Fri, 28 October 2016
Author Sam Polk has had an interesting journey to authorship. The former hedge fund manager had traveled what many would consider the picture perfect upward trajectory journey, escaping the confines of a "Willy Loman-like dad" and landing at Columbia University. But an addiction to drugs and alcohol, among other vices, helped him get kicked out. No matter! He landed on Wall Street, where he quickly rose to the top. But then he realized, as some do, that the top was empty and that his lifelong belief that enough money would cure all that ailed him wasn't true. And so he left Wall Street, began working on a book about it and sent off a blind query to the New York Times about how sick his money obsession had made him. This piece, For the Love of Money, immediately went insanely viral and his book (also called For the Love of Money) snatched up by Scribner. It's no wonder; the book is impossible to put down and takes the reader to when his final Wall Street bonus was $3.6 million and he was, as he wrote in the Times, "angry because it wasn’t big enough." He was 30.
Times have changed for the happily married, LA-dwelling father of two, who's been sober for 14 years and is now the cofounder and CEO of Everytable, a social enterprise that sells fresh, yummy food at reasonable prices and the founder and Executive Director of Groceryships, a nonprofit that helps low-income families struggling with food-related illnesses. In this episode, we talk about our societal obsession with money, how many Wall Street-ers want out but are trapped in gilded cages and the break up that led him to bottom out, among many other topics.