Book Review: Breathe In, Cash Out – Madeleine Henry

Breathe In, Cash Out

Wall Street is rarely anything I think about in, especially in terms of a career. But I picked up Breathe In, Cash Out since it seemed funny, quirky, and a little different than what I normally read.

The author takes her experience working on Wall Street as an analyst, coupled it with other analyst anecdotes she’s heard about from others, and created an amusing novel that made me feel just as shackled as the MC, Allegra.

Allegra Cobb’s resume:
Straight-A Princeton grad, second-year analyst at a top-tier bank, one-time USA Yoga National Champion.

Allegra Cobb’s reality:
Spends twenty-four hours a day changing the colors on bar charts, overusing the word “team,” and daydreaming about quitting the minute her year-end bonus hits her account. She has no interest in the cutthroat banking world—she’s going to launch her very own yoga practice.

A book about taking risks, including disappointing those you care about, Breathe In, Cash Out is a reminder that “making tons of money” isn’t always the best thing for you, if you sacrifice much more than it’s worth.

Breathe In, Cash Out is a clever and funny, though stark picture of Wall Street’s cutthroat, high income, high stress reality. Analyst’s work sometimes days in a row, without sleep, running on coffee fumes. Their year-end bonuses range from $70,000-100,000. Analysts are young, intelligent, driven, and typically educated at Ivy Leagues. Having a life outside of work is both confusing and frowned upon. Anything but complete dedication to work is sacrilegious. The environment is toxic.

The writing is fresh, and Madeleine Henry draws enough from reality to make Allegra’s life seem like something you would believe. She could be a friend of a friend, or a cousin, or a former classmate, making six figures right out of college and living in New York City. With a cast of characters who could be people you know, Breathe In, Cash Out brings to life a world few ever see behind the curtains of.

I was a little jealous of Allegra’s chance to make as much money as she does right out of school, while living in NYC, and “living the dream.” But like anything, once you take a look under the surface, things are anything but a dream. I counted my blessings reading this book, including having a job I enjoy that pays me a good salary. I may not be Allegra Cobb, but I’m also not Allegra Cobb.

Madeleine Henry, the author, also has her own Instagram yoga account, madeleinehenryyoga.
I suggest following her.

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