Saturday, February 16, 2013

Table of Contents

Willem de Kooning, Excavation, 1950
Willem de Kooning, Excavation, 1950
And so to my third contention: we overvalue new writing, almost absurdly so, and we undervalue older writing. I feel this market failure keenly each day when I recommend a fine piece of writing that deserves to be read for years to come and yet will have at most two days in the sun.

You never hear anybody say, “I’m not going to listen to that record because it was released last year,” or, “I’m not going to watch that film because it came out last month.” Why are we so much less interested in journalism that’s a month or a year old?

...

Online, that distinction disappears – or it should. You can call up a year-old piece as easily as you can call up a day-old piece. And yet we hardly ever do so, because we are so hardly ever prompted to do so. Which condemns tens if not hundreds of thousands of perfectly serviceable articles to sleep in writers’ and publishers’ archives, written off, never to be seen again.


— Robert Cottrell, Net wisdom

The art and practice of blogging lives in the moment. It is ephemeral, reactive, both responsive and contributory to what Frank Herbert, the author of that wise sociology and psychology manual Dune called the “ghafla distraction.”

It should be easy to mine the corpus of a blogger’s work for buried treasure. The tools are all here: hyperlinks, index labels,1 search boxes. Anything you want should be a mere mouse click or three away. Time, location, and dry rot play no role in the storage and retrieval of digital works archived in gleaming photons and electrons. But I know from personal experience that we do not do that. We view blogs as resolutely and ineluctably topical things, articles and ideas of the moment. They daily float down the river of information, entertainment, and distraction that races past our doorstep. We pick them up sometimes as they pass and turn them over in our hands, perhaps adding our own thoughts and reactions to the stream, but ultimately we toss them back in, almost never to revisit them again. I know: I have saved hundreds of articles and blog posts to read again in my browser’s favorites folder, but I almost never go back into that disorganized, daunting mess to pull up the one I dimly remember.

So I have decided to experiment here, creating a topical index or table of contents for posts which I feel are worth saving and rereading. It will be composed of posts that I think are worthwhile, not necessarily ones which have generated the most page views or reader reaction. And I will organize them by topic so a reader looking for posts on private equity, Goldman Sachs, or humor can find what I consider to be the most worthy neatly arranged in one clean, well-lighted place. I expect I will revise this post intermittently, and I will link to it from the home page from the masthead “About This Site.”

I encourage interested readers who wish to nominate posts or topics for inclusion here to email me their suggestions at epicureandealmaker [at] hushmail [dot] com. Visit early and often, and enjoy.

And if any of you benighted creatures ever doubted that I have a tendency toward prolixity, let this modest catalogue persuade you otherwise. Cheerio.

* * *

[Last revised, amended, or added to: March 29, 2014]

