Monday, January 23, 2012

Liar's Poker - Michael Lewis

The World economy started falling apart the moment after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, but there was one industry that flourished despite everything: the publication of books written by former investment bankers saying how useless, boring, and exhausting is banking and why making millions of dollars a year is morally reprehensible. 

Some of these books are relatively well written, which is quite remarkable when you think that investment bankers only get to write whenever they have to sign a check or a voucher. While investment bankers turned into authors think that they make the World a service by publishing their memoirs, the reality is that their books are a testimony of their huge egos.

The first investment banker turned into rogue author was Michael Lewis, whose book Liar's Poker, published in 1989, depicts, in addition to a huge number of anecdotes, the fall of Salomon Brothers in the 1980s. This book can save you a lot of time if you are either a prospective investment banker trying to get information on how life inside a bank really is, or if you want to read something to increase your hatred towards investment bankers. This is because Wall Street has not changed at all in the last 30 years if not for the complexity of the financial instruments: 25 year-old with no experience on business or on anything at all still get paid ridiculous amounts of money for creating and selling instruments they don't understand; regulators are still captured by the banks; double accounting is customary, and the list continues.

In addition, the prose of Liar's Poker is so hilarious that it will make you forget that you're reading a description of events that cost billions of dollars of wealth.

Here's Lewis page in Vanity Fair, Bloomberg, and an article he wrote after the financial collapse of 2008 where he goes back to Liar's Poker.

No comments:

Post a Comment