In the new book, The Other Side of Wall Street: In Business It Pays to Be an Animal, In Life It Pays to Be Yourself, Todd Harrison tells his personal journey from starting out as a young trader at Morgan Stanley to working for two of the most infamous hedge funds -- Raj Rajaratnam's Galleon and Jim Cramer's Cramer, Berkowitz, & Co. — to his current position today as CEO of Minyanville.com.
Toddo, as many people know him, is very quick to make clear that this book is NOT a tell-all about what it was like to work for Galleon and Cramer.
"It is a book about priorities," he tells Aaron in the accompanying interview. "It is a book about what I discovered after spending my entire professional career trying to make money and validating myself with my bank account."
For years, Harrison's main priority was to head up a multi-million dollar hedge fund. And, he did just that. By 30 he was the President and head trader at Cramer's $400 million hedge fund.
But somewhere along the line, he realized that money doesn't buy happiness. "As a trader and as a money manager, I think you are void of a lot of those redemptive things that you can do," he says. "I know that I was for a long time, which is why I made such a massive shift in my lifestyle."
That's what now separates Todd from so many other people on Wall Street: his desire to give back to the community and bring people together.
Harrison and Minyanville are well known for its charitable branch, The Ruby Beck Foundation for Children's Education. Right now he and the Foundation are committed to rebuilding a high school library destroyed by the deadly tornado in Joplin, Missouri last month.
Harrison's Jim Cramer Chapter
One shocking account in the book details how Jim Cramer, now the host of CNBC's Mad Money, smashed a keyboard and threw a water bottle at Harrison as he was walking out the door. Again the book is not a tell-all on working for Jim Cramer, but Harrison does tell Aaron what it was like working for him on a day-to-day basis.
"It was either the best day ever or the worst day imaginable -- there were very few in betweens," says Harrison. "I genuinely care for Jim as a person. I think his heart is in the right place. I think he is a good man, [but] professionally the relationship was untenable."
Harrison's Galleon Group Chapter
Galleon Group made headlines recently after its billionaire manager Raj Rajaratnam was found guilty on 14 counts of insider trading. (For a refresher see: Rajaratnam Guilty of Insider Trading: Chilling Effect or Business as Usual?)
Harrison left Galleon on 1999. But the fact that he worked there certainly peaks interests over whether he ever saw signs of illegal activity.
"On my word, I never saw anything illegal, which isn't to say that things didn't happen, I [just] didn't see them," he says. "I am not in a position to comment on what I didn't have personal experience with."
So, why did he leave? His departure from the "cutthroat" firm in the late 90's came after management told him he didn't have what it took to make partner. He tells Aaron he beat himself up for years for just not being good enough. But in the book, he describes this failure at the best failure he's ever had.
"It goes to show you that everything happens for a reason," says Harrison.
- hedge funds
- Mad Money
- Jim Cramer
- Morgan Stanley