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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Money is certainly not everything
This book is very easy to read and entertaining. Not only is it extremely humorous in parts but it also conveys a real sense of the damage done to the well being of two individuals' wellbeing when they work in an environment where everything comes second place to the false god of money that modern society holds up as being so important. Everyone has to work if they want...
Published on 11 Dec 2007 by Mr X

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reads well but I found it a bit shallow
The book follows the careers of two college graduates who end up as first year analysts in an investment bank in the City. And of course - over the course of the year they fall for each other - so far, so predictable.

The good bit of the book are that it does portray the pointlessness and pain of analyst type work relatively well. It also brings across the slow...
Published on 17 Mar 2010 by AK


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reads well but I found it a bit shallow, 17 Mar 2010
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
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The book follows the careers of two college graduates who end up as first year analysts in an investment bank in the City. And of course - over the course of the year they fall for each other - so far, so predictable.

The good bit of the book are that it does portray the pointlessness and pain of analyst type work relatively well. It also brings across the slow slide into the abyss that most people working in the environment start experiencing in their personal lives. The characters are mostly rather two dimensional and flat - and no wonder, with no time for sleep or any intellectual stimulation not involving work (and from experience, rearranging slides and spreadsheets this way or that tends not to stimulate the mind all that much over longer periods) that is slowly what one tends to become. Another positive aspect is that the book does a good job of portraying how people, who've never experienced it personally tend not to understand what is going on in the industry or how people work so much (or what they do) - I can completely identify with the discussions described in the book happening in the family arena or the circle of friends. This is in a way where I see the success of the book - it does not try to make the investment banking look exciting or glamorous but shows a much grimmer, more realistic view.

In spite of this, the book is far from a five star in my opinion. What lets it down is the relatively predictable workplace romance, which is a bit contrived - although in principle statistically quite likely in the environment described - the general lack of humour (even if of the darker kind) and the already mentioned two dimensional characters. Neither Abby, nor Mike (the two protagonists) are very well developed and both seem to be more than a bit cliched.

Some other reviewers compared it to Liar's Poker: Playing the Money Markets but this is really a very different type of book - not meant as an analysis of an industry but more of what happens to the people within. A more comparable, and in my opinion vastly more entertaining and accomplished read would be Po Bronson's Bombardiers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Money is certainly not everything, 11 Dec 2007
This book is very easy to read and entertaining. Not only is it extremely humorous in parts but it also conveys a real sense of the damage done to the well being of two individuals' wellbeing when they work in an environment where everything comes second place to the false god of money that modern society holds up as being so important. Everyone has to work if they want to have a half decent life but this book shows what happens when the balance part of the "work/life balance" concept is forgotten.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Insight, 18 Jan 2007
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A very good and amusing account of working in the city. This is the first book that I have found that dared to delve deeper into the lives of the `Tube Sheep' community (quote Dave Holliman from Horsfall's `You Are Here') or the Sharp Suits with no scruples (McLaren's `Black Cabs'). It is a different life and not one I fancy if I'm honest.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air, 12 Oct 2006
By 
C. P. Sharp "bookwyrm" (Work) - See all my reviews
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Polly Courtney clearly knows the city. An honest - sometimes humourous, sometimes brutal - account of life as a "high flier", this book is a must-read for all those contemplating a life in city-banking or similar. Those working in the city will cringe, those unfamiliar to it will smile in disbelief. I advise you to read this insightful first release from a soon to be household name. More please!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait for the next one!, 24 Oct 2006
By 
I wish there were more writers out there like Polly! Intelligent, insightful and witty, really bringing each and every character to life. She draws you into the story and the emotions and turmoils that young graduates in the City face. I only wished I had read this before I leapt from university to my banking job, and didn't have to take 2 years of many gruelling days to realise that Banking isn't really the glitzy life the recruiters make out!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understand the First Year Analyst's Role in Life, 3 Jan 2008
By 
Norman Eskind (Dallas, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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A very funny romp in the City with only a small bit of over the top zaniness. Are women really treated this badly? As a retired stock broker in the USA, I would say that I saw worse behaviour in the USA than what is written in this very funny book. A lot worse. Read Susan Antilla's book, "Tales from the Boom Boom Room" for a true depiction of Wall Street antics. Does a Philip Oversby really exist? As depicted in this book, Oversby is a boy scout compared with what really exists in the world of Wall Street.

