Bully Market. Jamie Higgins.

Higgins, Jamie. Bully Market. Simon & Schuster, New York, 2020. NF/F 9/22

This is a memoir by a woman who at her up-from-poverty parents’ insistence joined the Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs. Through persistence, smarts (she was a math major) and not a little financial motivation she rose to a high management position, almost unprecedented for a woman. But then she quit Goldman abruptly and wrote this exposé of misogynistic nastiness that she experienced and which according to her is business as usual in this famous company.

In the face of superficial political correctness (well-equipped breast-feeding facility, mission statements emphasizing equal opportunity, and a large department dedicated to whistle-blowing) she reports she was systematically ignored, reviled, made the butt of jokes, and eventually inaccurately badly-reviewed by men whose boss she had become. She reported a vicious physical attack to the appropriate agency and it got back to her boss immediately resulting in a severe reprimand. Serious hemorrhaging from a miscarriage was minimized when she didn’t return to work in few days. There was rough physical abuse and sexual harassment, as well as a partially well-meaning romantic advance from a male colleague.

It was a brief blurb about Higgins in a recent New Yorker that prompted me to download this story. It certainly held my interest but mostly for shock value. I did wonder whether some of the sex content had been encouraged or edited in, but that might be unfair. The writing is thriller-style and not particularly engaging. Of course one never knows how much help someone like this author may have needed to hot things up and shoot for high sales and possibly a film contract.

Higgins wanted to be a social worker all along and bless her heart we’d like to assume, maybe hope, that that’s the direction she will take.

Anyway so-so for me, could be much more interesting for a strong feminist excited by the politics. 8.6/7.0

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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