From Hong Kong to Europe, with stops in Macau, Singapore and beyond, Phillip Y Kim’s insight into the lives of Asia’s one percent will take you on a ride like no other…

The cutthroat world of Asia’s wealthiest is governed by one basic truth: one must take in order to possess. So, when an influential banker drowns, the biggest casualty is the truth. His wife Cheryl is left with more questions than answers, and as she begins to unpick his complicated business affairs shady men from a world of secret and corrupt transactions begin to emerge from the woodwork looking for what they are owed.

As danger encroaches on her comfortable existence, Cheryl is forced to fend for the reputation and safety of her family by finding the one person who can save them all. Delving into her husband’s double life and a financial pit of dirty dealings she’ll stop at nothing to get back the life she once thought she had.

Set against a global financial crisis, the likes of which we experienced in 2008 with after effects felt by the international economy even today, and infused with multimillion dollar investments, insider secrets, material gluttony and a sense of impending catastrophe, Nothing Gained tells the story of those who toy with fortune’s limits and who risk it all just because they can.

Phillip Y Kim worked for over twenty-five years in the finance industry at companies such as Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley, spending most of his career in Asia. Nothing Gained (originally self-published under a different title) was his first novel and drew on his vast experience of the finance industry and his remarkably international life.


‘A thriller with all the intricate excitements and adventures of the best of them.’

  – Martin Alexander, Editor in Chief of the Asia Literary Review

‘Zooms in on the global financial crisis from an Asian perspective. Combines fast-paced action with an insightful view of what went wrong.’

  – Romnesh Lamba, Co-President, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited

Nothing Gained ’s tense, twisting plot and the constant threat of botched deals and impatient villains make for a thriller with tons of page-turner potential.’

  – The Beijinger

‘Kim has the ability to relate the complexities of his sub-world through a rollicking plot and sharp vignettes. He provides a uniquely Asian perspective, which treads the line of fiction and non-fiction with thrilling tension.’

   – Time Out magazine

‘Kim’s intimate understanding of these unspoken rules sets this novel apart from other tales of corrupt finance types. There is an air of moral ambiguity that pervades the story.’

  – A Kindle in Hong Kong

‘A total page turner. Wonderfully phrased, poignant, gripping.’
‘In light of what’s coming out of the financial and banking circles these days, Nothing Gained  is as thought provoking as it is thrilling.’

  –  Reader reviews on

Book of the Month – Time Out March 2013

It was Warren Buffett who said, ‘Rule No. 1: never lose money; rule No. 2: don’t forget rule No. 1.’ In the murky world of Asian business negotiations, forgetting the rules can prove fatal, as the privileged protagonists of Phillip Y Kim’s debut novel discover.

When a big-wheeling banker drowns, the fate of his tight-knit circle is plunged into uncertainty. A cascade of disturbing realisations – corrupt business deals, promiscuity and profligacy – sully the sanitised lives of those who Jason Donahue, Asia head of investment bank Barker Reed, leaves behind. His widow, Cheryl, is left to face his debtors, who are hungry for their pound of flesh and are willing to take it dead or alive.

Set during the 2008 financial crisis the plot hinges on Hong Kong’s moneyed elite. While the men watch the markets, the women sashay from yoga studio to charity ball and so on – apart from those who end up as rich men’s toys, forced into KTV bondage and worse. When the markets crash, the high rollers get jittery as investors start to stampede for the exit, which lays the foundations for juicy subplots surrounding a private equity fund Allcore and an American Casino magnate – think Sheldon Adelson.

Hong Kong-based Kim has worked in finance for 25 years, at Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley, a fact that lends his fictionalised account chilling authenticity. With this re-release of Nothing Gained (Penguin) – the original story was published independently under another title – Kim joins a coterie of bankers-cum-authors who are cashing in on their turbulent experiences during the crash years. Yet Kim has the ability to relate the complexities of his sub-world to laymen through a rollicking plot and sharp vignettes. Unlike the other authors in this group, he also provides a uniquely Asian perspective, which treads the line of fiction and non-fiction with thrilling tension.

    – Charlotte Middlehurst