The 1980’s were a pivotal time for both India and the U.S. India was liberalizing and becoming more open to western businesses. America was becoming more open to South Asian immigrants, while at the same time experiencing a transition toward an economy built on knowledge sectors such as finance and technology (p. 167).
This book captures both of those dynamics by relating the story of a small group of immigrants from India and Sri Lanka who rose through the ranks in management consulting (specifically McKinsey) and hedge funds. In doing so, it tells of the growth of the tech industry (both hardware and software), the rise of outsourcing (euphemistically called “remote services”), and the temptations that arise when insider knowledge on publicly traded companies is available.
It would have been easy for the core narrative of an insider trading investigation to come off as dry and boring, but Raghavan relates it in an engaging way. The details of a criminal investigation, such as when to approach certain witnesses and the timing of arrests, come off as almost game-theoretic. Other seemingly minor decisions, such as the logistics of arrests and whether to allow bail, are given dramatic weight. This is a story that is strong in both its broad strokes and its minutiae.