The Rake

PROFITS OF DOOM

Source: Ivan Boesky taking two calls at once in his New York office, 1977.

Steve Cohen’s estate in Greenwich, Connecticut, 2013.

Since the financial crash of 2008, our fascination with the super-richest of the banking class — and their perceived crimes — has expanded like a trader’s algorithm. Fortunately, like the mobsters of The Sopranos or the advertising pioneers of Mad Men, they perfectly fit the male anti-hero model that has thrived in the prestige T.V. shows of the last two decades. The hedge-fund boys’ big moment is Billions, starring our previous issue’s cover star, Damian Lewis, as fund leader Bobby Axelrod, a man whose success is equal parts genius and criminality, and Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades, the ambitious U.S. attorney who is determined to take him down.

With a former financial journalist, Andrew Ross Sorkin, as one of its creators, is strong on the insane details of hedge fund operations, from Axelrod’s depth of research (monitoring satellite imagery of deliveries from warehouses around the world to measure the true health of a company) to the office uniform (fleece jerkins, worn because the office is kept at the exact temperature deemed optimum for brain function). It also brilliantly exposes the obsession, the extravagant wealth and spending, and the desire to win at all costs, fair or foul, that characterises the

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Rake

The Rake7 min read
When To Provoke Is To Live
by stuart husband In a recent interview, Jane Birkin described her first date with Serge Gainsbourg. They met on the set of the 1969 movie Slogan; he was 40, she was 22. “He barely spoke to me and I thought him terribly arrogant and unkind,” she reca
The Rake6 min read
For One Brief Shining Moment
by stuart husband Not long ago, I was in Dallas on business. I made the requisite pilgrimage to Dealey Plaza and viewed the world’s most infamous grassy knoll, but I also discovered one of the more striking monuments among the thousands to John F. Ke
The Rake5 min read
Men Of The Cloth
The town of Biella in northern Italy is famous for playing host to many of the finest cloth makers in the world. For Piacenza, this is doubly true: their history is inextricably woven into the fabric of the town itself. Although the company usually q