7 Jun 2012

Review: "Cityboy" by Geraint Anderson

Ever wondered why bankers make so much money? This book won't give you the answer but it will tell you all sorts of other things about bankers... Stuff that seems too outrageous to be true. Now, I am not one for generalisations but Geraint Anderson, author of "Cityboy Beer and Loathing in the Square Mile" is quite a credible storyteller. He started writing the "Cityboy" column for a London newspaper, while working in banking and has years in the industry to use as material for what is a semi-biographical book.

"Cityboy" is the story of a young man, a real hippy with a German-inspired ponytail and an aspirational goatee, who is offered a job in the city as a stockbroker after a rather haphazard job interview that takes place in a noisy pub. He jumps on the chance to make some money but as the years roll by and he finds himself becoming more and more successful at work, he seems to lose himself more and more in a spiral of drugs, greed and gold diggers. 
Driven by a serious competitive streak, our hero fights his way through an incredibly large number of boozy lunches, dinners that turn into all-nighters and all-day drinking sessions that turn into cocain-fuelled mornings after. On this journey from innocent hippy to disillusioned professional, our hero meets some pretty stereotypical people who all represent a certain type of person that the author has met in his working life in city and they help illustrate the tale of craziness. From the self-made trader with a penchant for stripper and orange-tanned Essex golddiggers to the mathematical genius with no social skills, it is a parade of stereotypes but somehow it works. 

So what did I make of this book? It is somewhere in that strange grey zone between fact and fiction but most of all it is fun. Don't read it for the prose because in terms of writing, it's no beauty - at times it is even a bit annoying. Don't read it for the opinions on the world of finance, there are better books for that. Read it for the humour and the stereotypes. Read it to recognize people you meet on the tube in the morning and to appreciate your own colleagues more. 

Read it if: Your favourite book is "Liar's Poker" by Michael Lewis. Your or your partners works in banking. You are a part of the Occupy movement and want to hear the nasty tales from an insider. 

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