Summary of The Bonfire of the Vanities

First Edition: 1987 more...

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The Bonfire of the Vanities book summary
When we start abstracting fiction, we select very carefully. This is a must-read business novel for would-be masters of the universe — and if you don’t yet know that phrase, here’s your opportunity.


9 Overall

2 Applicability

10 Innovation

10 Style


Tom Wolfe, an eloquent, if sometimes pessimistic, writer who deeply understands modern culture, wrote this massive, classic tale of greed, ambition and power. He casts the story of financier Sherman McCoy in the financial world of Wall Street, but includes the racial, political and economic issues of New York City in the early 1980s. Even 13 years after its publication date, this is still a gripping read. You can use this book as the starting point for reading about business culture from a fictionalized perspective. Or, you can combine it with Michael Lewis’ Liar’s Poker and The New New Thing, for insight from fact and fiction into the major episodes of greed and economic boom in the past 20 years. This undeclared trilogy examines the desire - not confined to Americans, though the books are U.S.-based - to achieve wealth at any cost. getAbstract recommends this book, all by itself, as a seminal volume in business fiction.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How greed can make a liar out of anyone
  • Why power is so intoxicating.


Master of the Universe
"I am a Master of the Universe!" Sherman McCoy thought after he completed a trade that netted him $50,000. Little did it matter that the bond salesman borrowed the term from his daughter’s doll set, a rather vulgar set of plastic dolls with the names Dracon...
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About the Author

Tom Wolfe  , a reporter and novelist, is the author of a dozen books, among them such contemporary classics as the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff and A Man in Full.

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