Michael Osinski wrote the software responsible for managing mortgage bonds in the US. Starting on Wall Street in 1985, he chronicles his rise and the decadence of his peers whilst working for banks like Lehmann and Kidder, Peabody & Co.

Illustration by Kagan McLeod

Anecdotes featuring (literal) pissing contests, $2 millions worth of bonuses and men unable to cope with the power at their hands, make for an excellent article. The story ends with him giving up Wall Street for farming oysters in Suffolk.


Last month, my neighbor, a retired schoolteacher, offered to deliver my oysters into the city. He had lost half his savings, and his pension had been cut by 30 percent. The chain of events from my computer to this guy’s pension is lengthy and intricate. But it’s there, somewhere. Buried like a keel in the sand. If you dive deep enough, you’ll see it. To know that a dozen years of diligent work somehow soured, and instead of benefiting society unhinged it, is humbling.