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Liar's Poker (Norton Paperback) [Kindle Edition]

Michael Lewis
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (677 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The time was the 1980s. The place was Wall Street. The game was called Liar’s Poker.


Michael Lewis was fresh out of Princeton and the London School of Economics when he landed a job at Salomon Brothers, one of Wall Street’s premier investment firms. During the next three years, Lewis rose from callow trainee to bond salesman, raking in millions for the firm and cashing in on a modern-day gold rush. Liar’s Poker is the culmination of those heady, frenzied years—a behind-the-scenes look at a unique and turbulent time in American business. From the frat-boy camaraderie of the forty-first-floor trading room to the killer instinct that made ambitious young men gamble everything on a high-stakes game of bluffing and deception, here is Michael Lewis’s knowing and hilarious insider’s account of an unprecedented era of greed, gluttony, and outrageous fortune.


Editorial Reviews

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.

Review

So memorable and alive . . . one of those rare works that encapsulate and define an era.

Product Details

  • File Size: 422 KB
  • Print Length: 313 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 039333869X
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (March 15, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003E20ZRY
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,555 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
312 of 324 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read, if you are thinking of working on Wall St December 13, 2000
Format:Paperback
I worked for CSFB for three years, and am still in investment banking for a smaller firm. So I have seen a part of the world that is described here. I'm not saying that this is an exact description of what I saw, because Lewis picks the most exotic creatures that he met, but the atmosphere is perfectly conveyed. This book will tell you all the stuff that they don't teach you in an interview or recruitment visit - the pecking order, the politics, and how to get paid.
The other reason to read this is that Lewis is a brilliant writer, with a real talent for describing people and their situations. Lots of other people have written boring books with the same raw material. For a non-specialist like my mother, the technicalities were hard work, but you don't need a lot of special knowledge to like this book. My mother certainly did.
Probably the best way to look at this book is like a travel book - you're not visiting a country, you're visiting a world. Great travel books are not word-perfect descriptions of a place, they are representations of what the author felt like when he was there, and they give the reader a feeling of what it was like to be there. If you read this book, you will understand what it feels like to work inside a big bank, and you'll enjoy the ride, even if you have no interest in actually working there.
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159 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One hand, one million dollars, no tears. July 15, 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In the 1980's, Michael Lewis was a neophyte bond salesman for Salomon Brothers in New York and London for four years. Liar's Poker is a high-stakes game the traders, salesmen, and executives play each afternoon, but it is also a metaphor for the Salomon culture of extreme risk-taking with immediate payoffs and clear winners and losers.
This is the story of how Lewis survived the training program, inept but mean-spirited management, an aborted take-over even featuring a white knight, layoffs and the 1987 market crash before quitting to find his real calling as a business journalist. While Lewis's career did not take off quickly, he eventually became a highly paid producer, although not in the league of the true top dogs.
Lewis tells the real story of Wall Street in both go-go and crash days with self-deprecating humor enlivened with his ecletic wit. Colorful and well-known Wall Street characters appear such as Michael Milken, Lazlo Birini, Warren Buffett, Bill Simon, Sr. and John Guetfruend. All business students need to read this as even those with advanced degrees in finance such as myself, will learn how things really work. The story of how the junk bond and collateralized mortgage backed security markets emerge is told to fill in a chapter in financial history. Perhaps most interesting is some of the political machinations, rampant at Salomon, which lead for example for Salomon to ignore the junk bond market, allowing others to flourish and eventually attempt to take-over Salomon using junk bonds.
Lewis also describes for all investors the conflicts of interest and lack of governance on Wall Street long before Eliot Spitzer and Arthur Levitt became the champions of the little guy. My next step is to read Lewis's later books.
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108 of 118 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Liar's Poker is a funny look at life on Wall Street; especially the life of lower-level employees getting their start in the financial world. Michael Lewis uses the personal experience of his financial career in the Salomon Brothers bond program to tell the larger story of the rise and fall of the entire firm during the 1980s. Along the way he tells some funny stories and gives the reader an interesting, inside look at the fast-paced life on Wall Street. But in the end, the book starts to drag and Lewis's cynical view of the securities industry begins to get tiresome. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what a trader's life is like inside a major Wall Street firm. It is an interesting, initially humorous read that is appropriately not much longer than 200 pages in length.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read November 8, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
What a great read. A friend of mine recommended this to me and I can say that it certainly was a refreshing read.
This book tells you about some of the influential people who shaped Salomon Brothers and Wall St in the eighties. I never realised the history that went with Salomon Brothers.
The style is great and I can really identify with the author's early years going through the stages of obtaining and starting a job. Some of the characters in the book are hilarious, you can only just believe they are real.
Only one complaint: sometimes the author goes on for quite a long time with his history e.g. the history of junk bonds and the history of various people in SB. I only wish that there was more about the author's story.
Only one gripe though, and it can't prevent this from being a 5 star book.
Buy it now! Thanks to the book, I am now constantly searching for books like this but this is the only one I have found recounting the story of a salesman as opposed to a trader.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For all aspiring Investment Bankers! April 12, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Almost everyone who is graduating is tempted by the glamour and large bonuses of Investment Banks to wonder what it would be like to work in a large investment bank on Wall Street and actually consider it as a serious career option. LIAR'S POKER provides an irreverent, bird's eye view of the whole process. This is an extraordinarily funny but thought provoking account of a money focussed guy's innings at a venerable Investment bank Salomon Brothers, starting as a $48,000-a-year trainee in 1984 to go on to become an institutional bond salesman in Salomon's London office earning $225,000 in 1987. Far from just being entertaining the book gives lots of insight into the intense cutthroat investment banking industry and makes it accessible for even the naivest of readers the intricacies of the milieu. An insider's look at the inside of an investor banking firm, with no holds barred, which makes it probably one of the most recommended books for anyone considering more than a passing acquaintance with the investment banking industry.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Lewis book. Everyone should read this.
Published 7 days ago by Jaedong
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Great book!
Published 7 days ago by L. Utton
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read
Couldn't put it down. A must for anyone in the markets. Or anyone looking for people to blame for the crashes of the last half decade...
Published 10 days ago by Justin Maniscalco
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Bought for son who says it was great.
Published 20 days ago by harvey boy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
So that's how to make mega millions! The early seeds of the financial meltdown were planted in the 80's
Published 20 days ago by Bri
4.0 out of 5 stars a fun, entertaining if somewhat complicated story about the mysteries...
I would have liked more explanation of how bonds of various kinds actually come into existence. Who puts-say 1000 mortgage- together into a bond? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Anita Towns
3.0 out of 5 stars ... in a wall st firm then I would strongly recommend finishing this...
If you are looking to work in a wall st firm then I would strongly recommend finishing this book before your first day. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Himanshu Gupta
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books.
Awesome book. It's so funny. Even if you're a layman in the field of finance, this book is hilarious from the human interactions.
Published 1 month ago by m k burns
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fun reading, good condition for used book, great price. Thx
Published 1 month ago by vita
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting
Published 1 month ago by anna
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sang=blood, froid=cold in french. hence, sangfroid, or cold-blooded
Jun 9, 2006 by Timothy J. Silman |  See all 2 posts
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