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Liar's Poker, by Michael Lewis.    This book isn't about poker--it's about the cutthroat corporate culture in major investment banking firms in the 1980s.  (That culture hasn't necessarily changed much for the better since this book was written in 1989.)  Lewis, a former Wall Street bond trader and salesperson, describes the shameless exploitation of customers attempting to trade such fixed-income investments as mortgage securities, derivatives and junk bonds.  He also describes a number of the antics, from the profane to the preposterous, of well-known figures in one of Wall Street's most famous investment firms of the 1980s.  (The two-person game of "liar's poker," reportedly popular on Wall Street, essentially rewarded the more convincingly deceitful player.)  They say that the making of sausage isn't necessarily a pretty sight, and neither is the making of what are euphemistically known as "proprietary trading profits" on Wall Street.  Nevertheless, since the reader may someday find himself on the other side of a transaction from a Wall Street trader, it's certainly something to be aware of.  All told, this is a very interesting, albeit earthy, read.

ISBN: 0393027503
Format: Hardcover, 249pp
Pub. Date: October 1989
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company

 

 

 

"I set out to write this book only because I thought it would be better to tell the story than to go on living the story."

Preface by the author