The Buy Side

Posted on 05/05/2016 in misc

The Buy Side by Turney Duff

Turney Duff was a wide eyed and naive Ohio University journalism graduate ready to make his mark in NY as a writer. Instead, when he can’t get a job writing he calls an uncle who works on the Street, and ends up at Morgan Stanley. From there, Turney takes us on a wild ride as he goes from Morgan Stanley lackey to 7 figure hedge fund trader. If you’ve seen the movie Wall Street you know how this story goes. As a buy side analyst, the sell side guys need him to call them to make the trades. Given the size of the commission checks on the line, there really is no limit to what the sell side guys will do to earn that call. Turney has everything, money, power, influence, and yet at the same time he has nothing. He ends up checking into $400 a night hotels to snort coke and watch porn all night, even though his girlfriend and baby daughter are back home. A couple of failed tries at rehab later, his girlfriend has split with the kid and the 2008 real estate crash has taken his $10,000 a month Long Island mansion. The book ends with Turney happy and clean, eeking out a living as a writer, from a 1 bedroom apartment in Queens.

For me, the most interesting thing about this book was the inside look at what a hedge fund trader does all day. It seems like Turney made a million plus each year without adding any actual value to the economy. He mostly just shuffled money from here to there, taking a few points off each transaction and getting rich in the process. I almost quit reading in the middle when it was just party after party, bar after bar, hot woman after hot woman, and line of coke after line of coke. I’m glad I stuck with it though as Turney’s fall from the top is a great story, and a great example of the adage power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Within the small circle of hedge funds on Wall Street, Turney had power, and it absolutely corrupted him.

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