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Bombardiers

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  446 ratings  ·  43 reviews
From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller What Should I Do with My Life?, Bombardiers is Po Bronson’s first novel, a devastating satire of the business world told through the lens of a crazed and colorful group of salespeople forced to push increasingly absurd financial products.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 30th 2003 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published February 14th 1995)
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3.72  · 
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 ·  446 ratings  ·  43 reviews


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Sarah Sammis
Oct 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
Bombardiers is Po Bronson's debut novel. The thematic chapters that read more like interconnected short stories follow a group of salespeople who sell more and more outrageous financial products.

This book should have set off alarm bells in the 1990s and early 2000s. Every scheme these salespeople try was being done by actual financial salespeople on Wall Street and in the big banks.

Reading this on the backside of the most recent financial collapse deflated the humor for me. Instead of being wack
...more
Toby
Sep 27, 2008 rated it liked it
It's no coincidence that I picked up Po Bronson's "Bombardiers" at a time when the real-world financial markets are in turmoil. It's been on my bookshelf for a while now; not even really in the "to read" pile -- more accurately the "I happen to own this book" pile. Several years ago I read another of his works, "The First $20 Million Is The Hardest" and I wasn't wild about it. Of course, I internally compared it with Douglas Coupland's "Microserfs", against which most Silicon Valley novels are l ...more
Katya Mills
Oct 09, 2016 rated it liked it
The book is overall an easy read and almost like watching tabloid television, what with all the misfit mortgage-backed security salespeople and the anecdotal narrative. I had a lot of laughs. It is helpful to hit the ground floor running as there is a lot of industry jargon. I briefly worked an institutional sales floor -in a past life- and you can tell the author was in the business; this is an inside job. I think the character Mark 'Eggs' Igino may be a foil for the author. He's the new guy wh ...more
josie
Apr 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
While it is a shameless homage to Catch-22, it is a particularly timely read during the recent market turmoils.
Read it if you want to understand how investment banking works, and have a few laughs at the expense of your retirement account.
Laurent Szklarz
an inside look into the real world of finance. what's amazing is that it has be written in 1995.... that's 13 years before the general collapse of the financial system. it just shows that all the signs were there but nobody cared to read. this book is prophetic
Kaila
Apr 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Bombardiers takes place in San Francisco, following the employees of Atlantic Pacific, but it could easily have been set elsewhere. Using midstream point-of-view shifts, Bronson entreats us to multiple points-of-view from Sid Geeder the King of Mortgages, through his colleagues, and even past his boss Coyote Jack. In this manner Bronson risks confounding his readers until they get used to these sudden shifts but keeps up the furious pace of his story. It certainly made me stop and pause once or ...more
Justin
Jun 12, 2008 rated it liked it
It's strange to me that this book got favorable reviews from the business press when it portrays the world of high finance in such a deeply cynical light. That might attest to its veracity, and if so, that is truly disturbing. Bombardiers takes place in San Francisco - one reason I read it - but it could just as easily take place in any major American city, because the location is "Wall Street" in its abstract sense - not the actual street or even the financial district of New York, but the netw ...more
Sarah Pascarella
Originally written as a satire in the mid'90s, Bombardiers now reads as an unheeded warning call to all the economists, politicians, and other business leaders who weren't paying attention to the absurd and unsustainable business practices occurring right under their noses. Po Bronson takes a direct cue from Joseph Heller's Catch-22, and structures his novel in a similar fashion, with hilarious dialogue, lightning-fast transitions, and a manic dedication to highlighting hypocrisy and inanity in ...more
Jaycob
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed that this book was a tribute to Catch 22, but set within the financial industry. It oddly made sense to me. I thought it was a clever approach when I picked it up- writing about the increasingly complex and higher pressure financial instruments being sold vs increasingly insane and dangerous war missions.

Then I saw that this book was written in 1995. What was clever in a post-subprime crisis world suddenly became downright prescient.

Fun plot twists (though I wish more was done with a
...more
Kevinthorson
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was ok


This started out being sort of funny and interesting and then after a few chapters of the over the top accounts of every character's problems, it simply became painful. Like a horror movie or and acclaimed tearjerker, maybe it was "good", but it was not enjoyable to read. given that it was not a true story and had no plot to speak of, this one got sent back to te shelf after about 80 pages.
Antonina Sh
Not the kind of book I would normally enjoy, but this one really got to me. I actually enjoyed 'the lack of conflict' as someone has put it here, and the author's witty sarcastic humor, and the way it flows, and the way it subconsciously makes you think about things not directly related to investments (or was it just me?)