INVESTMENT BANKING
A. The History and Nature of the Industry

  1. Woe Is Me (March 1, 2007) – Why there is no such thing as “relationship banking” anymore
  2. Go West, Young Sheik (September 12, 2007) – Investment banks as networks
  3. The K-T Boundary (September 16, 2008) – Ancient and recent history
  4. It’s Not the Meat, It’s the Motion (July 15, 2009) – Boutique-land
  5. Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: Part I (September 24, 2009) – My magnum opus
  6. Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: Part II (September 25, 2009) – Opus, part 2
  7. Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: Part III (September 28, 2009) – Opus, part 3
  8. Nature Red in Tooth and Claw: Part IV (September 29, 2009) – Opus, conclusion
  9. A Client Is Not a Counterparty (November 27, 2010) – Market-making vs proprietary trading
  10. Pay Close Attention, Ladies and Gentlemen... (February 5, 2011) – Structured products as soda pop
  11. Twilight of the Übermenschen (May 1, 2011) – Investment banks as networks, redux
  12. Investment Banks of the Plain (August 14, 2011) – Why hedge fund managers make lousy owners of investment banks
  13. A Victim of Soycumstance (September 24, 2011) – The fundamental tension at the heart of investment banking
  14. Three’s a Crowd (March 19, 2012) – The problem with shareholders
B. The Vexed and Contentious Issue of Investment Banker Pay
  1. Eat the Bankers (January 9, 2008)
  2. Armageddon Rag (January 15, 2008)
  3. Armageddon Outta Here (January 16, 2008)
  4. The Pressure Room (January 16, 2008)
  5. Just When I Thought I Was Out (January 21, 2008)
  6. Penny for the Guy (February 26, 2008)
  7. Ring, Ring! It’s the Cluephone, for You (October 30, 2008)
  8. Five Pound Box of Money (February 9, 2009)
  9. Never Say Never (September 9, 2009)
  10. The Root of Some Evil (January 8, 2012)
  11. Defending the Indefensible (September 22, 2012)
C. Initial Public Offerings and Other Arcana
  1. Mine’s Bigger than Yours (April 14, 2007) – Why league tables matter
  2. Recipe for Success (October 19, 2007) – M&A is like book publishing
  3. True Story (December 7, 2007) – Are fairness opinions really necessary?
  4. Killing People Is a Bad Habit (August 28, 2009) – Engagement letters
  5. Come Fly With Me (February 12, 2011) – Business travel
  6. Eight Reasons Not to Hire an M&A Advisor. And One Reason to Do So (May 14, 2011)
  7. Jane, You Ignorant Slut (May 21, 2011)– IPOs
  8. Dan, You Pompous Ass (May 22, 2011) – More on IPOs
  9. Size Matters (March 21, 2012) – IPOs, redux
  10. As Long as the Right People Get Shot (May 30, 2012) – Even more—heaven help us—on IPOs
  11. Go Ask Alice (September 14, 2013) – You guessed it: IPOs. This time, Twitter’s
D. Career Management
  1. Life During Wartime (March 18, 2007) – Being a junior banker can suck
  2. Wherein I Go Mosquito Hunting with a Howitzer (October 12, 2009) – What makes investment banking so appealing?
  3. If the Phone Don’t Ring, You’ll Know It’s Me (October 1, 2011) – Career advice
  4. In the Nation’s Service (December 29, 2011) – Banking ain’t so bad
  5. Can’t Buy Me Love (April 29, 2012) – Don’t get trapped by the money
  6. The Rules (November 29, 2012) – Live by these
  7. Curriculum Vitae (March 10, 2013) – What does an M&A or corporate finance banker’s career really look like?
  8. Go Ahead, Live a Little (May 12, 2013) – Are sabbaticals a good idea for investment bankers? (No)
  9. To Whom It May Concern (August 13, 2013) – Don’t underestimate the effect of luck on your career
  10. The Invention of Leisure (November 12, 2013) – Junior banker hours
  11. A Fine Disregard for the Rules (January 14, 2014) – More junior banker hours
  12. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (February 2, 2014) – Women and banker hours
THE DISTAFF SIDE
  1. Fingernails that Shine Like Justice (May 21, 2007) – Where are all the women in finance?
  2. Thank You for Smoking (August 6, 2010) – What is it with men, anyway?
  3. She’s Got Legs (June 11, 2011) – Fashion advice
  4. Too Funky for Me (August 31, 2011) – The market for erotic capital
  5. Miss Lonely Hearts (November 26, 2011) – Office romance
  6. She’s Trading Her MG for a White Chrysler LeBaron (March 2, 2013) – Women continue to not make progress in banking
  7. I, Fembot (September 8, 2013) – Don’t be one
  8. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (February 2, 2014) – Women hate banker hours, too
PRIVATE EQUITY AND OTHER INIQUITIES
  1. Cognitive Dissonance (January 25, 2007)
  2. The Beginning of the War Will be Secret (April 30, 2007)
  3. Tax Breaks for Everyone! (June 14, 2007) – Carried interest
  4. J’accuse (June 15, 2007)
  5. J’accuse, Part Deux (June 27, 2007)
  6. The Taxman Cometh (July 11, 2007)
  7. B(ogus Ta)X (July 13, 2007)
  8. You All Know Brutus and Cassius Are Honorable Men (June 4, 2011)
  9. All’s Fair... (January 15, 2012)
  10. The Rape of Persephone (January 29, 2012)
  11. Too Much Is Never Enough (October 2, 2012)
  12. It’s a Helluva Town (October 20, 2012)
RISK MANAGEMENT AND OTHER CRISES
  1. Not Far Now (May 11, 2007)
  2. Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition (May 24, 2007)
  3. Marks in the Sand (June 28, 2007) – Mark to market
  4. The Great Chain of Being (August 2, 2007) – Leverage and market contagion
  5. Grains of Sand (August 10, 2007) – Contagion, redux
  6. Why So Serious? (December 10, 2008) – Math blindness
  7. Fooled by Arrogance (February 26, 2009) – Just exactly how do you control trading risk in a bank?
