Pub. Date:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Liar's Poker: Rising through the Wreckage on Wall Street

Liar's Poker: Rising through the Wreckage on Wall Street

by Michael LewisMichael Lewis
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The time was the 1980s. The place was Wall Street. The game was called Liar’s Poker.

Michael Lewis was fresh out of Princeton and the London School of Economics when he landed a job at Salomon Brothers, one of Wall Street’s premier investment firms. During the next three years, Lewis rose from callow trainee to bond salesman, raking in millions for the firm and cashing in on a modern-day gold rush. Liar’s Poker is the culmination of those heady, frenzied years—a behind-the-scenes look at a unique and turbulent time in American business. From the frat-boy camaraderie of the forty-first-floor trading room to the killer instinct that made ambitious young men gamble everything on a high-stakes game of bluffing and deception, here is Michael Lewis’s knowing and hilarious insider’s account of an unprecedented era of greed, gluttony, and outrageous fortune.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393338690
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 03/15/2010
Pages: 310
Sales rank: 30,332
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Michael Lewis is the best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side, The Big Short, and The Undoing Project. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.

Date of Birth:

October 15, 1960

Place of Birth:

New Orleans, LA


Princeton University, B.A. in Art History, 1982; London School of Economics, 1985

Table of Contents

Preface 9

1 Liar's Poker 13

2 Never Mention Money 21

3 Learning to Love Your Corporate Culture 39

4 Adult Education 67

5 A Brotherhood of Hoods 99

6 The Fat Men and Their Marvelous Money Machine 129

7 The Salomon Diet 167

8 From Geek to Man 189

9 The Art of War 229

10 How Can We Make You Happier? 255

11 When Bad Things Happen to Rich People 285

Epilogue 307

What People are Saying About This

Tom Wolfe

The funniest book on Wall Street I’ve ever read.

