Book club: Page earners

There's no shortage of books on high finance. What's on The Gateway's shelf?

Big picture

Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan both by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A study of the arbitrary ways of the financial markets, and an application of the theory to the world in general which became a publishing phenomenon. Find out how to look for bird poop, why you should never run for a train, and why you're a Black Swan too!

Fool's Gold by Gillian Tett

FT US managing editor and one-time anthropologist Gillian Tett looks at the rise, and spectacular fall from grace, of structured products. One of the few commentators to foresee the financial crisis, she's worth paying attention to.

Living In the End Times by Slavoj Žižek

A radical Slovenian philosopher currently enjoying rock star status takes on the recent convulsions of the global economy armed with approaches from psychoanalysis and film criticism - and a heavy slug of Marxist theory.

Need to know

All You Need to Know about the City by Christopher Stoakes

No-nonsense guide to the workings of the City which cuts cleanly through to the information you'll need most. Designed for novices, but gets to the bottom of an impressively large range of topics, from �What is a bank?", to �market whales", to derivatives and �all that jazz".

Valuation by Koller, Goedhart and Wessels

Written by strategy consultancy and business school boffins, this hefty tome is the Bible of the dark art of company valuation for many finance practitioners. If you know you'll need to get to grips with DCF and WAACs, this book could stop you from getting lost in the alphabet soup.

The Game by Alex Buchanan

A City insider reveals all in this readable and very entertaining account of how the Square Mile's various segments go about their business. Working through each major one in turn, Buchanan tackles both their official functions, and also their habits, cultures, and psychological foibles.

Case studies

Liar's Poker and The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine both by Michael Lewis

Liar's Poker takes a cool and ironic look at the farcical - and fantastically profitable - goings-on at former Wall St supremo Salomen Brothers in the 80s, while The Big Short, written in the aftermath of the financial crisis, brings home the real consequences of finance's failings.

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar

Pacey account of the 1988 takeover of food conglomerate RJR Nabisco by private equity house KKR. In the fast-moving world of finance, it's now a historical document but still provides great background for analysing the pre-credit crunch buyout boom, or M&A as it happens today.

The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

Engagingly written biography of revered investor Warren Buffet that both illuminates his money-making philosophy, and tries to give a rounded picture of the man by cataloguing a wealth of information about his life and family, way of doing business, and habits.


Trixie Trader by Helen Dunne

Dunne serves up chick-lit City-style, converting a Telegraph column into an action-packed novel. Trixie is a trader (in case you didn't guess) but spends most of her time lunching, bitching about her colleagues, and getting in and (usually, just about) out of scrapes.

The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

American classic which sharply charts the fall from grace of a millionaire bond trader and �Master of the Universe" whose life veers out of control when he encounters the other side of New York City through a hit and run accident.

Just Business by Geraint Anderson

Brand new novel written by an ex-analyst who was also the �City Boy" columnist in the (now defunct) daily free sheet thelondonpaper. Ticks all the boxes for those who want to see the City as no more than a gigantic drug-riddled money laundering operation. Fast-paced, fun - and (pretty much) firmly fictional.