The co-op bookstore for avid readers
Book Cover for: Private Equity: A Memoir, Carrie Sun

Private Equity: A Memoir

Carrie Sun

Named a most-anticipated book of 2024 by NPR.org, Oprah Daily, Town & Country, The Millions, Financial Times, and more.

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.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Penguin Press
  • Publish Date: Feb 13rd, 2024
  • Pages: 352
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.26in - 6.33in - 0.96in - 1.18lb
  • EAN: 9780593654996
  • Categories: MemoirsWomen in BusinessFinance - Wealth Management

About the Author

Carrie Sun was born in China and raised in Michigan. She holds an MFA in creative writing from The New School. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband. Private Equity is her first book.
Praise for this book
"[Sun is] a keen observer of [wealth's] subtleties and signifiers . . . The first chapters of the book engage in a form of concealment and restraint--the sort of writing that seems fitting for someone who succeeds in a job that demands compartmentalization and competence . . . As Sun starts to come apart under the pressure of her job, the writing gets more fragmented, and more experimental . . . There is a beautifully written section, catalyzed by a weeklong vacation to China, in which Sun offers a portrait of her parents during and after the Cultural Revolution, and tries to make sense of the volatile home she was raised in . . . It's a smart structure, and well-executed: just as Sun's self-abnegation becomes unsustainable, her writing breaks loose. The maneuver is unusually stylish for a memoir." --Anna Wiener, The New Yorker

"[Sun's] awakening feels hard-won, and she captures the hollow cultishness that crept over white-collar New York in the Obama years, when Gordon Gekko types started going to SoulCycle. Indeed, the same qualities that nearly reduced her to an automaton have made her an astute, punctilious narrator." --Harper's Magazine

"An enthralling memoir about self-discovery, and a look at the dark side of extreme wealth and today's work culture." --Cosmopolitan

"Piercing and propulsive. Carrie Sun's examinations of this most rarified stratum are nuanced and poignant. Private Equity is a young woman's reckoning, set at the summit of money and power that asks the most universal of questions: how much of ourselves do we owe our family and work and how do we find the courage to make our days our own?" --Stephanie Danler, New York Times bestselling author of Sweetbitter

"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

"Carrie Sun's memoir, about her experience working for a billionaire hedge fund tycoon, might read like fiction, but it all happened to her. It's not only a funny, revealing, and exciting read, it's also a fascinating look inside one of the world's most secretive and powerful industries." --Town & Country

"A penetrating but all the more necessary critique of extreme wealth and toxic work culture as [Sun] questions what it really means to waste one's life." --Oprah Daily, The Most Anticipated Books of 2024

"Private Equity is an extraordinarily gripping and revelatory journey through a world we rarely get to glimpse, despite its influence on our lives. But it is also a moving story of how easily a life can be submerged by work, and what it takes to regain one's soul." --Oliver Burkeman, New York Times bestselling author of Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

"Incisive, sharp, and utterly compelling, Carrie Sun's memoir is a damning portrait of the finance industry and one woman's harrowing journey through it. She captures with incredible precision the tunnel vision that wealth and privilege provides--as well as the disillusionment and burnout that can follow. Private Equity gives us an opportunity to reflect on our own relationships to work, and to think about how we might make a different way in the world." --Mychal Denzel Smith, author of Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream

"Carrie Sun's nuanced and shocking memoir depicts a woman's rise in a high finance dystopia where an employee's life is never private and nothing is equitable. Private Equity is the account of years of leashed efficiency that left her a wild and breaking heart and, eventually, the courage to speak its bitter, unsparing truth." --Honor Moore, author of Our Revolution: A Mother and Daughter at Midcentury

"A fascinating memoir, tense and exciting, taking us inside a rarefied kingdom that, more than we'd like to admit, controls our lives. I highly recommend it." --Phillip Lopate