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Liar's Poker (Norton Paperback) Paperback – March 15, 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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“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
 Solomon Brothers showed excessive greed and always placed the firms interests above those of their customers and rich customers treat the bond [and stock] market like a casino. Middle class people who need a decent return to retire muddle along but the market rises and falls precipitously on the gambling mentality of the rich.
 Previous to 1980 bond markets were unregulated so when junk bonds were invented [and bond prices became volatile like stocks] it was not illegal to trade bonds on insider information. Traders will always be more nimble than government regulations and the system will always favor the dishonest few.
 At the end in his conclusions, he says that the principals at Solomon will remain "fat and happy". To me that is an oxymoron. They operate on the principal that money is everything. If it were true the US would be the happiest country in the world because it has the highest GNP. Fat people are unhealthy and being healthy and taking care of oneself is at least as important as being rich.
Also if a person is rich enough to buy five houses, he can only be in one place at a time...just like a poor person. If a person is impoverished, more money will make him happier. But after a person has enough money for all his needs, more money doesn't increase happiness. People who realize this can become truly happy.
On more than one occasion, I had to stop reading because I was laughing so hard, wondering, "Did he really say that?! Wow! Are there really people like that?!" My early life in Manhattan, right after college was an adventure, but a mild one compared to the stories in this book.
I worked for a major investment firm for 31 years and have seen many of the situations he writes about. The shenanigans he describes in his training class brought back fond memories of some great people and the stupid but entertaining things we did. Put a bunch of over-achievers in a room together for thirty days and strange things happen. Sadly about 80% of each class's trainees are gone (for various reasons) within three years. The job is not for everyone.
This is an entertaining and well-written book that is humorous and cynical at the same time. It may be a bit stuffy for readers not familiar with the esoteric products developed and offered on Wall Street, but Mr. Lewis takes the time to explain most of the concepts simply and completely. It is more of a biography and character study than some of his subsequent works, but interesting all the same.