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Liar's Poker (Norton Paperback) Paperback – March 15, 2010
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From Library Journal
- 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.
“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)
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The stories that Michael Lewis describes about working at Solomon Brothers are the most interesting parts of this book. With that being said, it's no Wolf of Wallstreet. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
Great story about one of the most powerful investment banking firms on wall street. Easy read and enjoyable. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Art Vandelay
If you watched "The Big Short" you may recall a brief bit at the start about how Lewis Ranieri created the modern mortgage backed backed securities market. Read morePublished 14 days ago by P. Johnson
It's like the movie Wallstreet but for bond traders. I found it interesting and would go to the movie if they ever produce one. Read morePublished 18 days ago by CommonMan