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For the Love of Money: A Memoir

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  397 ratings  ·  57 reviews
“Part coming-of-age story, part recovery memoir, and part exposé of a rotten, money-drenched Wall Street culture” (Salon), Sam Polk’s unflinching account chronicles his fight to overcome the ghosts of his past—and the radical new way he now defines success.

At just thirty years old, Sam Polk was a senior trader for one of the biggest hedge funds on Wall Street, on the verge
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ebook, 288 pages
Published July 19th 2016 by Scribner
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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abby
Jun 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
It took thirty years for Sam Polk to learn a valuable lesson: there's never *enough* to fill the void. Never enough money, never enough sex, never enough praise, never enough accomplishments. If you have a hole inside, nothing on the outside call fill it. Not that Polk didn't spend about a decade trying. After graduating Columbia, he rose up the ranks of investment banking. But there was always something just out of his reach. One year he earned a bonus of nearly 4 million dollars, but his old i ...more
Bill Yeadon
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Couldn't make up my mind on this book. The first half of the book was so depressing that I didn't think I would finish.

This is the true story of a fat kid who was bullied as a kid, was verbally abused by his father, was an alcoholic and a drug addict, and addicted to porn all before age 21.

Even after all this he made it to the top of Wall Street and was a multi millionaire by 25. Even with this and a beautiful popular girlfriend he was still miserable.

Fortunately he finally realized that money w
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Margie Dewind
Oct 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
This book kept my attention but I'm bothered that the author exposed his family members' dirty laundry and that he seems to think that "seeing the light" when he was 30 excused his extreme jerkiness up until that point in his life.
Deidre
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at the hedge fund world from an outsider perspective. While this was less of an analysis of the industry itself and more of a personal memoir of someone who doesn't fit the typical trader perspective, it's unflinching honest and heart made it a compelling read. The book was a little unevenly paced spending more time on the author's childhood than his years in high finance but other books have already provided a window into that world.

It's sad to be that so often ambition see
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Linda
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Could not put it down! Up all night reading, teared up a few times. This is a story of self-growth and redemption by a painfully honest man. He overcame childhood traumas and multiple addictions with great effort, and finally discovered his true self. Excellent writer with vivid imagery, very informative and interesting.
Rachita
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommendations
"From Wall Street trader to social entrepreneur, sinner to saint"

Sam Polk in this fascinating memoir of his, writes about all the ups and downs, achievements, losses, disappointments, mistakes, and the lessons he learned through them in 30 years of his life.

From this book we can learn how what we experience as a child can affect us so much as an adult. He spent most of his life trying to make his dad trust him and be proud of him, but after failing each and every time, he realized it was him wh
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Paul
Aug 23, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed this book (thankfully didn't pay for it) based on the reviews and my interest in finance. I hoped it would be along the lines of Michael Lewis' books, but instead it seems to be a rather boring autobiography. The first half of the book barely mentions finance as it takes you through the author's extremely depressing childhood (struggling with domestic violence, being an identical twin, not being the 'right' weight etc).

If you like reading about the lives of individual traders and thei
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Gail O'Connor
Aug 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
I have always found that in all my reading there was at least one character that I could find redeeming. I couldn't find one in this book. This was fast reading, but I was filled with such
disgust for Mr. Polk. Obviously, he never read memoirs such as Glass Castle or any number of books where people had such tragic lives. I know people that grew up in foster homes and had horrible
experiences.

"Woe is me" got quite boring. I just wanted to scream at him to "GROW UP!" I have no compassion for thi
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Nic Keep
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great memoir, from a guy who left Millions to become a social entrepreneur.
Kelley Skeie
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Memoir

I couldn't put it down. This book is so inspiring, and makes you think about what your greater purpose is.
Syuhada
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story won’t be as boring as the title. At first, i wanted to read this book to get some information or valuable tips and tricks of the trading life, but it turns out to be an inspiring book. I like the flow of the story, from the moment he was a kid until he was a success man now. How he went through tough phases of life, loss at the peak of his success, it was overall a nice read.
Smiley938
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Interesting tale Polk has spun to feel better about his life. It seems like he changed his career, not because he genuinely had a change of heart, but because he had a tantrum after getting his $8 million dollar bonus rejected and couldn't back down without losing his pride.

Despite Polk repeatedly saying he grew up with his family living paycheck to paycheck, he is flabbergasted when he finally sees real poverty. I could have guessed he was exaggerating when he mentioned growing up with a Guate
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Niniane Wang
Dec 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Instead of giving book deals to another privileged white guy who felt entitled to make $8M per year, I would like to see books from other races, genders, etc.

