Book Review: Ugly Americans by Ben Mezrich

December 27, 2006 - Get free updates of new posts here

Quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors, Ben Mezrich writes another tale about Ivy league students doing amazing things. This is a tale about a Princeton student taking an uncertain Japanese job over a traditional NYC banking gig. It chronicles his experience with one of the biggest trades ever, Geisha houses and dealing with the Yakuza.

Ugly Americans: The True Story of the Ivy League Cowboys Who Raided the Asian Markets for Millions

Great quotes from the book:

Take this football. Its value at the moment is about twenty-nine bucks…If a few of you go pro, then this ball is going to be worth about ten times [as much]. If you all end up coaching peewee league in Podunk, New Jersey, it’s going to be worth shit.

I finally found a small red button that seemed promising and hit it with two fingers. The familiar sound of a toilet flushing echoed off the marble floor. It took me a full second to realize the sound was synthetic.

I was getting a lap dance from this Swedish chick, so I asked her what her favorite number was [28]…I gave that number to my boss and we traded [the position] at 28.

Change is always something to celebrate. It’s a sign that you’re still alive.

The first place to look for a solution is within the problem itself.

The ends justify the means, but there’s only one end that really matters. Ending up on a beach with a bottle of champagne.

Noah’s Bottomline: Not as good as his first two books but a great quick vacation read.

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6 responses to “Book Review: Ugly Americans by Ben Mezrich

  1. Jason H. Reply

    I read it last year. It’s a very entertaining book, especially if you’re into daytrading… I definitely recommend it 🙂

  2. mapgirl Reply

    Entertaining, but sadly, cliched. I liked Bringing Down the House, but I don’t know if I really cared that much about the guy in the end. They sounded like frat boy jerks. Like I don’t see enough of that on a Friday night around town. Only they have more money. ho hum.

  3. Brian Reply

    I own this one but haven’t read it yet – good to hear your review isn’t far off what I expected: good quick read but not as good as his books about cheating gamblers.

  4. kareem Reply

    a great quick vacation read

    I bought this in Positano last year for waaay too much money when I ran out of books with a couple days left of lounging on the beach.

    Your description is bang-on. And Bringing Down the House was better.

  5. Kevin Wu Reply

    I read this book while I was on a bus touring Europe last June. Because of this book, I am probably going to make an effort to visit the Ruppongi District if I ever visit Japan. Digusted? I hope so, because I plan on getting disgusted too.