Full Circle – Ex-Lehman CFO Erin Callan’s New Memoir

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Full Circle – Ex-Lehman CFO Erin Callan’s Stunning New Memoir by Patricia Sellers, Fortune. David Einhorn is probably not impressed with the book, but will he read it?

The former Wall Street highflier tells her own story–and it’s a riveting counterpoint to ‘Lean In.’

The biggest shock is the book’s cover: a picture of a middle-aged woman wearing a sundress and long, red flowing locks, joyfully lifting a giggling baby in front of a deep blue sea. The author, Erin Callan, who was the chief financial officer of Lehman Brothers before the Wall Street giant collapsed in 2008, has a new name: Erin Callan Montella. And a new life, with an ex-firefighter husband and a one-year-old daughter. And to the surprise of just about everyone–because no one from her former business life saw this coming–Callan, who recently turned 50, has written a memoir. She self-published the book, and it’s available on Amazon today.

With Full Circle: A memoir of leaning in too far and the journey back, Callan takes control of her controversial career story and tells it with candor and finesse and self-understanding that comes only after many years, much distance, and a slow recovery from her critical role in the rise and fall of one of Wall Street’s most storied firms. Beyond providing an insider’s perspective that will engross people who savored Wall Street tomes like Too Big to Fail, Full Circle reveals details that make this book far more personal—and sometimes juicier—than the other books that have been published.

For example, on the night before Christmas Eve in 2008, six months after Callan lost her CFO job at Lehman, she admits, she tried to commit suicide. Her boyfriend, Anthony Montella, her onetime high-school classmate who is now her husband, found her and called 911. Soon after, Callan quit a new job that she had just taken, post-Lehman, at Credit Suisse—and, at least to Wall Street watchers, she fell off the face of the earth.

I’m the only journalist who wrote a major story about Callan after she quit Wall Street and disappeared. When I was reporting that Fortune story, “The Fall of a Wall Street Highflier,” in early 2010, I spent months trying to track Callan down; I never found her, instead getting my information from many people who knew her and had worked with her and had lost track of her as well. After the story appeared in Fortune in March 2010, I never heard from Callan. So, you can imagine my surprise last week when I got a voicemail from her. I called her back, and she told me that she had written her memoir—and she did not intend it to be a Lean In type of guide to life and career. It’s simply her story, she said.

Whatever Callan’s intentions, Full Circle is, in fact, a worthy counterpoint to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. While Lean In, which hit the market with extraordinary fanfare three years ago, counsels women to be more confident and risk-taking in their careers, Full Circle warns about the dangers of overconfidence and risk-taking–and in her book, Callan attempts to redefine success.

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Full Circle: A memoir of leaning in too far and the journey back – Description

Full Circle: A memoir of leaning in too far and the journey back by Erin Callan Montella

In Full Circle, Erin Callan Montella traces her experiences as a young girl in Queens, New York to the highest-ranking woman on Wall Street during the financial crisis as chief financial officer of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Erin recounts her path of achievement and how over time she allowed her career and its demands to become the center of her life. Ultimately, her resignation from her executive role prior to the Lehman bankruptcy resulted in a devastating personal crisis as her career crumbled revealing no foundation beneath it. The journey back to a semblance of present day peace and happiness completes the story of Full Circle.

Full Circle: A memoir of leaning in too far and the journey back by Erin Callan Montella

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