Laura Pedersen, a young woman barely out of high school, describes how she found herself in the surreal, carnival-like atmosphere of the "pit," on the trading floor of the American Stock Exchange. Aged eighteen, Pedersen was learning the ropes where the real trading is done. Just a year later, she was trading millions of dollars' worth of options and futures and coping with the male-dominated world of The Pit. Daily she learned to live with brutal practical jokes, torn clothes, deafening noise, and nakedly aggressive behavior that is the essence of finance under combat conditions. By turns hilarious and frightening, Pedersen's account blows the lid off the Decade of Greed. Every day is profoundly nerve-racking, as she must make split-second decisions that could cost her company millions. In PLAY MONEY the reader experiences firsthand the panic and desperation following the crash of 1987. Pedersen also reveals the overheated manic mixture of greed, cunning, sex, cynicism, and compulsion that lies behind the market's orderly facade, and tells how she made her first million dollars before she was twenty-two. PLAY MONEY shows as never before how unwary investors stuffed money into a volcanic Cuisinart. It's shocking, unforgettable, and true. More info at www.LauraPedersenBooks.com KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review) PLAY MONEY: My Brief But Brilliant Career on Wall Street The sassy memoirs of a still-young woman who had a short and bittersweet but financially rewarding career as an index options trader at the American Stock Exchange. Having quite the University of Michigan after just one semester, Pedersen headed for Wall Street. Starting as an ASE clerk at age 18 in January 1984, she earned a partnership in a specialist firm (and an exchange membership) shortly after turning 20. By the time the author left the Amex late in 1989 (within days of the market’s second precipitous break in two years), her annual income was close to $500,000. Physically and mentally, however, she qualified as a basket case, with badly strained vocal cords, impaired hearing, jumpy vision, chronically sore feet, a wealth of vague anxieties, and an attention span that could most charitably be described as transient. Here, Pedersen (who pinched pennies to maximize her investment bankroll) offers some good yarns about the lessons learned by an Upstate New York lass while apartment-hunting in Manhattan. She also provides pointed commentary on casino capitalism during the Reagan era. At the heart of her narrative, though, are antic accounts of the manic goings-on in the ASE’S trading pits. In addition to making split-second judgment calls on contracts that could yield her employer substantial profits or losses, Pedersen had to cope with unsparing competition from male-chauvinist rivals (and their insensitive pranks), the nearly unbearable din of the trading floor, and other allied challenges. She nonetheless kept her wits and prevailed to the extent that she escaped with her life, comparatively good health, and a small fortune. A savvy insider’s vastly entertaining line on aspects of the money game. Pedersen is also author of GOING AWAY PARTY, BEGINNER'S LUCK, HEART'S DESIRE, THE BIG SHUFFLE, LAST CALL, THE SWEETEST HOURS, and BUFFALO GAL.