By David Denby

During this Bracingly sincere, Page-Turning Memoir, what starts as a manic cash chase-desperate to hold directly to his domestic after his marriage breaks up. David Denby realizes he should purchase out his wife's percentage provided that he can first make a killing within the inventory market-ultimately turns into an unforgettable come upon with such everlasting matters as envy, love, loss of life, sanity, and happiness. American Sucker is a singularly compelling story of the high-tech bubble similar now not via a marketplace guru or an funding specialist yet via a witty, perceptive, and eloquent outsider.

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What would they have said? Plato, observing a man staring at shadows in a cave, would not have been in the least surprised. But Hegel, I imagined, would have been dismayed by the passivity of erotic contemplation, just as he was dismayed by the passivity of religious contemplation, and Nietzsche, I was sure, would have been disgusted by the absence of vigorous, joyful activity — fighting, dancing, revelry, lovemaking — even though Nietzsche, poor crazy bastard, was as terrified of women as any man who ever lived.

In the subway, people may have avoided contact with their neighbors, but some of these sullen-looking New Yorkers, just trying to get to work, must have shared that hope and wanted a piece of the bounty. In the last few years, the usual desire to make a pile had merged with the sunrise ardor of creating a new way of buying, communicating, and doing business. At its most extreme and utopian, the vision ballooned into 24 4132 American Sucker 11/6/03 11:23 AM Page 25 grandiose views of an altered reality, a new human being exchanging his soulful essence with spiritual machines.

I entered a dense crowd of people, though I immediately realized, to my relief, that the scene was not what New York journalists call a “ratfuck” — a packed gathering (book party, awards party, promotional event) of like44 4132 American Sucker 11/6/03 11:23 AM Page 45 minded media workers, an experience that can pass, according to whom you’re pressed up against, from deep pleasure to intense misery. No, the overall tone was one of bounding, thriving conviviality. People introduced themselves without hesitation and whipped out their business cards.

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