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The Buy Side
Cover of The Buy Side
The Buy Side
A Wall Street Trader's Tale of Spectacular Excess
Borrow Borrow

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A former Galleon Group trader portrays an after-hours Wall Street culture where drugs and sex are rampant and billions in trading commissions flow to those who dangle the most enticements.
A remarkable writing debut, filled with indelible moments, The Buy Side shows as no book ever has the rewards—and dizzying temptations—of making a living on the Street.

Growing up in the 1980's Turney Duff was your average kid from Kennebunk, Maine, eager to expand his horizons. After trying – and failing – to land a job as a journalist, he secured a trainee position at Morgan Stanley and got his first feel for the pecking order that exists in the trading pits. Those on the "buy side," the traders who make large bets on whether a stock will rise or fall, are the "alphas" and those on the "sell side," the brokers who handle their business, are eager to please.

How eager to please was brought home stunningly to Turney in 1999 when he arrived at the Galleon Group, a colossal hedge-fund management firm run by secretive founder Raj Rajaratnam. Finally in a position to trade on his own, Turney was encouraged to socialize with the sell side and siphon from his new broker friends as much information as possible. Soon he was not just vacuuming up valuable tips but also being lured into a variety of hedonistic pursuits. Naïve enough to believe he could keep up the lifestyle without paying a price, he managed to keep an eye on his buy-and-sell charts and, meanwhile, pondered the strange goings on at Galleon, where tens of millions were being made each week in sometimes mysterious ways.

At his next positions, at Argus Partners and J.L. Berkowitz, Turney climbed to even higher heights – and, as it turned out, plummeted to even lower depths – as, by day, he solidified his reputation one of the Street's most powerful healthcare traders, and by night, he blazed a path through the city's nightclubs, showing off his social genius and voraciously inhaling any drug that would fill the void he felt inside.

A mesmerizingly immersive journey through Wall Street's first millennial decade, and a poignant self portrait by a young man who surely would have destroyed himself were it not for his decision to walk away from a seven-figure annual income, The Buy Side is one of the best coming-of-age-on-the-Street books ever written.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A former Galleon Group trader portrays an after-hours Wall Street culture where drugs and sex are rampant and billions in trading commissions flow to those who dangle the most enticements.
A remarkable writing debut, filled with indelible moments, The Buy Side shows as no book ever has the rewards—and dizzying temptations—of making a living on the Street.

Growing up in the 1980's Turney Duff was your average kid from Kennebunk, Maine, eager to expand his horizons. After trying – and failing – to land a job as a journalist, he secured a trainee position at Morgan Stanley and got his first feel for the pecking order that exists in the trading pits. Those on the "buy side," the traders who make large bets on whether a stock will rise or fall, are the "alphas" and those on the "sell side," the brokers who handle their business, are eager to please.

How eager to please was brought home stunningly to Turney in 1999 when he arrived at the Galleon Group, a colossal hedge-fund management firm run by secretive founder Raj Rajaratnam. Finally in a position to trade on his own, Turney was encouraged to socialize with the sell side and siphon from his new broker friends as much information as possible. Soon he was not just vacuuming up valuable tips but also being lured into a variety of hedonistic pursuits. Naïve enough to believe he could keep up the lifestyle without paying a price, he managed to keep an eye on his buy-and-sell charts and, meanwhile, pondered the strange goings on at Galleon, where tens of millions were being made each week in sometimes mysterious ways.

At his next positions, at Argus Partners and J.L. Berkowitz, Turney climbed to even higher heights – and, as it turned out, plummeted to even lower depths – as, by day, he solidified his reputation one of the Street's most powerful healthcare traders, and by night, he blazed a path through the city's nightclubs, showing off his social genius and voraciously inhaling any drug that would fill the void he felt inside.

A mesmerizingly immersive journey through Wall Street's first millennial decade, and a poignant self portrait by a young man who surely would have destroyed himself were it not for his decision to walk away from a seven-figure annual income, The Buy Side is one of the best coming-of-age-on-the-Street books ever written.

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Excerpts-
  • From the cover Prologue

    October 2003, 7:30 p.m.
    New York City

    I'm ready. The early darkness falls as we make our way across Tribeca, our shoes clicking on the cobblestones. At this hour the Bugaboo strollers have yielded to the coming Saturday-night revelry. My roommates and inner circle—six men and three women, all fashionably dressed as if they're attending a red-carpet premiere—surround me. They mirror my every move, like a school of night fish. Our pace increases as we stride the few blocks to West Broadway and Canal. I wear a flannel shirt that has the sleeves ripped off, my favorite pair of worn jeans, and baby blue tinted sunglasses with studded fake jewels around the lenses.

