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Make Me Even and I'll Never Gamble Again Bets On...

Make Me Even and I'll Never Gamble Again

August 2018

MAKE ME EVEN AND I’LL NEVER GAMBLE AGAIN by hedge fund pioneer Jerrold Fine is a coming-of-age novel set in the 1960s and ’70s that has a lot of heart and soul. I love the voice of the book’s protagonist, Rogers Stout. He’s a Midwest guy who finds his way to Wharton and then to Wall Street after an internship in Cincinnati. Along the way, he does not forget his values or his roots as he begins to play the financial game. At the start, he’s playing poker at an invite-only game; he learned poker at Sunday night suppers with his dad, but at this table the stakes are a lot higher. The way he plays and strategizes, he takes on the energy of a poker game in Molly’s Game, albeit in a cool, calculated way. Rogers is in control and ready to run the table, with nerves of steel.

He has values that have come from his strong relationship with his dad. Rogers’ mom passed away when he was young, and while there is a void for her not being in his life, he and his dad are close. So when he chooses not to pursue a career in the medical profession like his dad, it’s a heavy decision. He packs his energy and smarts off to Wharton, where he has professors who challenge him and make him think. At the same time, he is looking out at the broader world and seeing how he is going to be a part of it. While still in school, he watches the real estate scene that is part of the early days of the casino trade in Atlantic City. He sees what the opening of a casino there is going to mean to the area, and tracks this to be part of its opening stock play. He dogs the workers on the scene trying to get a feel for the place --- what it’s going to be and how it’s going to perform. As a result, he snares a tidy profit before he even gets out of school.

Wall Street beckons, and there he takes the same nerves of steel that worked for him at the poker table and applies them to his trades at a hedge fund. Readers will be familiar with some of the world events that are impacting the market, and it’s interesting to look at them with the eyes of an insider. What’s intriguing is how the funds were run then with much less outside drama than today, when Bloomberg News and every other cable outlet are tracking stocks and the shouting from the Street seems deafening. This truly is a look at an older Wall Street, though the pace still is crazy and full of risks.

While reading, I learned a lot about the world of finance --- and how hedge funds work. My prior knowledge was based on Showtime’s “Billions,” which clearly skews entertainment more than reality. But at the same time, in this novel I saw a young man come to terms with his life and who he is. And, oh, there are two love interests who add a lot of heart to the story. Charlotte and Elsbeth are very different women, but they come into Rogers’ life when he needs them. You’ll have to read to see which one he sticks with for the long haul.

If there are men out there looking for a book group selection, MAKE ME EVEN AND I’LL NEVER GAMBLE AGAIN would be perfect for a discussion. Also, for anyone trying to get a primer to the market and how things work behind the scenes, this book will get you into the game. And it is one high-stakes game.

Make Me Even and I'll Never Gamble Again
by Jerrold Fine

  • Publication Date: August 14, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks
  • ISBN-10: 1948122057
  • ISBN-13: 9781948122054