Wall Street and Silicon Valley are two of the most elusive and exclusive business capitals in the world. Teeming with über wealthy businesspeople, landing a position in either of these locales may seem like the ultimate dream … until you actually get there — and experience the fierce pressures that bring out the best (and often, the worst) in people.
This selection of books includes stories both true and fictitious sharing one common theme: they reveal exactly what happens behind the curtain at the companies that dominate the global financial and technology markets and the cutthroat environments in which their employees work.
Fellows has delved deep into his own career to create this satirical novel about Giles Goodenough, hedge fund manager. With a dash of humor, he offers an insider’s take on exactly what life is like behind the doors of multi-billion dollar companies. Giles searches for meaning in his life while incorporating off-beat jokes and innuendos about “selling his soul” and getting a little too close with his neurotic boss. This book also breaks down the hype of working in tech and seeks to warn others about stepping into this bizarre industry. Fellows writes a cautionary tale of the thinly veiled true characters he spent his days surrounded by and how each helped him realize that his own life was becoming devoid of meaning outside of his work. For fans of harsh humor and larger-than-life storytelling, Fellows’s book is a must-read. Read our full review here.
After Jerry Klein is promoted from his robot-like routine as a minter to managing director of a major New York City bank, more than his day-to-day responsibilities shift. He quickly discovers a company culture characterized by violations of federal law and a massive insider trading scandal. From here, he is forced to confront the reality of his career choice and decide if it’s worth it to risk it all for a shot at reaping the rewards of a multi-million dollar scheme. This tale of high-stakes trading and questionable ethics will intrigue Wall Street vets and business beginners alike.
This novel documents protagonist Warren Hament’s entry into the world of corporate finance in the early 1980s. He experiences the glamorous life of the Wall Street elite and receives a promotion early on in his career. While this may sound like an ideal situation, his promotion comes with a major caveat — Warren is replacing his recently-murdered mentor. Simultaneously, he takes on his new role and finds himself at the epicenter of a double murder investigation, seeking justice in the deaths of two Wall Street magnates. Offit’s novel exposes the culture of abuse and corruption on Wall Street while revealing how only the most power-hungry businessmen are willing to pay the ultimate price. Read our full review here.
Wiener’s extraordinary memoir about navigating Silicon Valley during the height of a cultural shift provides a glimpse behind the curtain of the companies that claim to be building the future. She lifts the veil on corporations with cushy perks and all-expenses-paid retreats to prove that an in-office happy hour only goes so far in winning employee loyalty. This book paints a portrait of the misogyny, disillusionment and quest for progress at any cost that live at the core of the bubble-like world that is Silicon Valley. This tale of life at a big-data startup will certainly appeal to Millennials with its relatable messaging and emphasis on trying to make an impact in your career while also chasing personal satisfaction and holding true to your values.
The Circle is the world’s premier internet company, boasting immense power and nearly impossible-to-land positions. When Mae Holland is offered a role in the company, her dream come true rapidly turns into a living nightmare. She begins to lose touch with the world beyond her company’s sprawling campus and in-office dorms. Mae’s memories begin to fade and she loses sight of who she once was. The story takes a tragic turn, though, when Mae realizes that her entire life is far more public than she ever intended for it to become. The Circle forces readers to examine the limits of human knowledge, as well as seek to question where our privacy is sacrificed for the sake of corporate gain. Are tech companies pushing the limits of democracy at our expense? This novel may just answer this question.
Ho channels Isaac Newton in her Wall Street commentary, Liquidated. The author describes markets with a “what goes up, must come down” viewpoint and uses this same justification for inevitable financial crashes. In this book, she seamlessly combines her immense knowledge of market systems with a sociological approach to the Wall Street workplace. Liquidated offers readers a chance to understand how markets work and the wavering stability of the economy while also dissecting how the financial industry is full of graduates of top-tier universities who have benefited from systems of privilege. If you have ever wanted to understand nearly everything there is to know about the people and programs that comprise the lower Manhattan locale, this is certainly the read for you.
Flash Boys is the ultimate Wall Street exposé. This bestseller follows a squad of skeptics as they seek to reveal how market systems are rigged to benefit those involved most closely in their practices. They give up their high-paying jobs and luxurious lifestyles in order to launch a massive investigation into the strange, and oftentimes illegal, methods that Wall Street uses to generate billions of dollars for its most valued investors. While the average American may feel a sense of distance from this web of intricate financial happenings, the author believes that anyone with a savings account is falling victim to the very schemes the Flash Boys are working to bust.
Martinez uncovers some of the most little-known mysteries about our favorite apps in his book, Chaos Monkeys. This title alludes to a computer-generated software that tests online services’ response rates to suspicious activities and data overloads. Chaos monkeys are unleashed to simulate spikes in traffic and random system failures, which perfectly mirror the unpredictable conditions present in the world of tech startups and media magnates. The author recounts his experiences as the CEO of his own company, working for Facebook’s advertising team, and how he was forced out when monetization strategy disputes lead to a warlike office environment. After settling into a role at Twitter, Martinez recounts his experiences in this humorous narrative on social media, online marketing and how the tech industry is taking over our world.
Theranos has consistently made headlines over the past few years for its failed attempts at revolutionizing medical technology. The company was valued at $9 billion, quickly making its founder, Elizabeth Holmes, a billionaire. The issue arose, though, when multiple clinical trials revealed that the blood-testing system did not actually work. This Silicon Valley screwup led to thousands of misdiagnoses and unnecessary treatments, costing patients millions of dollars in medical bills, as they were treated for conditions they did not actually have. This blunder is considered one of the largest corporate fraud schemes in history as Holmes worked tirelessly to ensure that this news never broke. Eventually, it did and Bad Blood tells the full tale of the entrepreneur’s inability to swallow her pride, putting droves of Americans in danger.
Gabby is a recent graduate of Fairfield University with a degree in communication and minors in political science and sociology. In her free time, she enjoys working out, trying new restaurants and watching reality TV. She loves a good love story and lives for a little bit of drama.