Why Banking Is a Movement

Sometimes you should judge a book by its cover.
Sometimes you should judge a book by its cover. Photo: Image courtesy of Hyperion

For the first time in at least a decade, it’s not a great time to be a banker in New York City. So one might think it’s not the best time for the satirical book Damn It Feels Good to Be a Banker. But as author Amit Chatwani of the Website Leveraged Sellout explains, if you’ve lost your high-powered banking job, you have plenty of time for new hobbies. Like reading.

Who is this book for?
I think it should be read by people in finance, people that want to be in finance, and people that hate people in finance. Or people that somehow are closely related to people in finance. That's basically the entire world. Even if you're not in finance, elitism is an accessible emotion.

Are outsiders reveling in the troubles on Wall Street this year?
You can see that in the media right now. Everybody is so stoked to take a potshot at the finance community. The envy is all over the place. If you're like a first-year analyst, you made more in your bonus than that person hating on you will make in six years. The word ‘banker’ generates such a visceral reaction, because finance dudes run New York City.

Do you think laid-off Wall Street employees will read the book?
Definitely. It's not the financial thing, it's about the mentality. Being a banker is just tight, even if you're playing Wii in your mom's basement. It's a group of people. It’s a movement.

What's going to happen to all those young dudes who were living the life you describe in that book?
A lot of them are traveling. Moving back home. Working in industry is a big thing. You get a corporate finance job at a Fortune 500 company.

Is that something they would have sneered at previously?
Yes, definitely.

What would your narrator do if that happened to him?
He'd never get fired because he's not bush league like that. He'd probably just go round up some family capital and start a fund.

I noticed there was nary a mention of Bear Stearns in it, or Lehman.
Even historically, Bear used to be just like this meathead shop. It came out in the media when they were described as cowboys — a lot of meathead dudes that weren't that smart and did a lot of blow.

Why didn’t you put your name on the book?
I didn't see any added value in slapping some Indian dude's name on there.