Private Equity: A Memoir (Hardcover)

Private Equity: A Memoir By Carrie Sun Cover Image

Private Equity: A Memoir (Hardcover)


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Named a most-anticipated book of 2024 by, Oprah Daily, Town & Country, The Millions, Financial Times, and more.

“Sun writes clearly about the demands and privileges of the job, though this isn’t a tell-all about abuses in the industry but rather a more probing inquiry into what we deem success and the values underpinning it.” —Vogue, Best Books of 2024 So Far

A gripping memoir of one woman’s self-discovery inside a top Wall Street firm, and an urgent indictment of privilege, extreme wealth, and work culture

When we meet Carrie Sun, she can’t shake the feeling that she’s wasting her life. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Carrie excelled in school, graduated early from MIT, and climbed the corporate ladder, all in pursuit of the American dream. But at twenty-nine, she’s left her analyst job, dropped out of an MBA program, and is trapped in an unhappy engagement. So when she gets the rare opportunity to work at one of the most prestigious hedge funds in the world, she knows she can’t say no. Fourteen interviews later, she’s in.

Carrie is the sole assistant to the firm’s billionaire founder. She manages his work life, becoming the right hand to an investor who can move mountains and markets with a single phone call. Eager to impress, she dives headfirst into the firm’s culture, which values return on time above all else. A luxury-laden world opens up for her, and Carrie learns that money can solve nearly everything.

Playing the game at the highest levels, amid the ultimate winners in our winner-take-all economy, Carrie soon finds her identity swallowed whole by work. With her physical and mental health deteriorating, she begins to rethink what it actually means to waste one’s life. A searing examination of our relationship to work, Carrie’s story illuminates the struggle for balance in a world of extremes: efficiency and excess, status and aspiration, power and fortune. Private Equity is a universal tale of self-invention from a dazzling new voice, daring to ask what we’re willing to sacrifice to get to the top—and what it might take to break free and leave it all behind.
Carrie Sun was born in China and raised in Michigan. She holds an MFA in creative writing from The New School. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband. Private Equity is her first book.
Product Details ISBN: 9780593654996
ISBN-10: 0593654994
Publisher: Penguin Press
Publication Date: February 13th, 2024
Pages: 352
Language: English
“[Sun is] a keen observer of [wealth’s] subtleties and signifiers . . . The first chapters of the book engage in a form of concealment and restraint—the sort of writing that seems fitting for someone who succeeds in a job that demands compartmentalization and competence . . . As Sun starts to come apart under the pressure of her job, the writing gets more fragmented, and more experimental . . . There is a beautifully written section, catalyzed by a weeklong vacation to China, in which Sun offers a portrait of her parents during and after the Cultural Revolution, and tries to make sense of the volatile home she was raised in . . . It’s a smart structure, and well-executed: just as Sun’s self-abnegation becomes unsustainable, her writing breaks loose. The maneuver is unusually stylish for a memoir.” —Anna Wiener, The New Yorker

“A riveting, thoughtful memoir delving into questions around the psychological and physical cost of burnout and coming of age in the workplace. [Private Equity] surfaces deeper questions around what it means to be successful in America—and whether it’s actually worth it.” Fortune

“[Sun’s] awakening feels hard-won, and she captures the hollow cultishness that crept over white-collar New York in the Obama years, when Gordon Gekko types started going to SoulCycle. Indeed, the same qualities that nearly reduced her to an automaton have made her an astute, punctilious narrator.” —Harper’s Magazine

“An enthralling memoir about self-discovery, and a look at the dark side of extreme wealth and today's work culture.” Cosmopolitan

“[Sun’s] book is about career burnout and the hollowness of pursuing money, but it is also a satisfying story about a brilliant woman moving from self-doubt to self-confidence.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Carrie Sun’s memoir, about her experience working for a billionaire hedge fund tycoon, might read like fiction, but it all happened to her. It’s not only a funny, revealing, and exciting read, it’s also a fascinating look inside one of the world’s most secretive and powerful industries.” Town & Country
“A penetrating but all the more necessary critique of extreme wealth and toxic work culture as [Sun] questions what it really means to waste one’s life.” Oprah Daily, The Most Anticipated Books of 2024

“Wonderful . . . If you’re a fan of everything from Ishiguro to Michael Lewis, this book is worth checking out.” —Jay Caspian Kang, Time To Say Goodbye

“Piercing and propulsive. Carrie Sun’s examinations of this most rarified stratum are nuanced and poignant. Private Equity is a young woman’s reckoning, set at the summit of money and power that asks the most universal of questions: how much of ourselves do we owe our family and work and how do we find the courage to make our days our own?” —Stephanie Danler, New York Times bestselling author of Sweetbitter
"Private Equity is an extraordinarily gripping and revelatory journey through a world we rarely get to glimpse, despite its influence on our lives. But it is also a moving story of how easily a life can be submerged by work, and what it takes to regain one's soul.” —Oliver Burkeman, New York Times bestselling author of Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals
“Incisive, sharp, and utterly compelling, Carrie Sun’s memoir is a damning portrait of the finance industry and one woman’s harrowing journey through it. She captures with incredible precision the tunnel vision that wealth and privilege provides—as well as the disillusionment and burnout that can follow. Private Equity gives us an opportunity to reflect on our own relationships to work, and to think about how we might make a different way in the world.” —Mychal Denzel Smith, author of Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream
“Carrie Sun’s nuanced and shocking memoir depicts a woman’s rise in a high finance dystopia where an employee’s life is never private and nothing is equitable. Private Equity is the account of years of leashed efficiency that left her a wild and breaking heart and, eventually, the courage to speak its bitter, unsparing truth.” —Honor Moore, author of Our Revolution: A Mother and Daughter at Midcentury
“A fascinating memoir, tense and exciting, taking us inside a rarefied kingdom that, more than we'd like to admit, controls our lives. I highly recommend it.” —Phillip Lopate