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Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on…
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Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street (1989)

by Michael Lewis

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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
For some reason people can't bring up Liar's Poker without mentioning Bonfire of the Vanities as well. It's almost as if Liar's Poker is the nonfiction counterpart to the fictional Bonfire of the Vanities. Yes, they are both about the innards of life on Wall Street in the mid 80s, but one could stand without the attachment of the other and still be entertaining.
Michael Lewis retraces his beginnings with Salomon Brothers, first as a bright eyed trainee, then as a bond salesman. It is his knack for writing that makes Liar's Poker such a treat to read. It is bitingly funny, wicked and fun. My favorite part is about the new guy, so nervous about his first day on the job that he does nothing but ride the elevator up and down until he has the courage to finally get off, exit the building and disappear forever. ( )
1 vote SeriousGrace | Jul 23, 2013 |
Interesting Wall St memoir - Lewis worked for an investment bank in the late '70s through to beyond the '87 crash.

The anecdotes from actual time in the business keep this a surprisingly fun read. Lewis is quite funny and cutting about his fellow traders, but never completely absolves himself either, e.g:
It was striking how little control we had of events, particularly in view of how assiduously we cultivated the appearance of being in charge by smoking big cigars and saying fuck all the time.
He also explains finance concepts well, without making my eyes glaze (e.g. I now have a vague and hazy understanding of mortgage backed securities, CMOs, and junk bonds, although I am unconvinced it will stick). A lot of what he's writing about has implications for the more recent global financial troubles, even though it's more than 20 years old. I will eventually try and get to [b:The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine|6463967|The Big Short Inside the Doomsday Machine|Michael Lewis|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1290480108s/6463967.jpg|6654434]. ( )
1 vote daisyq | Apr 5, 2013 |
Liar's Poker is the ultra high-stakes game played in Wall Street companies by the brokers with the obscenely high commissions they get from trading in the investment market.

What results is either extreme wealth and satisfaction, probably quite a few of these people are psychopaths, guilt and a change in career, or [b:American Psycho|28676|American Psycho|Bret Easton Ellis|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348400564s/28676.jpg|2270060], a rather fun fictional book on the ultimate psycho on Wall Street.

The book is highly recommended for lots of open-mouthed, geez, people act like that, say things like that moments and because Michael Lewis, as always, knows his subject well and writes about it in a very entertaining and non-dry way. Great read.

Addendum The author quite obviously dislikes and has nothing but contempt for the banking industry - he resigned from Salomon Brothers to write this book but was still married to Diana de Cordova, an investment banker with Morgan Stanley. I wonder if his book had anything to do with the marriage breaking down? He married twice more, both tv journalists, got out of banking completely!

Edit I've been reading other reviews of this book and I hadn't realised that it was over 20 years old. It reads like it could have been written about the overblown corruption of the Finance market right now. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, at least with Wall Street.
( )
1 vote Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
I write this review with the caveat that I am neither a financial-bonds-market type of person, nor am I interested in reading dry non-fiction.

I have heard this book described of as "funny" and "entertaining", but to be honest, I never found it to be either in any way.

The author was a bond salesman for Salomon Brothers, and gave great insights into how the bond markets work, what happened in the 80s and, most interestingly, into the culture at Salomon Brothers. While the culture of the company was most interesting to me, I still had a very hard time finishing this book, and at no point did I find anything amusing or entertaining about the book. I'm sure it was more interesting to people more familiar with the financial sector. ( )
1 vote suzemo | Mar 31, 2013 |
I write this review with the caveat that I am neither a financial-bonds-market type of person, nor am I interested in reading dry non-fiction.

I have heard this book described of as "funny" and "entertaining", but to be honest, I never found it to be either in any way.

The author was a bond salesman for Salomon Brothers, and gave great insights into how the bond markets work, what happened in the 80s and, most interestingly, into the culture at Salomon Brothers. While the culture of the company was most interesting to me, I still had a very hard time finishing this book, and at no point did I find anything amusing or entertaining about the book. I'm sure it was more interesting to people more familiar with the financial sector. ( )
  suzemo | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
It doesn't hurt that Lewis is a fantastic writer with a particular talent for explaining the minutae of investment banking without making you want to gouge your own eyes out.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Oct 3, 2008)
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140143459, Paperback)

In fiction there was Bonfire of the Vanities; in reality, there is Liar's Poker--the fascinating insider's account of what really happens on Wall Street. This irreverent and hilarious birds-eye view of Wall Street's heyday will appeal to anyone intrigued by the allure of million dollar deals. Now in trade paper. First serial to Manhattan Inc.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:14 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The author recounts his experiences on the lucrative Wall Street bond market of the 1980s, where young traders made millions quickly and easily, in a humorous account of greed and epic folly

» see all 5 descriptions

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