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Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews

A Cartoon Lover’s Guide to Private Equity by David Toll


When I joined Buyouts Insider to report on private equity activity among institutional investors, I had absolutely no clue what carried interest, top quartile, clawback, capital calls and whatnot meant!!  It didn’t help that I had a massive cold during my training, and didn’t understand much of anything!

I wish David Toll had written this book nine months earlier so I could have used it to understand the world of PE better. And the cartoons are absolutely delightful!

But better later than never. David’s book is an incredible resource for anyone. For you PE professionals who possibly don’t know as much about the field as David does – considering he has been covering PE for an eternity. Or for you who want to know what this esoteric world of PE is whose managers got so obscenely rich!

Or even you who just like a good non-fiction read – with delightful cartoons that tell a whole story!

This is for you all. If you want a copy write to him at

David was gracious enough to answer my questions on this book!

What prompted you to write the book?

DT: I’d been creating PE cartoons for Buyouts Magazine for several years when I came across a copy of “Illustrated Jokes for Smart, Attractive People.” It is a book of cartoons by one of my favorite New Yorker cartoonists, Matt Diffee. That was all the inspiration I needed.

How did you decide on the topics in the book?

DT: Most of my cartoons, when evaluated as a complete body of work, fall neatly into half a dozen or so categories. So that’s how I came up with the chapter topics. Although useful as a primer, the book is unabashedly and mainly a vehicle for my cartoons.

Who did you hope your readers would be?

DT: Private equity professionals other than Henry Kravis, since I poke fun at him quite a lot.

What are the topics you wished you had covered in the book? And why didn’t you?

DT: I would have liked to have included a chapter on venture capital. I drew a cartoon in which VC professionals go to heaven while PE professionals go the other way. It’s funny because it’s true. But I have to create a few more cartoons on that to have a chapter.

Is there another book on its way?

DT: Yes, I plan to create a book for my cartoons that aren’t related to private equity. For example, I did a cartoon recently in which a wife warns her husband, just in from the rain, not to track his broken dreams on her nice clean floor. But that’s a future project.

What is your favorite book on PE?

DT: By far my favorite PE book is “Barbarians at the Gate,” which chronicles the 1988 takeover of RJR Nabisco.

How did you make the time for this book in your busy schedule as the executive editor for Buyouts Insider?

DT: I worked on it during my commute, which takes up to 2 hours each way.


About Preeti Singh

I am a bookaholic. I love stories, storytelling. I enjoy helping people structure their storytelling, and I love to share the stories I discover.

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This entry was posted on September 21, 2018 by in business, Non Fiction and tagged , , .
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