Michael M. 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? 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. Although sometimes, when you have failed to understand something so colorfully and breezily explained, it can actually make you feel I read one particular page about the rise of junk bonds three times, and then just gave up.
First book of this type I truly enjoyed. Thank you Lewis for opening up a new field of book to explore. View 2 comments. I'm a little torn by this book.
It's well written, it's funny in places, some of Michael Lewis' observations are very astute and I'm sure that on some level this is an excellent commentary on the downfall of a once great company. Lewis was a trainee bond trader at Salomon Brothers when that firm was the most profitable on Wall St. He did very well out of his time there, and his analysis both here and in another of his works, The Big Short, pinpoints several of the problems that society has, or s I'm a little torn by this book.
He did very well out of his time there, and his analysis both here and in another of his works, The Big Short, pinpoints several of the problems that society has, or should have, with how the financial system works. Yet, having read The Blind Side, Lewis' views on how one position, and in particular one person playing in that position, changed American football, before both The Big Short and then Liar's Poker, I can't help disliking the author.
His previous two books had given me no reason for this at all, with the possible exception of a little smugness in 'Short'. However, Liar's Poker drips with 'I could see it coming from the second it began', 'I hated screwing clients but it was what I had to do' every uniformed low-level goon in a dictatorship's first excuse and 'all these people [bankers] are so horrible'.
The venom he has for banking and bankers made me laugh out loud when the final line of the book informed the reader that Lewis lives in London with his wife, an investment banker. When you factor in that Lewis made vast sums of money from the profession, it's easy to see all this as disingenuous, and that's my conclusion. Once it was popular to want to be a banker, so Michael Lewis became a banker, now it's popular to hate them, so he hates them. I can't help but think that if everyone said tomorrow that they'd made a huge mistake and bankers were not to blame and that they are in fact wonderful, that Lewis would call a few contacts and be back at his trading post in minutes.
https://ragarpelan.gq View all 3 comments. Aug 18, Kirk rated it it was ok Shelves: nonfiction. Probably the least interesting thing by Michael Lewis that I've read. Billed as an expose of Wall Street greed, I found it more to be a story of incompetent management and political infighting by conceited executives who found themselves successful by being in the right place at the right time, but think themselves as geniuses. Some of this reminded me a lot of my father's stories of the politics at his former law practice. Why anyone would want to work in a place with so much backstabbing and v Probably the least interesting thing by Michael Lewis that I've read.
Why anyone would want to work in a place with so much backstabbing and viscousness is beyond me. Shows the value of company culture. It's funny to see Lewis wishing the company had been bought out by private equity firms just so they would fire the management. To me this book is another example that companies can sometimes be successful in spite of their leaders if they have a decent product and some luck. May 30, Mike Moore rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Everyone. Recommended to Mike by: It's amazing to me that this wasn't required reading in my education.
A gross oversight. Shelves: business. For people who want to understand the peculiar failure modes of capitalism that have been illustrated by the bubbles, crashes, and bailouts of the past decade, Liar's Poker is required reading.
Not that it provides solutions to the problems far from it , but it illustrates the problem space perhaps better than any other book I know. It does this by means of a sympathetic, yet introspective, portrayal of the vicious, base-natured villainy that is Wall Street Corporate culture. There is little roo For people who want to understand the peculiar failure modes of capitalism that have been illustrated by the bubbles, crashes, and bailouts of the past decade, Liar's Poker is required reading.
There is little room to doubt that the attitudes and practices presented in this book are directly responsible for far reaching problems affecting the world, yet it's easy to see why instead of being received as a warning the book was embraced as a how-to guide by a generation of ambitious would-be finance jockeys. There has never before been such a fantastic exception to the rule of the marketplace that one takes out no more than one puts in.
I think in those two counter-cultural touchpoints there may be one or two figures who would not jump at the proposition above with both feet, but for most of them the embrace would be as instinctive as breathing.
