In 2000, with his marriage unraveling, ''New Yorker'' film critic Denby attempted to raise $1 million by playing the booming stock market to buy out his wife's share of their Manhattan apartment. Talk about being late to the party: Within months, the NASDAQ tanked and Denby's net worth wasted away. So did his sense of self. A memoir about midlife crisis in the age of irrational exuberance, Sucker is frank, deeply reflective, and exquisitely written. Denby's cash quest leads him into encounters with (and keen observations about) suspect New Economy icons Henry Blodget and Sam Waksal as well as dubious dotcom pipe dreams. Denby demonstrates how all of us are perilously shaped by a money-mad culture. His losses, however painful and large, are our gain.