Norb Vonnegut writes about wealth management and speaks publicly about industry topics ranging from Fintech to the Department of Labor’s fiduciary requirements.
The New York Times describes his three Wall Street thrillers as “a red-hot franchise” and “his own improbably sexy genre.” His novels include The Trust (2012), The Gods of Greenwich, a NYT summer read for 2011, and Top Producer, which the Today Show on NBC picked for its list of “fall reads” during 2009.
A contributing columnist for WSJ.com, Vonnegut probes wealth management issues ranging from cybersecurity to the gender pay gap among industry professionals to the clash between Wall Street and Silicon Valley for market share of investment management. He also blogs for the CFA, writing about issues like due diligence in wealth management or why ratio analysis can be deceptive.
His first non-fiction book (coming soon) is a defensive playbook for investors. Organized around five precepts, “Hunters and Skinners” uses true stories to illustrate practical techniques that help families become investment savvy and defend themselves from financial predators.
Vonnegut has appeared on Bloomberg, MSNBC, and the Judith Regan Show among other broadcasts. He is a frequent speaker at industry events. His presentations include “Is the Fintech Rally Boom or Bust,” which he delivered at the Inside Fintech conference in Seoul, Korea. In his TEDx Providence video, he answers the question, “How do you know you can trust somebody with your money?”
During his two decades in wealth management, either as an industry commentator or financial adviser, Vonnegut spent ten years with the Private Wealth Management division of Morgan Stanley in New York City, where he developed an international practice with over $1 billion in assets under management. In this capacity, he developed expertise in trust-and-estate strategies for families with concentrated equity positions.
After growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, Vonnegut still self identifies as southern even though he attended Harvard College and Harvard Business School, spent time in the Philippines, Australia, and New York, and now lives in Rhode Island with his wife Mary. They have two children and a very vain diva-dog named Lucy, who holds court every night while promenading along the Narragansett Seawall.
To see what Vonnegut is thinking about today, follow him on Twitter @NorbVonnegut or visit his website, norbvonnegut.com, which points you in all the right directions online.
The NYT describes NORB VONNEGUT’s novels (The Trust, The Gods of Greenwich, Top Producer) as “a red-hot franchise” and says, “He is three for three in his own improbably sexy genre.”
Vonnegut is a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. His first non-fiction book, The Dirty Little Secrets of Money, is practical, financial advice for anyone who wants to avoid mistakes, put Wall Street on its heels, and keep what’s theirs in the family.
A Harvard graduate, Vonnegut is a partner with Fiduciary Wealth Partners, an investment management and advisory firm headquartered in Boston. LIKE Norb Vonnegut Books on Facebook for more.
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MR. PRESIDENT (2012)
What happens when greed collides with blind ambition? In this short story, available exclusively as an eBook, Grove O’Rourke discovers how far powerful adversaries will go to push their political agendas. The prize: the presidency of the United States.
Nobody else knows what Grove knows. He unearths secrets about his clients, some close to home and some smoldering in the stacks of a Harvard library. He can keep quiet, pander to whoever comes out on top, and keep his thirty pieces of silver. Or he can do the right thing, destroy his career, and trash his personal reputation. It’s lose-lose any way you look at it.
Who would have expected an unscheduled meeting to create this quandary? Grove was walking his dog, returning from Central Park. That’s when a professor from Harvard Business School rolled down the window of a black Lincoln Town Car and said, “Get in.”
What a ride. Grove thought his industry was tough. But in Mr. President, he learns that Wall Street is a nursery compared to the power corridors of Washington, DC.
File Size: 263 KB
Print Length: 146 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
THE TRUST (2012)
“Mr. Vonnegut dreams up diabolically elegant business crimes, then sends smart-talking characters to follow the money. He draws upon his own Wall Street experience (with Morgan Stanley, among other employers) to provide the sound of insider acumen…. There’s enough novelty to this plot to set “The Trust” apart from garden-variety business thrillers, the ones in which Bernard Madoff stand-ins run Ponzi schemes. Anyway, Mr. Vonnegut is just getting started.”
–The New York Times
One sultry morning in Charleston, South Carolina, real estate magnate Palmer Kincaid’s body washes ashore, the apparent victim of accidental drowning. Palmer’s daughter calls Grove O’Rourke, stockbroker and hero of Top Producer, for help getting her family’s affairs in order. Palmer was Grove’s mentor and client, the guy who opened doors to a world beyond Charleston. Grove steps in as the interim head of the Palmetto Foundation, an organization Palmer created to encourage philanthropy.
Community foundations, like the Palmetto Foundation, are conduits. Philanthropists gift money to them and propose the ultimate beneficiaries. But in exchange for miscellaneous benefits—anonymity, investment services, and favorable tax treatment—donors lose absolute control. Once funds arrive, community foundations can do whatever they decide.