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Liar's Poker: Rising through the Wreckage on Wall Street 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 162 reviews.
LidlessEyesWatchingDoor More than 1 year ago
The Bang for your Buck is in the last 60 pages; the rest is vanity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Michael Lewis does a great job the bring the experience of a Bond Trader in wall street to its reader. The book goes into good detail about the events that unfolded at Salomon Brothers during his time there, and gives you a whole new perspective on the industry. Definitely worth reading
FairfieldU2011Grad More than 1 year ago
as a finance major this provides a wonderful jump back into the 1980s at Salomon Bros...i read this after reading The Big Short but I will definitely go back and reread it again with a better understanding of Lewis' style and the mortgage bond market...a must read for any student in business...will be looking to purchase more books by Lewis...he has a unique style to put you into the atmosphere of the story
ktrock More than 1 year ago
A classic! Lewis takes the reader through all the ironic twists of being on Wall Street in the '80s.
Mark Kuczora More than 1 year ago
great read even for beginners. hard to quantify greed in this world but this comes close. great intro for novices. i wish i read it sooner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a fun and very satisfying read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JBD1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first book I read in flipback format was Michael Lewis' Liar's Poker (Hodder & Stoughton, 2011). Not the sort of thing I'd generally pick up, but I wanted to try out the format and the book proved well worth the reading. Funny, but also absolutely scary in the way it portrayed Wall Street culture of the late 1980s from the perspective of a bit-player in the drama (Lewis as a twenty-something employee of Salomon Brothers).
Becky444 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A brilliantly written and closely observed dissection of the mentality of bond traders in the years before they nearly brought down the world's financial system. A must read.
karenzukor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well written description of bond trading madness.
addunn3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book covers the short career of Michael Lewis as a Salomon Brothers trader during the 80's. Excellent incite into the financial workings of Wall Street. It is also a bit scary that this mentality is behind the financial structures of the world.
SteveRambach on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What is it like to be a trader on Wall Street? What is the difference between Wall Street and Main Street? Well, this is the book to read. Michael Lewis takes one through step by step on how he got hired, how he was trained, and then what was it like working for Salomon Brothers. Oh yes, I need to mention the background was the downturn of the market in the 80's. An excellent book.
browner56 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In his great novel ¿Bonfire of the Vanities,¿ Tom Wolfe lays bare the hubris and deceit that defined Wall Street in the 1980s. Of course, that was fiction, which at least raises the possibility that all of the actions described were just a figment of the imagination. In ¿Liar¿s Poker,¿ Michael Lewis tells much the same tale with the difference being that this time the story is true. Before he became a celebrated journalist and author, Lewis worked as a bond salesman at Salomon Brothers and this volume chronicles what he observed and experienced on that job.More than 20 years after its publication, the events and personalities that Lewis writes about are no longer shocking. However, they are still entertaining and occasionally very funny. If nothing else, he provides great insight into the inner workings of one of the most influential institutions operating during a historically significant time in the financial markets. While Lewis has gone on to write a number of other interesting books on various topics (e.g., ¿The New New Thing,¿ ¿Moneyball,¿ ¿The Blind Side¿), this one is still my favorite.
jpsnow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was published in1989, but the story seems so relevant to 2009 that I wonder if we've learned anything. Lewis was at Salomon Brothers during the mid-80's, a time when the firm's astute traders created opportunities with clients and found even bigger opportunities through the federal subsidization of mortgage bond risk. Starting as a very atypical trainee, he succeeded and within a few years became the top performer of his class. Along the way, he observed the breakdown in corporate character (and the complete abandonment of decorum) that would eventually lead to the demise of Solomon Brothers as an independent entity. The few admirable characters Lewis knew were lost in a crowd of opportunists, some of whom only worshiped money (a god whose name they would not speak), and others who seem to have worshiped money, food, and condescension in equal portions.The tale would be depressing if it weren't for the hopeful ending. Lewis was self-aware throughout his experience, and he ultimately walked away at the peak of his earnings. The bond market corrected its own inefficiencies as competitors turned big spreads into small ones, and the imprudent risk takers eventually found themselves on the wrong side of the market. No matter what he contributed to his clients' portfolios, Lewis has definitely contributed to our understanding of business and the ugly circumstances that occur when motivation is unchecked by character.
brysoncrichton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
great book. lewis is a good writer. this holds up.
NocturnalBlue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading it, I was thought it was a brilliant, funny encapsulation of the "greed is good" 80's ethos. Then I realized that once you adjusted the numbers for inflation, this book could have been written in 2008. That put a damper on things to say the least.
standon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent read for anyone interested in Trading
NativeRoses on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amusing memoir of attaining great wealth on Wall Street in the '80s.
Davidmanheim on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There is a central hubris that underlies much of financial advisory as a profession, and the book Liars Poker gets to the essence of this problem. Basically, there is an inherent uncertainty and complexity in financial markets, and the role that many financial advisers attempt to play is that unfailing oracles in a sea of partially efficient markets-generated uncertainty. The central conceit of the novel is the game of Liar¿s poker; basically, it is a bidding game using serial numbers from dollar bills. The players must know probability and have a keen grasp of the game, but the level at which the game is actually played is based on the bluffing skills of the players, and the willingness to take real risks with the money.A scene that exemplifies the risk-taking, and bluffing of the scene in investment banking is where John Meriwether is challenged by John Guttfreund, the former trader viewed by disdain in the firm as no longer a real player, to a single game of liars poker for a million dollars: ¿One hand, one million dollars, no tears.¿ By this, he seemingly hoped to establish his credentials when Meriwether backed down, at a price that was low enough that he could afford it if he lost. The problem in such a challenge is that a single two person game of liar¿s poker, irrespective of the skills of the players, is essentially a roll of the dice. The amount was enough that Meriwether could not afford to lose it, and his status was such that he couldn¿t decline. Instead, knowing that Gottfreund was able to afford a one million dollar loss, he counter challenged; ¿I¿d rather play for real money. Ten million dollars. No tears.¿ Merriwether quickly backed down, unable or unwilling to bet so substantial a percent of his fortune on a game at which he knew he was outmatched. (two thirds of his liquid capital, after his wife remodeled their new apartment, according to the author.)This wasn¿t only the game they played with their own fortunes, which could multiply or melt away with tremendous rapidity; it was the game they played for, or with, their clients. Of course, you could ¿blow up¿ a client or two when you were still learning (bankrupt them by advising a bad financial move,) and then once you had your legs, you would move up the ladder, earning money for the firm by maneuvering around either the market, the clients, or the other players in the market. At the end of the day, the profits taken out of the market are zero-sum, so in this context it¿s all a big game of liar¿s poker, with the additional benefit of giving the players a sense that they control the world, or at least the world¿s financial fortunes.The hubris, and of course the cocaine, hookers, and profligate spending habits of the traders are legendary, but Lewis does a wonderful job of portraying the traders, as it were, in their natural habitat with motives and scenery intact. It is a interesting perspective looking at the way the street works, especially given the short viewpoints of the traders and the asymmetric motives of traders and investors. In short, anyone interested in investing, and especially working on Wall Street, should see this perspective to more fully understand some of the problems that Wall Street has representing their clients, especially on the sell side.
mynameisvinn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
classic read for anyone who's thinking about finance. does a good job explaining financial concepts (such as MBS). very entertaining.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so hilarious and gives a birds eye view of investment banking. A potentionally snoozer of a subject had me laughing at how audacious the powers that be eere in the book. Great read
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