The storytelling is good. It paints a hero’s journey. But you get the sense that the narrative was sculpted by selecting facts to fit. E.g. Sam says he quit his job out of a principled stand against greed... but what happened was he asked for a larger bonus and was told no and given pressure to resign. He paints a story of how he had grown
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Ruby
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this man's coming of age. I was half expecting the book to be really corny, but it wasn't. It was gritty and I ended up feeling quite a lot of respect for Sam by the end. Nice one, Sam. Hope you write more.
Ary Chest
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Entertaining, witty, and jam-packed with great stories. This memoir was more dramatic than most novels. Each story in his life tied in well with each other, making for an easy and intelligent read. A great look into the world of Wall Street and what it takes to make it.
Janiffer Frazier
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fluid reading…finished in 2 days
Fattah Fathun Karim
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Sam Polk has a life that could be made into a movie and i bet it would be no less than a box-office hit, if directed by the right hands. Reading sam's memoir, i found it little ironical that it matched somewhat with the life of a fictional character bojack horseman that i've just started watching and currently on in season 2. The writer, like bojack, is a person who had a tough childhood with abusive parents who treated their children like shit. The hostile family environment shaped th ...more
Bridgid
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fascinating read

A few of my favorite insights:

P172 Talking to his therapist, Linda, “Fantasies come from a wound. If you feel powerless, you’ll create a fantasy where you have absolute power. What you really need is not to achieve the fantasy, but to heal the wound.”

P212 He discusses his porn addiction, how he came to realize it influenced his view of and treatment of women; parents, talk to your kids about sex!!!!

P215 “Porn wasn’t just teaching me how to treat some women; it was teaching me
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Patti
Oct 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
The story of Sam Polk's upbringing amongst a dysfunctional family that results in destructive actions in his teens (anger, bulimia), college (drugs, alcohol), and as a quick rising star on Wall Street is an entertaining, quick read with insight into the lure of money, power, and prestige for our millennials. I respect the author for the difficult task of opening up to share his deepest feelings and the issues that have shaped his life. I understand his decision to leave the high powered greed of ...more
Agustya Matheth
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's a pretty intimate book, describing what shaped Polk's journey into the heart of Wall Street. He describes what he calls a "wealth addiction" and how it afflicts many of those at the center of the markets that control people's lives around the world. Polk reveals how pulling a 9 million dollar bonus wasn't enough for him (actually angering him), and how a vast majority of traders felt they were underpaid. The book serves as a reminder that there are pursuits more fulfilling than the accumula ...more
Suzanne
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
An easy to read book about how the author overcomes growing up in a dysfunctional family while operating in a high-profile, stressful occupation and also getting a handle on his relationships with women. I enjoyed learning about his life on Wall Street and the reasons he gave it all up. I was also amazed and happy that both he and his twin brother overcame alcoholism and/or addictions without the aid of AA.
Monical
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Short memoir from a reformed investment banker. The author reveals a lot of personal information as he acquires insight about his family and his life. Not for everyone, but I thought it was a good book.
Mike Haefeli
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I originally was interested in this book because I thought it would be similar to The Snowball ( A Warren Buffet biography). Sam Polk is no Warren Buffet. He is talented and blessed with great opportunities, but consistently his own worst enemy. From drugs and alcohol to struggling with sobriety, uninspiring relationships and wasting love, less than model family behaviors, to making more money than he knows what to do with and quitting that job to find happiness. Sam hits rock bottom many times ...more
Sarah
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This memoir is very raw and almost impossible to put down. However, it was less about Wall Street than I initially thought it would be. The fact that he got sober before he started working in finance changed my perspective on what I though this book would be about.
Elizabeth
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
I just couldn't get past all the fbombs on this one. He's a great writer and though I have a pretty high threshold for language, I finally had to set it down.
Hattie
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read the whole memoir in a single day. This book is an absolute page turner. Polk leaves no facet of his life untouched, further drawing the reader in and forcing them to face their own realities.
Marissa Getts
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book. It's rare that you see an author be so candid about their weaknesses.
Valerie
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reads like a piece of fiction
Huy Pham
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A brave and honest account of a Wall Street trader. A highly interesting read.
Emily
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and well written. I read it in a couple days because it was interesting and an easy read.
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I am a former hedge fund trader, the author of the book For the Love of Money, cofounder and CEO of Everytable, a social enterprise that sells fresh, delicious meals at prices everyone can afford, and the founder and Executive Director of Groceryships, a nonprofit that helps low-income families struggling with food-related illnesses like obesity and diabetes.

For The Love of Money is about my awake
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