Monday, September 29, 2014

TED’s All Time Greatest Hits

They’re all money, honey
The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man.

— Frank Herbert, Dune

I have used the preceding epigraph before, as some of you Delightful Readers may recall. It is a versatile and thought-provoking sentiment. Like many quotes and excerpts from Dune, which I contend is one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written, it pleases and intrigues me. It also reminds me—when I am smitten with the unwarranted attention the criminally indiscriminate among you have bestowed upon the thin leavings I whimsically scatter here at unreliable intervals like some verbose will-o-the-wisp—that I am anything but great, or even worthy of attention. I use it sardonically, you see.

I am not without self awareness.

But now I have decided, for the nonce, to abandon you, as I have made clear before. Bummer that, but it cannot be helped. “To everything there is a season,” or some such bullshit. So it strikes me as only fair to post a list of the ten most popular posts I have ever released upon an unsuspecting and undeserving world,1 if only so some people can focus their anger at global injustice and bank overdraft fees on a similarly appalling yet perhaps more accessible target. It is better than reading Slate or Gawker or Jezebel or Guardian pieces, anyway. And they don’t need the page views, I do. I still owe a helluva lot of money for excess pixel consumption, you see.

So enjoy, and please remember to deposit your candy wrappers, empty soda bottles, and previously unexamined prejudices in the handy trash receptacles at the end of the show.

THE CANONICAL CANON, All-Time Canonical Edition:

1) Curriculum Vitae (March 2013) — The canonical career path for young tadpoles to hoary old bullfrogs in my business, corporate finance and M&A. This is what your life will look like if you choose to follow me, children. Warts and all.

2) The Mouth of Sauron (February 2010) — A hit piece, richly deserved, on the fabled former mouthpiece of Goldman Sachs, Lucas van Praag, who is no doubt happily torturing small animals with forks on a leafy Victorian estate in his dotage.

3) The Rules (November 2012) — Read them. Live by them. Pay particular attention to Rule #5.

4) Jane, You Ignorant Slut (May 2011) — The opening salvo in a series of posts about rampant ignorance in the financial press and blogosphere about the nature and mechanics of initial public offerings. This rabbit hole is deep, Alice. Beware.

5) The Invention of Leisure (November 2013) — Junior investment bankers work hard. No matter what people may say or think or do about it, this will not change, and there are very good reasons for that. Not bad reasons, good reasons. See Rule #5.

6) Overheard at 85 Broad Street (June 2008) — An old post in which I eviscerate those gutless weasels at Goldman Sachs who fucked over junior bankers during the Financial Crisis in a particularly cowardly and reprehensible way. I can neither confirm nor deny rumors that Goldman moved its global headquarters to 200 West Street solely to escape the historical opprobrium of this post.

7) Go Ask Alice (September 2013) — The bookend to the series on IPOs, begun with 4) above. Read these two, and the intervening posts, and you will know more about IPOs than most investment bankers and all financial pundits.

8) A Fine Disregard for the Rules (January 2014) — More reasons why junior investment bankers work like dogs and always will, no matter how many foosball tables and papaya soy lattes Google and Facebook try to tempt them with.

9) To Catch a Thief (February 2009) — Do investment bank executives strike you as, well, a little odd? I suspect you are right.

10) Where Did He Learn to Negotiate Like That? (August 2014) — Investment bankers, by training and inclination, tend to be much better negotiators than many of their clients. Occasionally this works to the client’s disadvantage.

* * *

Since these posts are ranked here, as is my custom, simply by aggregate historical page views as collected by Google Analytics, some of you may notice a recency bias, as the number of readers coming to these pages has accreted over time like barnacles on the hull of a poorly maintained ocean freighter. You will also notice a narrower range of topics and treatments than your local bartender may have informed you I offer, which is related to said recency. Those masochists among you who would like to explore both deeper in time and more broadly across my variegated oeuvre I would encourage to start in the archives and use my idiosyncratic keywords and Blogger’s search function liberally. There is nothing for it but to dive in, headfirst, and try to stay afloat on my sea of words, just as a tyro investment banker plunges into her apprenticeship of fire.

The metaphors are deep, O Dearly Beloved, and mixed. Welcome to my world.

Related reading:
Table of Contents — the archives
Topics Addressed in These Pages — idiosyncratic keywords

1 I exclude, as is my custom, generic results like this blog’s home page, recommended reading, outdated personal information, introductory blather, and my curated archives. I suspect you can have no objection.

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