Having got an MA in Economics I haven't worked a single day as an economist, and having read this book I am most certainly happy I haven't =)
John
Apr 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Highly and consciously derivative of Heller's Catch-22, but Bronson can't capture Heller's humor and wit. Bronson also throws in extended descriptive passages about the twisted logics and irrationalities at the heart of high finance that feel closer to a Philip Roth rant. The character of Eggs Igino is the most compelling, but he ends the novel escaping from the whole system "gone to hell," which doesn't have the same gravitas as Yossarian defecting from the army.
Todd Smalley
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Funny, farcical, quick office-based novel. Set in 1995 but even better with age as the economic meltdown of 2008 reminded us that financial and corporate silliness don't belong to just one age, but are ever-present. Also weirdly prescient when a character predicts that fax machines will crumble the edifices of Muslim fundamentalism better than any military approach could. It was meant to show the arrogance skullduggery of the character, but update the technology and here comes Muslim spring.
Unky Dave
Jul 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who has worked in an office
Shelves: favorites
This is probably the funniest book I've ever read, if the number of times laughing out loud in a room by myself or number of minutes spent reading with a fixed, apoplectic grin on my face are acceptable criteria. There is a book called Personal Days, by Ed Park, that I'm thinking of buying but perhaps unfortunately for Mr. Park, Bombardiers is the standard that I'm going to hold it to.
Gothadh
May 30, 2007 rated it liked it
It was odd. I didn't really get into it until I had a 3 hour train journey and I sat and finished the book off. Not one to be read in small time slots - you really need to devote a lot of time to this book.

The story wasn't really apparent at the beginning and it seemed to jump around a lot - from character to character; past, present, future; place to place.

An interesting book...
David
May 10, 2009 rated it liked it
This is a comic novel about the financial industry. It's very timely, despite being set and written in the late '90s. It's more Catch-22 than Bonfire of the Vanities, and Bronson is mostly successful with his over-the-top characters and situations.

Make-you-think funny; not laugh-out-loud funny. Funny, though.
Kati
Jul 03, 2009 rated it liked it
At this moment in history, when the fate of the US (and other economies) has been brought down in no small part by greed in the banking and mortgage industries, this seems like a telling indictment of that industry. While Bronson stopped working as a broker after writing this book in the mid-90s, I don't think that even he could have predicted the way that things would turn out.
Stephanie
Oct 08, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: former junk bond traders
This book is impossible to rate. On the one hand, it took me nearly eight months to get through this book, because it was such a depressing satirical indictment of capitalism. On the other hand, I could never just walk away from it because it was such a brilliant satirical indictment of capitalism. Either way, if you read this book, you'll never trust your broker again.
Justin
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Hilarious. Well, I suppose you have to be open to reading a book about bond traders to enjoy this book. If that idea doesn't repulse you, you will laugh out loud when you read this book. Good, ridiculous story. Entertaining read.
Kristie
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I first read his book when I was living it as a trader in the mid-nineties. It's very cliche but also light, funny and a pleasurable read. A few lines made me laugh out loud. Not great literature but entertaining.
Galen
Mar 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
I've started re-reading this and it's very nearly as good as I remember. It may be a novel, but it does more to explain the mind-set that led to our current financial melt-down than most of the news commentary or political posturing. I'd recommend it anyway but especially in these times.
Ian
Dec 17, 2009 rated it liked it
reading this for the second time! One of Bronson's very early works, and it's a fun one, from back when he just wrote fiction! thinly veiled real companies and characters populate this prankish romp through high finance.
Will
Jan 02, 2008 rated it liked it
So..I lied. I really read the hardcover.
Leif Erik
Jan 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-fiction
Easily one of the funniest books I've ever read. Made me feel very good about passing on the business program at Sac State.
Will
Aug 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Perfect Update to Glengarry Glenross. Helping me through the Gensler Fiasco.
Tony Ruiz
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It's a hilarious satire about the information economy that anyone who's ever felt like their job is mostly about being good at BS can relate to. The narrative style reminded me of Catch-22.
Duane Roelands
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the funniest book I have ever read; I genuinely laughed out loud many times while reading it.

It is a crime that it's not available on Kindle. You should read it.
John
Jan 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Riotously funny ... madcap antics in the trading room
Peter Hall
A great read, well observed. Echoes of catch 22 - they can never get out with their bonuses and instead of Major Major there's Lisa Lisa.
Eric
Oct 28, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Excellent if only for the opening chapter where Bronson likens the office to a spaceship rising above the dense fog of a San Francisco morning.
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Po Bronson has built a career both as a successful novelist and as a prominent writer of narrative nonfiction. He has published five books, and he has written for television, magazines, and newspapers, including Time, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and for National Public Radio's Morning Edition. Currently he is writing regularly for New York magazine in the United States and for ...more
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