1. says

    If there is anything better than living the IB life, its reading about it. Wait, reverse that. Reading doesnt take 16 hours/day, 7 days/week.

    More important than the farewell email would be a chapter on the art of being laid off. I hear that’s the hot trend these days. If you only did your analyst program frmo 2005-2007, you haven’t really experienced what its like to work in finance.

    -CT
    http://www.deltahedged.com

    • says

      Yeah the layoff chapter would have been a good one, but then he might have discouraged prospective bankers from getting into this amazing industry. :)

  2. Zee says

    Great post, The Leveraged Sellout has some of the most entertaining articles I have read.

    I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the actual book and for $11.16, the book is a steal.

    On a side note, it is refreshing to to see more and more variety in your posts, keep it up.

  3. RockR says

    For those persons interested in what investment banking is really about and possess a reading (and maturity) level above the 8th grade, I would recommend William Cohan’s “The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Freres & Co.” published in 2007.

  4. says

    I read an excerpt and it was very funny, but there was an author bio that stated leveraged sell out isn’t actually a banker. Is this true?

    • says

      True, he’s actually a consultant/web entrepreneur. He lived in an apartment with banker friends from Princeton when he graduated so he got to see firsthand the lifestyle and everything, but he’s never been a banker.

      I was pretty surprised too – I couldn’t really tell based on the book or the LSO site…

  5. says

    I was surprised he wasn’t a banker too. After reading this book and leveraged sellout blog, it appears that he has a solid grasp of the analyst role. Damn it feels good to be a banker was really amusing. Almost a foil to Monkey Business.

    • says

      Yeah, I guess since he lived with 8 or 9 other banks, it’s easy to pick up on the lifestyle, lingo, and such – the only way to tell he didn’t work in banking was through some slight inconsistencies in the text (e.g. the part about cover letters, which large banks rarely look at).

  6. Z-Man says

    Thanks for the recommendation on the book! It was a great read. “After a hard day of M&A, there’s nothing like bringing home some T&A.” –Haha !

  7. Ryan says

    I would actually argue the “######” in the wardrobe section was done intentionally. The # signs show up to indicate the value is too large to fit in the cell, and I think the point he was trying to get across was that the MD’s wardrobe was so expensive that it wouldn’t even fit in the same cells as the analyst, associate, or intern.

    Overall, great read and very funny. I’m currently a student at a non-target on the west coast breaking into investment banking, so a lot of the material ripped on me, but I still found everything hilarious.

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