In a weird way, the Wall Street abuses were part of an unbroken continuum with that counter-culture. Sal Paradise would have done very well for himself here. At the same time, the subversion of the bourgeois ideal of incremental cumulative reward for societal benefits of ones labor is like a victory point scored by capitalism against itself.
Imagine the high scoring games that would occur if soccer players could increase their salary by an order of magnitude with an own-goal. The era Michael Lewis illustrates here didn't die or collapse at the end of the 80s, it has continued and if anything has become more extreme to the present day. However, it's difficult to blame the individuals for being self-interested in the soulless, paranoid way of empty suits , or the politicians for not solving a problem when no solution is clearly possible.
Like the attempts to introduce "balancing" factors to a biological ecosystem, each iteration makes the old problems worse while introducing new ones. The genius of this book is that it is a highly enjoyable and readable frolic, which only becomes oppressive and dismal when you stand back and think about what it entails. Sadly, many readers never take that last step and flock to become the next generation of piranhas on Wall Street.
Given the promise of millions of dollars for people with limited ability to contribute meaningfully to society, it's hard to blame them. In those days, it was almost like the wild west with people throwing money around. Then, the loss of massive sums of money one hundred million and over was something that was laughable and easily disregarded. Now, losing that amount of money would yield either a huge embarassment or an instantaeneous firing.
Througout the book, Michael Lewis describes to macho-nature of the financial world by using Liar's Poker tells the story of Michael Lewis and his career on Wall Street during the eighties. Througout the book, Michael Lewis describes to macho-nature of the financial world by using slang terms, such as a human pirahana someone who curses in every single sentence and a big swinging dick the head honcho in the room.
I liked this book a lot because Lewis blends his unique brand of deadpan humor with actual facts about his time on Wall Street. I find that is something that is really hard to do in a book because finding that perfect balance between truth and humor is near impossible. I also like it because the book had a lot of ramifications in the financial world. The book practically ended a few careers as it exposed many brokers for being loose with their money and becuase many people had just been pulled right out of high school.
I just found that so interesting because it is very, very rare that you find a book that can do that. I would reccomend this to anyone that enjoys book based on the financial world and anyone who enjoys books that mesh humor with real facts.
To write a non-fictional portrayal of your life during your 20s is not an easy task. But Lewis managed to do this. Despite what would seem to be the worst idea for a first book, Lewis keeps the reader interested and turning pages, even with a cast of execrable people that are only mad To write a non-fictional portrayal of your life during your 20s is not an easy task. Despite what would seem to be the worst idea for a first book, Lewis keeps the reader interested and turning pages, even with a cast of execrable people that are only made more loathsome by the fact that they do, indeed, exist.
The unadulterated, unchecked greed with which the bond traders knowingly fleeced "suckers" in the market is staggering not by the reaches of their malfeasance, but rather that those unsavory characters continue to exist, in increasingly more dastardly versions as the years go by, and in all areas of Wall Street, banking and government.
I'm happy I read this book after The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine because it makes that more recent book much more poignant in retrospect. I can almost see Lewis' head shaking as he was penning "Big Short" realizing he had seen all of this first hand 20 years before, knowing that nothing would really be done to make meaningful changes to avert a future disaster, and that as this event plays out again and again into the future the reality is that there is going to be a time when the wheels come off for good - and no amount of government intervention or "market self correction" is going to fix the problem.
Doomsday Machine, indeed. Aug 11, Ahinch rated it it was amazing. I found this worn down bestseller in the investing for dummies section at the library. I read it in a few days and I have a short attention span so it's a good read. This could be easily made into a movie and the author has written books such as Blind Side and Moneyball which were turned into movies.
This is all about the life of a Wall Street bond salesman in a big firm called Salomon Brothers, the firm basically, in the s. It mixes biography with the rise and fall of a company. The company I found this worn down bestseller in the investing for dummies section at the library. The company still exists, so maybe not fall, but it's decline as being the top dog. A lot of ruthless horrible people just trying to make money basically. If you are new to investing, it's a good read since it talks about some concepts that you may not have heard of such as junk bonds and selling mortgage bonds.
I had to look up some of the terms.