Harry Kramer, the gleefully manipulative Chairman and CEO of a major bank, finances the construction of a sixty-story office tower, even though he knows the local market for office-space will be saturated when the building is finished. He then pulls a young executive named Gordon Elliam from the pack and makes him the front person for the loan. In telling this story, Harry describes the distant and controlling relationships that he establishes with Gordon and other banking associates. He tells of his wily effort to outsmart other major players in this business deal. And he talks of his own son, Hay Kramer, who bears a certain resemblance to Gordon. In this way, he begins to talk about his marriage and family. At the novel's conclusion, Harry wins again. But he has shown us the effects of his need to be in control.