POLITICS

Old Money, Wretched Excess: A Journey Inside Wall Street's Most Secret Society

02/19/2014 04:35 pm ET | Updated Feb 19, 2014

When Kevin Roose of New York magazine snuck into the 80th annual dinner of Wall Street secret society Kappa Beta Phi, he wasn't simply trying to see if he could become the first reporter ever to infiltrate one of Wall Street's most tightly guarded gatherings. (Though let's face it, that's pretty baller.) Roose had other motivations -- namely, concern for the eight young finance industry workers he had come to know while writing his new book, Young Money: Inside the Hidden World Of Wall Street's Post-Crash Recruits.

Young Money follows these eight bright minds as they navigate the often perilous world of high finance, and documents the extent to which the industry inculcates its own bespoke culture in entry-level employees. As Roose admits, "one question that proved stubbornly elusive was what happened to Wall Streeters as they climbed the ladder to adulthood." Crashing the Kappa party, by his reckoning, was a good way to "see these barons in their natural environment" and "understand the world my young subjects were stepping into."

While the Kappas will do little to disabuse you of the notion that Wall Street is a realm of superficiality and excess, Roose's "young subjects" might convince you otherwise. In Young Money, they struggle against the day-to-day grind and with their own consciences, nagged by the sense that they could be doing something productive with their lives, were they not caught up in what Roose calls Wall Street's "cultural contagion."

Roose joined HuffPost Live to talk about his book. Check out the interview in the video above, or click here to watch the full clip.

Also on HuffPost:

  • 1 Rachael Chong, 31; CEO and founder, Catchafire
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    As a successful investment banker, Rachael Chong was dissatisfied with her opportunities for giving back in a meaningful way. She soon swapped the corporate world for the nonprofit one, founding Catchafire, an organization which helps professionals volunteer pro bono services to nonprofits without quitting their day jobs.
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  • 3 Ben Keesey, 30; Executive Director and CEO, Invisible Children
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  • 5 Patrick Dowd, 26; founder and CEO, Millennial Trains Project
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  • 6 Alejandro Gac-Artigas, 25; Founder, Springboard Collaborative
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    Formerly employed by McKinsey & Company, Alejandro Gac-Artigas leapt into education with the 2011 launch of Springboard Collaborative. The Philadelphia-based organization has helped narrow the literacy gap for 642 children by providing teachers and parents with skills to incentivize learning and reading over the summer break. Gac-Artigas was motivated to found the startup because he was frustrated by the "summertime reading losses in elementary school that account for two-thirds of the achievement gap in high school."
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  • 8 Tinia Pina, 30; CEO and founder, Re-Nuble, Inc.
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