For years Palmer showed great sensitivity to his donors, honoring their wishes to funnel funds into the charities of their choice—his unspoken pledge—and it was this largesse which made him a respected pillar of the Charleston community. But after Grove authorizes a $25 million transfer requested by a priest from the Catholic Fund, he discovers something is terribly wrong. He gets a call from Biscuit Hughes, a lawyer representing the people of Fayetteville, North Carolina, against a new sex superstore in their town. Biscuit has traced the store’s funding to a most unlikely source: the Catholic Fund.
Together, Grove and Biscuit launch an investigation into the fund, but the deeper they dig, the more evidence they find that the fund’s money isn’t being used to support the impoverished—it’s going somewhere much more sinister. When someone close to him disappears and the FBI starts breathing down his neck, Grove knows he has to figure out who’s pulling all the strings before the shadowy figure who will stop at nothing to keep the fund a secret gets to him.
Print Length: 317 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (July 17, 2012)
Sold by: Macmillan
THE GODS of GREENWICH (2011)
Norb Vonnegut didn’t realize how close he skirted to non-fiction when he was writing Top Producer. Penned before tumultuous revelations and scandals rocked the financial world in late 2008, Vonnegut’s novel depicts, with an insider’s solid knowledge, the tricks that the industry’s real top producers pull in their frenzied pursuit of billions. Now Vonnegut sets his electrifying follow-up in the high-rolling world of hedge funds, lending his seasoned perspective to a fresh, riveting financial thriller.
Jimmy Cusack is the tough kid from a blue-collar neighborhood who made good on Wall Street. Well, almost. After a sterling start to his career, things have soured. His hedge fund has collapsed. The bank is foreclosing on his condominium. And his wife is two months pregnant. That’s the good news.
When Cusack takes a “”must-have” job with Leeser Capital, a fund impervious to the capital market woes, his real troubles begin. Forget about Bernie Madoff or Gordon Gekko—there’s a new villain on Wall Street, and his name is….
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Author: Norb Vonnegut
On Sale: 9/15/2009
Trim: 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches
TOP PRODUCER (2009)
TOP PRODUCER takes readers into the world of Grove O’Rourke, a rising star at the brokerage firm of Sachs, Kidder, and Carnegie who has buried his recent personal losses in an adrenalized pursuit of wealth for his clients. Grove is no stranger to rough patches, but now his life appears to be heading into a real tailspin.
After he—along with several hundred other people—witnesses his close friend Charlie Keleman die in the most gruesome way imaginable, Grove sets out to help Charlie’s widow. And help is just what she needs; Charlie was a financial whiz and the genius behind a fantastic hedge fund, but the money he was managing seems to have vanished. And Alex Romanov, a friendly competitor on Wall Street (as if there could possibly be such a thing), has expressed a very keen interest in any information on Charlie’s assets that Grove can turn up—information that, as Grove starts to piece it together, makes him a much sought-after man in certain homicidal circles.
Fantastic energy, like millions of dollars changing hands every second, electrifies each page of TOP PRODUCER, and Vonnegut doesn’t skimp on the insights into the peculiar psychology of the financial world’s elite.
Publisher: Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books
Author: Norb Vonnegut
On Sale: 9/15/2009
Trim: 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches
Praise for THE TRUST
“Norb Vonnegut is the seriously underappreciated author of three glittery thrillers about fiscal malfeasance. This may not sound like a red-hot franchise, but he has made it one. With “Top Producer” (2009), “The Gods of Greenwich” (2011) and now “The Trust,” he is three for three in his own improbably sexy genre.
Mr. Vonnegut dreams up diabolically elegant business crimes, then sends smart-talking characters to follow the money. He draws upon his own Wall Street experience (with Morgan Stanley, among other employers) to provide the sound of insider acumen. “I’ve had 14 managers over the last 10 years,” Grove O’Rourke says at the start of the new book. Grove was the stockbroker hero of “Top Producer,” and now he’s back for an encore.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“Mommas, don’t let your sons grow up to be Manhattan brokers or board members of charitable foundations. They’d never survive the combination of criminal plots and personal threats.
When Grove O’Rourke takes a call from Palmer Kincaid, his old mentor and his biggest client, he can tell that the old man is more than worried. But he doesn’t catch the next plane to Kincaid’s home in Charleston, S.C. As a result, he has to make the trip anyway for Palmer’s funeral after he’s killed in a convenient one-person boating accident. Smarting with guilt, Grove agrees to join Palmer’s daughter Claire, 33, and his second wife JoJo, 39, on the board of the Palmetto Foundation, which Palmer launched and headed. Another mistake. Katy Anders, Grove’s boss at Sachs, Kidder and Carnegie, is anything but supportive. And the very first item of business before the Foundation, a transfer of $65 million donated by the Catholic Fund to the Foundation for relief work in the Philippines, raises Grove’s hackles. He’s taken aback by dogged Fayetteville lawyer Biscuit Hughes’ revelation that the Catholic Fund owns Highly Intimate Pleasures, an adult novelty superstore, and he doesn’t trust Father Frederick Ricardo, the fast-talking Maryknoll priest who’s pressing for the transfer. Just to keep the pressure up, Grove learns that Morgan Stanley Dean Witter is poised to purchase his division at SKC and that Isabelle Torres of the FBI is dogging his every move and demanding he spill everything he knows about the Foundation. And that’s all before JoJo is kidnapped by someone demanding $200 million—virtually all the Foundation’s assets—for her safe return.
