Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1989 - Biography & Autobiography - 249 pages
36 Reviews
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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - FirstWord - LibraryThing

Michael Lewis is an excellent writer. He completely draws you into the scene with detail and description and leads you along well paced journey to understanding the world of wall street with it's ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - benjamin.lima - LibraryThing

The more things change, the more things stay the same. So much of what I thought was novel or curious about Wall Street in the 1990s and 2000s was right there in the early 1980s, same as ever. Also, Michael Lewis is unequaled at the art of turning numbers into human drama. Read full review

Contents

Preface
9
Liars Poker
11
Never Mention Money
18
Learning to Love Your Corporate Culture
32
Adult Education
54
A Brotherhood of Hoods
79
The Fat Men and Their Marvelous Money Machine
103
The Salomon Diet
134
From Geek to Man
152
The Art of War
185
How Can We Make You Happier?
206
When Bad Things Happen to Rich People
229
Epilogue
247
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About the author (1989)

Michael Lewis, is the best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side, and Flash Boys. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.

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