Do not let the title of Mike Offit’s Nothing Personal: A Novel of Wall Street scare you off if you are not a fan of numbers, trading, and most importantly, Wall Street. Offit is able to break down junk bonds, prepayments, and mortgage-backed securities in such a manner even I understood what was being discussed and wholeheartedly continued to turn the pages.
Hooked on page three by the characterization of a microeconomics professor teaching at Columbia Business School, I liked the subtle humor and accuracy in Offit’s writing:
. . . Corelli rarely tried to enliven the material, having long before decided that, even in so inexact a discipline as his, he would grade generously those who simply recited his lectures on all exams without thinking or dissension. This practice would, he reasoned, prepare them well for life in most of corporate America.
Furthermore, Offit’s descriptions of Pebble Beach brought to mind my friend Denta’s love of the Monterey Bay area:
The verdant green of the grass, deep blue sky, and boiling ocean water combine with the misty sea spray, salt-infused air, sunshine, and puffy clouds to make a tableau so rich and inspiring that a well-struck shot reverberates with the harmony of something divine. (200)
The protagonist, Warren Hament, an up-and-coming salesman on Wall Street who finds himself entangled in a murder mystery is certainly likeable and has quite a way with the ladies. Va va va and voom!
For me, the problem of Nothing Personal lies in the numerous mispellings throughout this novel [i.e. anecdotess (104), omlet (152), and drive (302) instead of driven] and awkard wordings “Just as long as are not connected . . .” (319) which detracts from the reading.
For the purposes of book club, crabmeat salad would be a welcome choice as it was Hament’s choice when schmoozing for the first time with an MD (managing director) from Weldon Corporate Finance after a game of squash.