Michael Lewis was fresh out of Princeton when he was rejected from several investment banking interviews. His background in art history certainly didn’t aid his aspirations to become a banker. But fate had something else in store for him. Subsequently, while he was living in London in the winter of 1984, finishing a master’s degree in economics at the London School of Economics, he received an invitation to dine with the Queen Mother. It was his interaction, at the dinner, with the wife of a more senior Salomon Brothers managing director that led him to his appointment in the Salomon’s training program. Liar’s Poker is the hysterical and hilarious account of his journey from being an overpaid trainee to a bond salesman.
The book flows in an instructive manner detailing financial intricacies. It is a nonfiction account of how Wall Street’s premier investment firm was led to its curtain call owing to a deep financial crisis that was essentially perpetrated by the greed and gluttony of Wall Street executives. The book is a piecemeal work of investigative journalism. It develops further as the author’s exploration of the ideals and motives behind the trading floors of the firms at Wall Street. It gradually evolves into an often profane, but “wickedly funny” review of the series of events that led to a deep crunch in the global economy.
While the author graduates from the level of a “geek” to a “big swinging dick,” his narrative captures one of the most important period in the history of Wall Street. The plot keeps you glued and shocked as more of Mr. Lewis’ journey manifests. Two of Wall Street’s most important figure heads, Lewis Ranieri and John Gutfreund, feature prominently throughout the text. The storytelling technique is bound to keep you on edge while you dive deeper into the obsessed and enclosed world of unprecedented greed.
The events are, however, detailed in a way that you might find the information overwhelming. Despite that, the book distinguishes itself as one of the most colourful and comical account of behind-the-scenes look at a heady and frenzied time in the American economy. I’ll strongly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to further understand the financial world. The gripping and compelling narration sure makes it an excellent addition to your bookshelves!
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