In this shrewd and wickedly funny book, Michael Lewis describes an astonishing era and his own rake's progress through a powerful investment bank. From an unlikely beginning (art history at Princeton?) he rose in two short years from Salomon Brothers trainee to Geek (the lowest form of life on the trading floor) to Big Swinging Dick, the most dangerous beast in the jungle, a bond salesman who could turn over millions of dollars' worth of doubtful bonds with just one call. With the eye and ear of a born storyteller, Michael ...
In this shrewd and wickedly funny book, Michael Lewis describes an astonishing era and his own rake's progress through a powerful investment bank. From an unlikely beginning (art history at Princeton?) he rose in two short years from Salomon Brothers trainee to Geek (the lowest form of life on the trading floor) to Big Swinging Dick, the most dangerous beast in the jungle, a bond salesman who could turn over millions of dollars' worth of doubtful bonds with just one call. With the eye and ear of a born storyteller, Michael Lewis shows us how things really worked on Wall Street. In the Salomon training program a roomful of aspirants is stunned speechless by the vitriolic profanity of the Human Piranha; out on the trading floor, bond traders throw telephones at the heads of underlings and Salomon chairman Gutfreund challenges his chief trader to a hand of liar's poker for one million dollars; around the world in London, Tokyo, and New York, bright young men like Michael Lewis, connected by telephones and computer terminals, swap gross jokes and find retail buyers for the staggering debt of individual companies or whole countries. The bond traders, wearing greed and ambition and badges of honor, might well have swaggered straight from the pages of Bonfire of the Vanities. But for all their outrageous behavior, they were in fact presiding over enormous changes in the world economy. Lewis's job, simply described, was to transfer money, in the form of bonds, from those outside America who saved to those inside America who consumed. In doing so, he generated tens of millions of dollars for Salomon Brothers, and earned for himself a ringside seat on the greatest financial spectacle of the decade: the leveraging of America.
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This was a fun and interesting book to read abut Wall Street.
Jun 3, 2010
A hoot! And informative, too. Hey, you can read this while the kids (or grandkids) are despoiling your hearing and your husband is nagging you to cook dinner. You will have fun and learn much. And the photo of the author is better than anything on TV these days.
Jan 22, 2009
Getting to know Michael Lewis
I bought this book for the purpose of learning about Michael Lewis before I buy some of his subsequent and more recent books about Wall St. Although it is rather dated, it is an enjoyable intro. to the behind scenes and driving ideas of Wall St.'s mortgage market. Liar's Poker is informative and certainly worth a look. Michael is a talented writer and good story teller. I look forward to buying more of his books. As for the poker games, way outa my league!
Jan 10, 2008
Bond market of 80's close to sub-prime crisis
Micheal Lewis's book is entertaining, though a bit rambling.
The most striking thing to me about the book, however, is how similar the 1980's bond market was to today's sub-prime mortgage crisis. Both seem to revolve around the 'securitization' of questionable debt -- how often do we have to repeat the same mistakes?
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