Ben Mezrich, author of the New York Times bestseller Bringing Down the House, returns with an astonishing story of Ivy League hedge-fund cowboys, high stakes, and the Asian underworld.
John Malcolm was the ultimate gunslinger in the Wild East, prepared to take on any level of risk in making mind-boggling sums of money. He and his friends were hedge-fund cowboys, living life on the adrenaline-, sex-, and drugs-fueled edge—kids running billion-dollar portfolios, trading information in the back rooms of high-class brothels and at VIP tables in nightclubs across the Far East.
Malcolm and his Ivy League-schooled twenty-something colleagues, with their warped sense of morality, created their own economic theory that would culminate in a single deal the likes of which had never been seen before—or since.
Ugly Americans is a story of extremes, charged with wealth, nerve, excess, and glamour. A real-life mixture of Liar's Poker and Wall Street, brimming with intense action, romance, underground sex, vivid locales, and exotic characters, Ugly Americans is the untold true story that rocked the financial community.
Though the names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent, this is a true story, containing all the ingredients of a great narrative a main character the reader can relate to, an appealing love interest, money, danger, the need for acceptance, suspense and even the realization (in some form) of the American dream. Mezrich (Bringing Down the House) presents wanna-be financial star "John Malcolm," who accepts a nebulous job offer in Japan in the mid-1990s and leaves his middle-class New Jersey postcollege aimless existence for an adventure he might have dreamed of had he any idea of what the big boys' world of finance was really like. After hitting the ground at top speed from day one, John and his cohorts all male, mostly Ivy League graduates learn their way around the lucrative, fast-paced and legal-but-barely-palatable world of cowboy-style Asian market finance. In the process, they make millions (sometimes per trade) and pride themselves on knowing when to get in and how to spot their exit point. Their bottom line is all that matters; everything else from emotion to opinion is secondary. In a truly engaging look at how an innocent who thinks he knows the world does actually end up understanding a small but significant piece of it, Mezrich manages to incorporate solid journalism into a narrative that just plain works.