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Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Streetby Michael Lewis
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Synopses & 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 thier 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.
"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." Joseph Barth, Library Journal
"Roars along like a manic comic novel... an insider's description of the peculiar macho culture of investment bankers." Los Angeles Times
"A wry, wicked account... Falls somewhere between Wealth of Nations and Animal House." Newsweek
"So memorable and alive... It's one of those rare works that encapsulate and define an era." Fortune
"If you want to know what really happens on Wall Street, and to have a good laugh in the process, you ought to read Liar's Poker.... A very good, well-written, funny, and insightful book that tells you things you out to know the next time you field a call from your broker." Newsday
"Hilarious... one of the season's best financial books." Forbes
"Devastatingly funny... Does for Wall Street in the eighties what Adam Smith's The Money Game did for the same territory two decades earlier." New York
"Liar's Poker is the funniest book on Wall Street I've ever read." Tom Wolfe
About the Author
Michael Lewis is the author of several books, including the international bestseller Liar's Poker. He has been the American editor of the British weekly The Spectator and a senior editor at The New Republic. He writes regularly for The New York Times Magazine and Bloomberg. Lewis lives in Paris with his wife, Tabitha Soren, and their newborn daughter.
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