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Liar's Poker

Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street

Michael Lewis (Author)

 

The bestselling and hilarious book that blew the doors off Wall Street's boardrooms and introduced the world to the writing of Michael Lewis.

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 their 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.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • October 1989
  • ISBN 978-0-393-02750-1
  • 6.5 × 9.6 in / 256 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverLiar's Poker

    Paperback

Endorsements & Reviews

“Lewis has a gift for the rapid portrait. Unless you find his flippant one-liners irritating, it is a pleasure to be guided around the jungle of bond markets by his reminiscences and trenchant asides. . . . Apart from the belly-laughs, one of the triumphs of Liar's Poker is that it makes the financial complexities of investment banking and the markets accessible to the layman. . . . Everything from yields to selling short is painlessly clarified in the course of the narrative.” — Victor Mallet, London Review of Books

“Vivid and memorable.” — Library Journal

“Lewis takes the reader through his schoolboy's progress as trainee and geek in the trading room, to high-powered swashbuckler. The author has a puckish appreciation for the comic. Yet he also has the knack of explaining precisely how complex deals really work. He provides the most readable explanation I've seen anywhere of the origin within Salomon Brothers of the mortgage-backed securities market....It is good history, and a good story.” — National Review

Also by Michael Lewis All

  1. Book CoverThe Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

    Paperback

  2. Book CoverThe Blind Side

    Movie Tie-in Edition / Paperback

  3. Book CoverThe Blind Side: Evolution of a Game

    Paperback