BOOKS: Career in finance inspires humorous novel

BOOKS: Career in finance inspires humorous novel


“It’s The Devil Wears Prada of Wall Street, in that you get a glimpse into finance — if you’ve ever worked in investment banking you’ll find anecdotes that really resonate, and for those that haven’t, it lets you know what the business is really like,” says Madeleine Henry about her new book "Breathe In, Cash Out," a humorous novel about a yoga-addicted investment banker just waiting for her super big yearly bonus so she can quit and open a yoga practice.

Henry herself is very much like her heroine, Allegra Cobb. She’s a Yale graduate and a former Goldman Sachs banker who is totally into yoga.

“The book shows the two worlds Allegra inhabits and how different they are, yoga versus finance, humility versus power and internal rewards versus external rewards,” says Henry, who recalls her own crazy schedule where days started at day 9 a.m. and ended at 10 p.m., when she was finally able to leave the office. Then it was drinks and complaints about how awful their jobs were with her colleague. Then to bed and repeat the entire scenario the next day.

As a bottom rung investment banker, Allegra spends up to 24 hours a day changing the colors on stacked bar charts, “making my bosses feel better about themselves.”

One of the reasons Allegra feels stuck in her job — besides the great pay, prestige and her anticipated bonus — is because her widowed father is so proud of her success, and since he’s sacrificed so much for her since her mother died, she finds it hard to tell him she’s chucking it all to teach yoga.

When Skylar Smith, a yogi guru with over 200,000 Instagram followers (making her one of the top InstaYogis,) offers to help her break into the business, Allegra sees herself getting close to her dream. Skylar, a beautiful blonde who models for expensive and trendy yoga clothing lines, has the life Allegra wants. At least that’s what she thinks at first.

Henry, who always loved to write and was a comedy writer for the Yale Recorder, has had so much success with this, her first novel, that she was able to quit her job at Goldman and now teaches yoga and has written her next novel.

Asked if some of the anecdotes she uses in her book about her time at Goldman might upset people she worked with, she laughs, saying “they’ll think it’s funny because it’s so true.”


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