Book Review: The Zeroes

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Lane, Randall. The zeroes : my misadventures in the decade Wall Street went insane. Portfolio, 2010.

Founder and editor-in-chief of Trader Monthly and Dealmaker magazines, Randall Lane, tells his company’s boom and bust story, with Wall Street’s mania and reckoning running in the background.  This engrossing story of greed and excess, of power and ego, flies high on wealth and materialism, but comes down in a crash with the 2008 Wall Street meltdown at the end.

The story begins in 2004 when Lane and partner Magnus Greaves launch Trader Monthly, a glossy magazine for, and about Wall Street traders.  A typical trader is a man under 30 earning $400,000 a year and spending all of it.  These men care deeply about who has the fastest car, the biggest watch and the most expensive vodka.  Trader Monthly treats these men as celebrities, displaying their vast wealth and boosting their egos.  Luxury goods advertisers like Gulfstream, Maybach and Bulgari are delighted with the marketing opportunities.

While his company generates few profits, Lane becomes a financial industry insider, rubbing elbows with the rich and powerful.   He sponsors outrageous events to create buzz for his company.  As the economy sours, he uses personal funds to bolster his company.  By 2008 he is unable to sell his company and his personal savings are depleted.  As the book ends, he has little to show for the decade, except this most entertaining story.

© Reviewer : Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

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