Yes, a lot of the work first year City analysts do is extremely "secretarial" in nature. Mainly, this job as a first year analyst is a training ground for people who are intelligent in their own right, but are not necessarily educated in the traditional sense for a career in investment banking. In this book, Abigail Turner is Cambridge Uni educated in physics, but only trained in New York for investment banking for a couple of months. How could a person who in university only a few months earlier would not have understood an interest payment from a dividend payment be a true analyst after only a couple of months training in the summer? The answer is, they are under the "protective" (or psychologically abusive) wing of the people to whom they report. This is why in the section discussing the annual self assessment, the analyst's self assessment is considered meaningless. These first year analysts are considered to be incapable of using a Kleenex to wipe their own noses. Their bosses want them to do intellectually menial work so thay will pick up the vocabulary and gain an understanding of the business that they didn't learn at Uni. It is basically on the job training that they would have learned in Uni had they studied business and economics. This way, by hiring people with various educations, once they know how to read a financial report, they will be able to use their field of expertise to assess a company in a particular industry. For instance, with a background in chemistry or biology, a person would be able to ask the management meaningful questions about their research programs and would be better able to determine their capabilities of discovering a new pharmaceutical drug, or even a bio-tech drug (made from a live protein). An engineer would know what it takes to create a new machine. In this respect, Polly Courtney has hit the nail on the head. Spot on.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read but nothing to write home about..., 6 Sep 2007
By 
N. Schelander (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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The book is a pretty good read but I was disappointed by the depth of the "war stories". I work in the City myself and I can't say that I recognise the analyst environment the author describes. She must have had a grim experience. If you're after a book around true stories and deal making, this book will disappoint. It really is more of a novel around a few analysts working and partying in the city.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Easy Reader, but no surprises and a Boxster definitely has an S!, 20 Jan 2014
By 
G. Davies (Weatherford TX USA) - See all my reviews
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I didn't mind this book. It's pretty much what you'd expect. I guess though it's suffered because now bankers are reviled and not 'worshipped' in the UK! So - they seem to spend a lot of time in the office doing very dull stuff, or not really having a clue what they do either! The politics is horrible. There are the usual idiotic employees, still -in the 21st century- landing well paid jobs because of Daddy. They drink too much and party hard. Their relationships outside of banking are usually going to end soon.
All quite depressing and no big surprise to me really.
However, it is a light read. Not compelling, but suited me for 30 minutes before sleeping :-D One thing that annoyed me was the misspelling of 'Boxster' - it has an S in it and the most minimal research would show this to be the case. That kind of small annoying lack of care meant I started to question the rest of the book. Which is silly, but is how my brain works.
I probably wouldn't buy any other books by this author, but it wasn't complete rubbish!
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3.0 out of 5 stars An okay read, 1 Jan 2014
This review is from: Golden Handcuffs: The Lowly Life of a High Flyer (Paperback)
The story and the characters have potential but I thought the book lacked depth. One gets an idea of the life of people in the financial world. I felt at times it was cliche-ridden.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Badly written, repetitive and predictable, 22 Dec 2013
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The story was repetitive, unimaginative and dull. Maybe something to read on a beach holiday, but gives little insight into the work of corporate banking, other than the long hours and competitiveness which one can easily imagine with more flair than Ms Courtney has managed in this novel. 'Feral Youth' was a much better read.
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Golden Handcuffs: The Lowly Life of a High Flyer
Golden Handcuffs: The Lowly Life of a High Flyer by Polly Courtney (Paperback - 14 Oct 2013)
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