Todd Harrison carries a unique kind of respect on Wall Street. He’s known as one of the good guys.
Todd is out with an excellent new book The Other Side of Wall Street: In Business It Pays to Be an Animal, In Life It Pays to Be Yourself revealing his inner thoughts as he came of age in the capital of capitalism. I caught up with Todd to discuss a few issues at the heart of his story.
Damien Hoffman: Todd, you share a lot about the egos and temptations of Wall Street. What advice do you have for someone who loves stocks and finance yet wants to hold their ground against the Gordon Gekkos of the street?
Todd Harrison: Surround yourself with people you trust, take pride in your name and word, be able to look yourself in the mirror. Remember that your life is a marathon, not a sprint.
Also, the leading companies coming out of the crisis won’t be the same as those who entered it. So, look outside the traditional realm of financial institutions for new and outstanding opportunities.
Damien: Do you think attitudes on Wall St. have changed since the great crash of ’08? Is there a deeper sense of responsibility for dealing in goods/services which heavily impact the global economy?
Todd: In some ways, but not others. When the point of recognition arrived, some folks dedicated themselves to finding answers and being a part of the solution (a “solution” a dedicated group of individuals had been preparing for long before the need arrived). For others, however, the goals and game remains the same: making money and being part of the bigger, better thing. For those individuals, the failure to learn from the first phase of this crisis is in many ways profoundly sad.
We would be wise to remember that this age of austerity is an era, not an event. We’re only in the early innings after many years of societal largess. In my view, we’ll see waves of social, geopolitical and financial change before the dust is allowed to settle. For this, we should all prepare in kind.
Damien: Speaking of preparation, you’re a proud father now. How has that changed your view of the business world and your role in it?
Todd: Having my own family has motivated me beyond anything I’ve ever known; but, that has more to do with the man I am rather than the balance of my bank account. No, they’re not mutually exclusive endeavors!
Todd Harrison is the founder of Minyanville. You can read all the details and interesting stories of his experience in his new book The Other Side of Wall Street: In Business It Pays to Be an Animal, In Life It Pays to Be Yourself.