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Liar's Poker: Rising through the Wreckage of Wall Street Hardcover – 24 Jan 1990

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (24 Jan. 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393027503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393027501
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 0.3 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"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 "Vivid and memorable." "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."

Book Description

The book that revealed the truth about London and Wall Street. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
IT WAS sometime early in 1986, the first year of the decline of my firm, Salomon Brothers. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By P. Bade on 29 April 2009
Format: Paperback
Lewis' 'Liar's Poker' was an instant classic upon publication. Yet it had an adverse effect: instead of being read as the critical account it was intended to be, an entire genereation of investment banker's used this book as a 'how to' guide and a prime resource of information on how to survive on Wall Street or in the City of London.

At present it attains a new relevance: the book can be read as am account of the culture that lead to the problems in the financial system.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Aug. 1998
Format: Hardcover
Anybody looking for a sober review of the financial markets in the 1980's and/or Salomon Brothers' role in it will be disappointed. However, as a review of one man's experience on Wall Street, it is suoerb. Michael Lewis is a wonderful storyteller, and he writes this book so that you don't need a deep knowledge of finance to enjoy it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By PCB on 16 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
Just finished it: My second Michael Lewis read (my first being The Big Short) and another highly enjoyable, amusing and insightful take on how Wall Street and, in particular, the bond markets operate. While possibly a bit slight on the technicalities and a bit heavy on the gossip (hence the four star rating), it nevertheless achieves what I believe was its primary aim; to open up up Wall Street to a wider public viewing. Despite the fact that it was published circa 1988, it includes some very portentuous observations, that are absolutely relevant to the US and Europe's current economic standing. Pity I didn't read it all those years ago; I could have made a small fortune working off its predictions. Roll on to Lewis' next tome. I'm now a total convert
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marand TOP 100 REVIEWER on 12 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At times it is hard to remember that this book was written in the late 1980's. For all that, it still has relevance today inasmuch as the impact of some of the attitudes and behaviours described in the book were implicated in the most recent financial crisis. He succinctly conveys the problems of short-termism, conflicts of interest and the duping of investors (although I have limited sympathy with the investors who should really have known better and questioned more), issues which are still being discussed twenty five years on. Lewis is also pretty scathing about those at the top who appeared to have little knowledge or understanding of the activities of their traders and salesmen. He notes the speed with which raw, inexperienced trainees became 'experts' trading vast sums. Lewis's own rise up the organisation was fuelled in large part by one transaction.

One of the things that Lewis examines is the creation and development of the mortgage bond market, and the slicing and dicing of mortgages to be sold on to investors and which of course were implicated in the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Although there is a fair bit of detail, I didn't find it to be too technical nor overwhelming. Lewis writes well and provides enough detail for the lay man, but not too much.

On the whole I found this to be a very readable account and have been spurred to order Lewis's later books. His aim was to open up the activities of Wall Street & the Square Mile to the wider public and I think he achieved that objective.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. O'regan on 23 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book 4 years ago because it was one in a list recommended by a trader I respected. I had heard of it before and was aware it was a 'traders' book to read and has received many good reviews.

I've read many trading books from eg the classic Market Wizzards to recently Pit Bull, but was disappointed to find this book isn't really about trading or 'real traders'. It;s more about brokers.

It does give a reasonably interesting account into the life of Lehman Bros in the early days. In that respect I found it a fairly interesting history lesson of a world I never knew about.

Perhaps I'm being harsh as I'm judging the book purely from it's benefit to me as a trader, of which it was no use.I don't know know why this book is recommended as 'essential' reading for traders.

Listen, if you are a real trader, or want to read a book about trading, I suggest read some of the other classics.
If you are interested in the history, world and characters of the financial past, I suspect you will find this book interesting.

P.s. please let me know if you find this review helpful to you because I have read many more books on trading , some of which are real gems and I can write a review on them to help you decide.. just it takes quite a lot of time and only want to do if of use to someone :)

It wasn't for me.
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Format: Paperback
Liar's Poker offers you a journey into the world of a sophisticated money-making machine: a global investment bank.

As an ex- Bankers Trust employee, I can claim I have met many people similar to the characters in the book, and I can say the characters, events, their habits appear very well pictured. Even though it is technical at times, this book is light years away from many boring books like "see how smart I was making my fortune".

This book explains a lot about how money was made and lost during these times. It gives examples of strategies and market context. More importantly it also shows you of people's greed, fear and the consequences of that. It illustrates relations within junior and senior staff in a bank like this in a very honest way.

The most exciting thing about it is that the author keeps a distance to events, millions of profit, important people and institutions mentioned in the book. Few of people working inside such an institution can say that.
I have recommended Liar's Poker to some people, and it seems it has changed the way they see their jobs and careers. Finally, this book makes you think - that is what good books are about.
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