  8. You Realithe, Of Courth, Thith Meanth War (May 3, 2009) – The Chrysler kerfuffle
  9. More of a Kickin’ Sitcheyation (May 11, 2009) – Chrysler, redux
  10. Conventional Wisdom (January 20, 2010) – Keynes and the problem with liquidity
  11. All Together Now (January 22, 2012) – Information asymmetry and opaque finance
  12. A Good Offense (April 22, 2012) – Sometimes a hedge is just a hedge
  13. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (June 10, 2012) – Risk doctors, not risk managers
  14. A Photograph, Not a Circuit Diagram (January 6, 2013) – Banks accounting is helpfully opaque
FIRMS AND PERSONALITIES
A. Goldman Sachs
  1. Overheard at 85 Broad Street (June 18, 2008) – Reputation
  2. The Dirt Bag Chronicles (January 22, 2009) – Reputation, redux
  3. The Fish Stinks from the Head (June 30, 2009) – Culture
  4. The Mouth of Sauron (February 17, 2010) – Public relations
  5. Hypocrisy as a Business Model (March 15, 2012) – Culture, redux
B. Steve Schwarzman
  1. L’État, c’est moi (February 12, 2007) – The Party
  2. The Self-Made Man Club (March 19, 2007) – The Party, redux
  3. The $7 Billion Mouse ... er ... Man (June 13, 2007)
  4. Penny Wise (August 2, 2007)
  5. Does This Profile Make Me Look Fat? (February 7, 2008)
C. Others, Not Elsewhere Classified
  1. Taxonomy (January 14, 2007) – Carl Icahn
  2. Oxymoron (October 13, 2007) – Investment banking “management”
  3. To Catch a Thief (February 13, 2009) – Psychopaths
  4. Primus inter Pares (October 16, 2009) – RIP Bruce Wasserstein, the “Father of M&A”
  5. A Good Start (January 19, 2011) – Lawyers
  6. J.P. Morgan and the Marlboro Man (May 20, 2012) – Jamie Dimon
  7. Mr. Indispensable (May 16, 2013) – Fire Jamie Dimon
PHILOSOPHY
A. Aesthetics
  1. L.H.O.O.Q. (July 29, 2007)
  2. Bubble Land (May 13, 2008) – A semiotic analysis of Blackstone Group’s annual report
  3. We Get Mail! (December 18, 2010) – Reading advice
  4. Pixels Don’t Breathe (May 17, 2011) – Looking advice
  5. Kindle This (February 20, 2012) – Books and ereaders
  6. Breakfast in Fur (June 24, 2012)
  7. A Painting Is Not a Refrigerator (October 6, 2012)
  8. Venn Diagram (February 21, 2014) – Art and beauty as moral therapy?
B. Skepticism and Epistemology
  1. Sovereign Triviality (November 19, 2011)
  2. Chesterton’s Fence (March 5, 2012) – A useful intellectual talisman
  3. How Can We Know the Dancer from the Dance? (March 30, 2013) – The limits of science
  4. Our Glassy Essence (October 17, 2013) – No, science has not killed philosophy
  5. A Foolish Consistency (February 5, 2014) – No, science cannot answer every important question
C. The Nature and Ethics of Chance
  1. Survey Course (February 23, 2008)
  2. Tumbling Dice (June 4, 2012) – The luck of author Michael Lewis
  3. To Whom It May Concern (August 13, 2013) – Don’t underestimate the effect of luck on your career
  4. Punished by Fate (October 5, 2013) – Ordinary intuition
ACADEMIA AND ITS DISCONTENTS
A. Its Noble Purpose
  1. First, Let’s Shoot All the Philosophers (April 22, 2011)
  2. Sovereign Triviality (November 19, 2011)
  3. In the Nation’s Service (December 29, 2011)
  4. The Standard Model (February 18, 2012)
  5. No Country for Young Children (October 21, 2012)
B. Its Sordid Financing
  1. Et in Arcadia Ego (November 11, 2008)
  2. VA • NI • TAS (July 21, 2009)
  3. H is for Hedge Fund (July 22, 2009)
HUMOR AND OTHER SELF INDULGENCES
  1. A Modest Proposal (February 3, 2007) – A Swiftian take on CEOs
  2. T-Bone the Metaphor (September 10, 2008)
  3. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Hubris (April 15, 2009) – Book proposals
  4. Cogito, Ergo Whom? (February 25, 2012) – Private equity gets philosophical
NOODLINGS, JEREMIADS, AND EFFLORESCENCES, NOT ELSEWHERE CLASSIFIED
  1. Dance, Monkeys, Dance (March 24, 2007) – Blogging and the internet
  2. Not Safe for Work (April 25, 2008) – Cusswords
  3. Molon Labe (September 1, 2008) – Investment bankers as Spartans
  4. Poachers Turned Gamekeepers (March 16, 2010) – My solution to the regulatory crisis
  5. American Baby (May 1, 2010) – A little hopeful flag-waving
  6. It’s All How You Look at It (July 18, 2010) – The sources and uses of wisdom
  7. Occupy Galt’s Gulch (May 8, 2012) – Contra Ayn Rand and her acolytes
  8. Skin in Which Game? (February 10, 2013) – On pseudonymity
  9. In Praise of Jargon (April 28, 2013) – “Management speak” isn’t so bad
  10. Mirror, Mirror (September 26, 2013) – Twitter as rage machine
  11. Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall… (January 25, 2014) – Identity on the internet
  12. Mirror, Mirror Redux (January 26, 2014) – Pseudonymity and identity on the internet
ABOUT YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGIST
  1. The Investment Banker in Winter (April 7, 2009)
  2. Fragments (February 26, 2010) – My writing habits
  3. Biting the Hand that Feeds Me (November 22, 2010)
  4. Do You Trust Me? (February 23, 2011)
  5. Sympathy for the Devil (February 27, 2011)
  6. Wherein Your Droll, Semi-Victorian Bloggist Jumps the Shark (January 8, 2013)

1 Yes, yes, I know. I have made it a point here to index most of my work with evocative rather than descriptive (or even helpful) labels for perverse reasons of my own. But I ask you: is it any easier or more conducive to search these pages or anywhere else with the term “investment banking” rather than “The Life”? Do you actually do so? I didn’t think so.

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