    Marcus, the owner of the Canal Room, meets us outside the club's door. When he sees me, a smile stretches across his face. "They're with me," I say, flicking a thumb at my trailing companions. The doorman unhooks the red velvet rope and we follow Marcus into the club. It's nearly empty, but not for long. Marcus is smiling for good reason. He calls me the Pied Piper—King of the Night. And soon my following, the royalty of young Wall Street, will fill his club.

    By eight p.m. the line outside the Canal Room stretches to more than a hundred people. By eight thirty it's almost doubled. When the doors finally open it's as though someone has pulled a stopper in a marble sink filled with champagne. Dressed in Armani and Prada, the excited throng pours inside. I stand by the door, playing the role of greeter, accumulating lipstick impressions on my cheeks and, occasionally, a small gift—a perk of the buy side. One friend, Brian, gives me ten ecstasy pills. I have no intention of taking them—well, maybe just one or two. I shove them into my pocket to use as party favors later. I'll walk up to anyone who I know is down with it and, with a devilish grin, ask, "Breath mint?" When they open their mouth I'll pop one in. Tonight, there are no limits.

    I've arranged everything: the space, the bands, and the guest list. The invites were sent out by my alter ego, Cleveland D. The club has just been remodeled with a brand-new sound system, the best in New York City, and now, appropriately, it's blaring Missy Elliott's "Work It." If any of the guests thought this night was just another average Wall Street bash featuring some overpriced DJ or a retro band like the Allman Brothers or Foreigner, that notion is put to rest when Lisa Jackson, a cross-dressing glam singer, takes the stage. When she breaks into "Purple Rain" and then "Ring My Bell," it's as though she's just grabbed a handful of every guy's well-tailored crotch. And she's only the foreplay.

    By nine thirty the place is throbbing. Liquor flows. People dance or sway to the music, drinks held high. I make my way to the bar, but it takes me five minutes to move five feet. I can't talk to anyone for more than a few seconds before feeling a tug at my back or a hand on my shoulder. I can see people across the room flashing a nod or toasting me with their drink. It seems all of Wall Street is here, at least all of Wall Street that matters. Every brokerage firm is represented: other buy side traders, sell siders, bankers, fixed income traders, and the rest.

    On the stage the group Naughty by Nature begins their hip-hop version of the Jackson 5 hit "ABC." It takes just a few notes for the entire crowd to erupt, realizing they're hearing the song "OPP." Multiple rotating strobe lights frantically stripe the fist-pumping revelers. Treach, Naughty by Nature's lead rapper, has the microphone in his hand and is pacing back and forth onstage. The energy surges, plateaus, then builds some more. The area in...
About the Author-
  • Turney Duff has worked on Wall Street since 1994, including at Morgan Stanley, the Galleon Group, Argus Partners, and J.L. Berkowitz. A graduate of Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, he has written and executive-produced two short movies and under his rap name "Cleveland D," was partly responsible for the infamous Galleon song, "On the Good Ship Galleon." He currently lives in Long Island City.

Reviews-
  • Brian O'Dea, author of High: Confessions of an International Drug Smuggler "The Buy Side takes the reader on an extremely wild ride so eloquently and honestly that we never want it to end. Cocaine wants everything you love and everything that loves you. Turney Duff had everything and nothing while trading billions of dollars on a razor's edge. His book takes you from Wall Street to Skid Row to the Thompson Hotel -- and then, mercifully, back to sanity and finding a place in the world. Hang on, The Buy Side is gonna move you around, and there are no seatbelts to keep you from getting hit hard."
  • Frank Partnoy, bestselling author of F.I.A.S.C.O and Infectious Greed
    "The Buy Side is 'Wall Street' meets 'Breaking Bad' -- except that this book is fact not fiction.
    Turney Duff yields to temptation at every turn, and the sheer volume of criminal behavior he saw, and even participated in, is astonishing...If you want to see Wall Street's seamy underbelly firsthand, read this book."
  • Colin Broderick, author of Orangutan "If you took Gordon Gekko, Bud Fox, a copy of Bright Lights, Big City, and threw them in a blender with an ounce of cocaine, a bottle of Patron Tequila, and your favorite teddy bear you'd have yourself a Buy Side smoothie. Turney's my kind of guy; a madman with heart. I couldn't put the book down."
  • Jared Dillian, author of Street Freak: Money and Madness at Lehman Brothers "Does Wall Street make people crazy or are crazy people simply attracted to Wall Street? The Buy Side doesn't get us any closer to answering that question, but along the way we get a look inside perhaps the most ethically-challenged investment firm in recent memory, and a harrowing journey through drug addiction and recovery. This is not a musical comedy; at the end, you're just relieved that Duff is alive."
  • Guy Lawson, New York Times bestselling author of Octopus

    "Turney Duff's The Buy Side is the perfect parable for Wall Street's
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