When it comes to wheeling and dealing in these times, nothing comes close to the action in Silicon Valley, and IPOs that can make or break dreams, careers, and fortunes. The Underwriting is a look at the public (and private) lives of a group of ambitious hopefuls.
One of the most fascinating things about reading about people with money is what it does to people. Questionable judgment, greed begetting greed, and morals coming into question. This book tells the story of Tina Fontana, a faithful assistant to a powerful CEO, who, by a slight error in accounting, falls into something wholly unexpected.
Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty
Ramona Ausubel’s novel is full of humor and thoughtfulness and explores the story of Fern and Edgar—happily married, living a lush life on Martha’s Vineyard in the 1970s. An unexpected event sends their fortunes in reverse and forces their family on a journey to examine their relationships with wealth, class, and mobility.
After their father’s death, Rupert Falkes’ five sons and widow must grapple with a contest to his estate, from a woman who claims to have had two children by their late father. This inevitably forces the characters to jockey for position and defend their right to his money. This, however, forces some to question: what even is an inheritance? What does it mean to take over someone’s legacy?
According to The Wall Street Journal, it’s “A Bonfire of the Vanities for our times.” This novel tells the story of Merrill Darling, the daughter of a billionaire. It’s told by someone who “knows her way around 21st-century wealth and power,” because the author herself is a former analyst at Goldman Sachs and the daughter of a financier.
Crazy Rich Asians (Movie Tie-In Edition)
If your favorite parts of Succession are the love interests, don’t overlook Crazy Rich Asians. The book (and blockbuster film it inspired) are fully of family secrets, betrayal, and financial intrigue. Sure, it’s a love story first, but the wealth makes it that much more glamorous.
Bright Lights, Big City
No time period embodies the excess and unfiltered greed as much as the ‘80s. And no city better exemplifies it than New York. This 1984 novel became a sensation, and is worth a reread (or a first look) in the context of Succession.
If you’ve ever broken some Gr-eggs to make Tom-elette, then these are the books for you.
Succession, in so many ways, is a perfect TV show. It’s full of family drama, high-stakes business dealings, and dark humor. However, the story is literally as old as time (it’s the “Prodigal Son” or “King Lear” told through a thinly veiled fictitious family who strongly resembles the Murdochs), but produced by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell. It’s brilliantly acted by a cast of characters who take their stereotypes to new depths. You have Shiv, the overachieving and too-ambitious-for-her-own-good daughter, Kendall, the too-desperate-for-approval son, Roman, the idiot savant, and, of course, Logan Roy, their puppet-master father. The show is brought to life by settings straight out of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” but made memorable by the satire and cynicism in how they’re presented. But if you’re a fan, you already know this.
Check out these reads for similar stories of family drama, inheritance, and the back-stabbing. Because there’s something delicious about the inevitable unravelling that comes from the greed of wanting too much.