The Buy Side Review
Author: Turney Duff
Subject: Autobiography of a Hedge Fund Trader
Audiobook: 8hrs 42m
First Published: 2013
Who’s it for: Traders who enjoy a good yarn
The Good: Highly readable, entertaining and either a cautionary tale / inspiring depending on personal taste.
The Bad: Won’t exactly teach you much about trading!
Recommendation: Read it, don’t live it.
Buy it HERE
The Buy Side Review – Overview
This alarmingly honest book reads like a novel but is actual the true story of Turney Duff’s hectic time as a ‘Buy Side’ hedge fund trader. Duff is a first rate storyteller and has filled his book with drink, drugs, sex, power and money. It could be read as either a hilarious account of Wall Street before the Crash, or as a cautionary tale. I suspect which will depend on the reader’s life philosophy.
Some may think of it as a cautionary tale, but with a wink and nudge I think Duff knows that the book is primarily entertainment. He describes his fall from grace with lashings of natural humour and his eventual redemption is the story’s inevitable payoff. While Duff claims to have never been happier than he is now as a less-than-wealthy writer, the book is tinged with the melancholy of loss.
But, Duff never moralises and always tries to show the humanity of the many enablers and negative forces in his life. It is very, very far from being a misery memoir but also doesn’t fall into the trap of glorifying his destructive behaviour.
Fans of The Wolf of Wall Street, both book and film, will see familiar territory. But while it is clear that Jordan Belfort wears his history with pride, and never misses a chance for self aggrandisement, there is clearly no attempt by Duff to paint his time on the Buy Side as anything but a mess. Whereas Belfort seems to have learned very little from his experience, Duff clearly has – there is no glory here.
Duff gives the reader what they want – an insight into the lifestyles of the rich and famous of Wall Street. But he is also happy to show the helplessness of addiction and isolation that so often comes as part of that package.
His skill as a writer is clear and it is no surprise that this was not a one off – Duff now makes his money as a writer, and as a consultant on HBO’s Billions. Along with Michael Lewis, Duff is probably the most naturally talented writer to have written a financial exposé. Jordan Belfort and ‘City Boy’s’ Geriant Anderson are fantastic storytellers, and decent writers. Duff is excellent at both.
From a retail trader’s perspective, you should read this book simply to understand the different game that we are playing compared to the big boys on Wall Street and in the City. Duff barely mentions research or analysis, and his profitable trades seem to be based on playing pushing around other traders in the market using his ridiculous buying power. Sadly not something you or I can replicate.
Other than that, there isn’t much here to inform us as traders. But the book is excellently written, hugely entertaining, funny as hell and not too long! Once you pick it up, you won’t put it down.
Buy ‘The Buy Side’ by Turney Duff HERE