Named a most-anticipated book of 2024 by NPR.org, 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, 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.