The Creation Story of Wall Street

An Excerpt From My 2006 Manuscript

I’m off getting married this weekend and didn’t have time to write anything new for you before I left, but I’m going to raise the stakes and share something I’ve never shared with anyone, ever: the introduction from a work of autofiction that I tried to write back in 2006, shortly after I left my job on Wall Street. I got about 35,000 words into it and then became consumed by my startup and never finished. The working title of the book was “Intelligent Design: Wall Street’s Secret Program to Clone Humans.” As you can see, mimesis (even while I didn’t call it that) was very much on my mind, even then.

Here it is.


In the beginning, there was simplicity. Banks took deposits and made loans. They had relationships with their customers, and the people who worked at them were happy.

Then Dick said, “Let there be more,” and there was more. Banks multiplied and filled the earth. New things sprang up within them until they were teeming with more of everything. Dick saw that more was good.

Then Dick said, “Let there be investments,” and the banks made investments. He separated the investments from the loans by putting the investments in special places called investment banks.

The investment banks flourished and brought forth new investments--creeping, crawling, complex instruments of every sort.

Then Dick created an investment banker in His image to have dominion over the investment banks and all of the creeping, crawling, complex instruments. Dick blessed him, saying, “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over all of the creeping, crawling complex instruments.” And Dick saw how good the investment banker was.

The investment banker gave names to all of the creeping, crawling, complex instruments. After he gave them names, he realized that none of these things were like him; none of them were flesh of his flesh or tie of his tie.

Dick realized that it was not good for the investment banker to be alone. And so Dick said, “Let me also make a company in My image, after My likeness, to share dominion with all of the creeping things that creep on Wall Street.” And so Dick created the company in His image. In the image of Dick He created them; investment banker and company He created them.

Then Dick showed the investment banker a tree on which money grew plentiful. He commanded him, saying, “You shall not pick from the tree of money, for if you do then you will surely want more of everything.”

Within days, the investment banker was wearing a Hermes tie and wearing an ostentatious hunk of metal on his wrist. He acquired a taste for arugula. And he swore that he was innocent like a date who struts out of the bathroom with toilet paper hanging out of her skirt claiming that all she did was touch-up her make-up.

Dick saw that this was especially good.