Monday, 10 October 2016

Review: Bombardiers

Bombardiers Bombardiers by Po Bronson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The book is overall an easy read and almost like watching tabloid television, what with all the misfit mortgage-backed security salespeople and the anecdotal narrative. I had a lot of laughs. It is helpful to hit the ground floor running as there is a lot of industry jargon. I briefly worked an institutional sales floor -in a past life- and you can tell the author was in the business; this is an inside job. I think the character Mark 'Eggs' Igino may be a foil for the author. He's the new guy who seems to have both talent and a conscience, and we hang our hopes on him to maybe find a way out of an ultimately degrading profession. Everyone's in the game for quick money and devoting a few solid years (body, mind and soul) to 'the company' for financial security for themselves and their families. The company gets to treat them like dogshit. They bounce you at any time for any reason with 15 minutes notice. They bark at you like a boot camp drill sergeant. They spy on you and steal your phone records, all in the name of protecting trade secrets. They use your vices and vulnerabilities against you to keep you docile in your chair for 12+ hours a day. The author tracks the lives of several company men and women and they do indeed have the elements of the horror stories we hear about a life in high finance (misogyny, greed, deception, adultery, addiction). All wrapped up in a closed system of money chasing money in an abstract, global, electronic market. One of the telling moments is when Igino demands to hold a real-live paper bond in his hands so he can see what he's really selling - the company is horrified! Good luck getting out because your ass is owned!

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