Liar's Poker Paperback – Mar 2 2010
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From Library Journal
As described by Lewis, liar's poker is a game played in idle moments by workers on Wall Street, the objective of which is to reward trickery and deceit. With this as a metaphor, Lewis describes his four years with the Wall Street firm Salomon Brothers, from his bizarre hiring through the training program to his years as a successful bond trader. Lewis illustrates how economic decisions made at the national level changed securities markets and made bonds the most lucrative game on the Street. His description of the firm's personalities and of the events from 1984 through the crash of October 1987 are vivid and memorable. Readers of Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities ( LJ 11/15/87) are likely to enjoy this personal memoir. BOMC and Fortune Book Club selection.
- Joseph Barth, U.S. Military Acad . Lib., West Point, N.Y.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The funniest book on Wall Street I’ve ever read. — Tom Wolfe
Often profane, always hilarious, right on the mark. — People
So memorable and alive . . . one of those rare works that encapsulate and define an era. — Fortune
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Top Customer Reviews
The author traces the glorious and gloomy times of Salomon Brothers, a big financial enterprise in which he worked long enough to be able to tell this tale and become a rich man. He explains some financial innovations of Salomon brother's in lay man's terms, which makes this book very readable for all.
The author's self-deprecating humor and his vivid analysis of the people he came across in his organization make the account entertaining.
Whether or not the author's opinions on technical matters in this book are meritorious-I am not qualified to say. If you are a finance novice and curious to find out about life in that universe, you will find this book worthwhile.
Among other aspects of the firm, LP describes Solomon's Mortgage Bonds department, its influence over the savings and loans, and the effect of Fed Chairman Paul Volker's 1981 decision to let interest rates float. Lewis does a brilliant job of explaining how this lead to S&L's selling their mortgages in order to fund investments in higher yield securities.
Here's the catch: Liar's Poker appeared before the S&L debacle but it laid out all the signs needed to predict the disaster to come.
Much of the hand wringing over S&Ls in the early 90's could maybe have been avoided if the warnings given in this book had been acted upon. To be fair, the warnings are clear but they are implicit. Lewis never actually projects the current state of the S&L industry into the future, even if he does mention that the basic problem with mortgages (short term funding of long term loans) is not solved.
Lewis does shed some light on Wall Street trading in general, including a good description of mortgage trading and junk bond trading. However, this book sort of throws it into the mix. I wasn't sure what Lewis was trying to do. Sometimes it felt like a history book, sometimes a biography, sometimes an economics lesson, sometimes a comedy. It felt haphazard and lacked direction, and with the writing style presented, it lacked a certain amount of fluidity.
It was fun to learn the different people in Wall Street. From the obese, abusive traders, the short sighted and greedy executives, the brown nosers, to the "back row" trainees. It's basically a fun little description of office life at Solomon Brothers in the eighties, not an exciting expose on the finance industry as the cover would like you to believe.
Most recent customer reviews
True story written by actual bond trader who told the inside story about how wall street’s extreme greed makes people huge money, rips off clients and tons of bad decisionsPublished 2 months ago by Greg Silas
Did they really do this stuff?
Manipulation of money as a game!
The story of Michael Lewis is a very credible report on the enrollment and development of rookies in the investment banking world. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Michel Hebert
we should all be aware of what went on, and what goes on in the financial markets, but who knew that it could be a page turner?Published 20 months ago by Jen D
Lewis has a captivating writing style. I have now read a couple of his books and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Read morePublished 20 months ago by GearHead
Lewis shows the ins and outs of a company at its peak and at its demise... Amazing read and turned out to be a real page turner. Read morePublished on July 13 2013 by Brendon Bigelli
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