A fast and furious novel from Vonnegut (The Gods of Greenwich, 2011, etc.) and a guaranteed good time.”
The Trust is a fast fun, totally engrossing thriller that hooked me on page one and never let go. Vonnegut knows the financial world inside and out, and his expertise raised this excellent story to the highest level. The Trust is a winner from start to finish. I loved it.
– Christopher Reich
Norb Vonnegut is the Nelson DeMille of finance thrillers. Traveling with his characters and getting the inside skinny on the brokerage business is a must for all fiction lovers!
– Alexandra Lebenthal
Praise for THE GODS OF GREENWICH
“Norb Vonnegut offers you a witty, keenly observed peek into the sometimes-lethal world of very high-stakes gambling politely known as “investing,” and into the rare types who play the game. The Gods of Greenwich is compelling, suspenseful, high-energy, a terrific read!”
“Norb Vonnegut’s THE GODS OF GREENWICH might very well be a harbinger of a new thriller sub-genre: the Financial Thriller. Not only does Vonnegut tell a ripping good yarn, but he makes sense out of the confusing world of hedge funds, stocks, CDOs, and derivatives, and manages to entertain at the same time!”
– Raymond Benson, author of several James Bond novels and co-author of HOMEFRONT–THE VOICE OF FREEDOM
“Vonnegut writes richly and wonderfully, every page sparkling with inventiveness and wit. This is way, way beyond just being a fast-paced financial thriller. I’ve not read such a rich portrayal of downfall through hubris since Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities.”
“If anybody can turn international finance and hedge funds into a riveting thriller, it’s Norb Vonnegut. The Gods of Greenwich is a pure delight, racing relentlessly from the bedrooms of Manhattan to the boardrooms of Connecticut to the banks of Iceland. Bravo!”
“The Gods of Greenwich is a fast-paced and satisfying locomotive of a financial-based thriller, Dominick Dunne meet Barbarians at the Gate. Vonnegut has opened the vaults of Greenwich’s elite, and oh what secrets and schemes pour out!”
“On the money! This wickedly revealing and terrifyingly authentic financial thriller is clever, timely, and filled with enough insider info to send the feds to your door. Scheming, backstabbing and international intrigue–propelled by Vonnegut’s trademark wit and page-turning plot. Bottom line? Terrific.”
– Hank Phillippi Ryan–Anthony, Macavity and Agatha–winning author
Praise for TOP PRODUCER
“The story mirrors reality — in ways that may now surprise even its author, who finished the book before the economic meltdown. The two decades Vonnegut spent as a wealth advisor are evident in the venom he brings to descriptions…and in his grasp of the cutthroat world of finance.”
– SmartMoney 7 Smart Books: The Best Fall Reads (9/21/09)
“This novel ponders the age-old ramifications of greed, but Vonnegut gives it a fresh timely twist.”
– USA Today
“Vonnegut’s debut meets the gold standard for financial thrillers as it puts the frenzied, cutthroat world of Wall Street’s best stockbrokers (aka the ‘top producers’) on brilliant display.”
– Publishers Weekly (6/19/09 starred review)
“Vonnegut makes his irreverent protagonist someone we can root for.”
– Library Journal
“Norb Vonnegut’s Top Producer begins where Liar’s Poker and The Bonfire of the Vanities left off and puts an electrifying spin on the winner-take-all culture of Wall Street. Turn to the first page and plunge into the shark-infested waters of high finance and greed.”
– Brent Ghelfi, author of Volk’s Game and The Venona Cable
“A timely read as Vonnegut opens the kimono exposing the intricate cause and effect of finance and murder. He shares his well-earned insights and literary acumen in a manner that entices the reader to reach out for the next chapter. A must for all investors wishing to avoid the next Bernie Madoff!”
– Joe Grano, Former CEO UBS/PaineWebber
Talk about timely. Former stockbroker Norb Vonnegut (no relation to Kurt, as far as I can determine) has written a financial thriller that ticks like a doomsday clock. Advance reviewers are jumping on its bobsled with the zeal of Olympic contenders… Give it a shot. It should be enough to make you double check your investments.
– The Knowledgeable Blogger, Dick Adler
A sterling debut…a financial thriller extraordinaire that reads like a 2009 version of Tom Wolfe’s brilliant Bonfire of the Vanities for a world that has lost its taste for Wall Street excesses…. Vonnegut paints a vivid picture of life lived between million-dollar trades. But he also writes with an aplomb that make Top Producer a literary reimagining of the film Wall Street where murder, as well as money, never sleeps.”
– Providence Journal-Bulletin