In the final (…for now…) installment of this series, we relax as if we just took off our pants and learn about Trevor Lefkowitz.
Sidenote, if you have suggestions for future “Hitting the Books with…” installments, let us know.
Played by Asher Grodman, Trevor is the ghosts newest to the afterlife. Having died in 2000, he is the most familiar with the modern technology Sam and Jay bring into the mansion. Though Trevor is a young man when he died in 2000, he is clearly influenced by the depictions of Wall Street traders made popular by Michael Douglas’s portrayal of Gordon Gekko in 1987’s Wall Street; a film still well known by its “Greed is Good” speech.
Beyond that, an excellent and fun exploration of stock traders in the 1980s and 1990s can be found in Jordan Belfort’s memoir, The Wolf of Wall Street. You might have heard of it. It inspired some movie with some actors.
Though this is a fun book, I am disappointed that there aren’t more books about Wall Street in the 1990s. After all, this is when the internet was booming and the majority of trading shifted online. E-Trade may have been founded in 1982, but it was in the 1990s that it partnered with America Online and Compuserve. E*Trade was so successful that it even went public in 1996. Basically, it was Robinhood, but responsibly managed. With that said, here’s a fun overview of the 1990s from Crash Course US History.
With that said, a book that comes close to the insanity and corruption of Wall Street in the 1990s is The Man Who Broke Capitalism: How Jack Welch Gutted the Heartland and Crushed the Soul of Corporate America-And How to Undo His Legacy. This book – with a ridiculously long title – was written by David Gelles and explores how Jack Welch, while CEO of General Electric (GE) from 1981 to 2001. It gives a sense how Jack Welch’s focus on shareholder value vaporized hundreds of thousands of jobs and even engaged the company’s legacy. As Emily Peck wrote for Axios, “Welch’s legacy ultimately helped destroy General Electric, a former giant of American industrialism. A combination of scandals, terrible deal-making and the financial crisis drove the company into a ditch.”
While these texts fail to paint a picture of what Trevor’s day-to-day life would be like, they show the philosophical environment he would have to operate in.