I've just read (finally!) Michael Lewis's Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street
, the classic 1989 memoir of life at Salomon Brothers investment bank in the run-up to the Wall Street crash of 1987. Lewis was hired to trade mortgage bonds (yes, the mortgage bonds that precipitated the crash of 2008) fresh from the London School of Economics, dispatched to Salomon's legendary training program in NYC, then shipped back to London.
Lewis was a gifted salesman who made millions for the firm, but he was also deeply skeptical of the whole enterprise. This is an unbeatable combination, as it situated him perfectly to critically examine the culture, economics and ethics of the overheated bubble as it expanded, expanded, and, finally burst.
It doesn't hurt that Lewis is a fantastic writer with a particular talent for explaining the minutae of investment banking without making you want to gouge your own eyes out. Through vivid portraits of the movers and shakers on Wall Street, Lewis recounts the origin stories of junk-bonds, corporate raiding, mortgage bonds, the S&L crisis, and the founding of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac (both founded at the behest of Salomon in order to backstop the mortgage bond market).
It's been 20 years since this was published, but there's never been a better time to read it. The hairy-knuckled, hyper-competitive, pirahnoid Wall Street and City traders he describes here could be the same hedge fundies who're poised over the tub with razors at their wrists today.
Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street
The Art of Atari is a new hardcover celebrating the wonderful illustrations of the iconic game company’s packaging, catalogs, and other artwork that, according to the book’s introduction written by Ernest “Ready Player One” Cline, was “specially commissioned to enhance the Atari experience to further entice children and adults to embrace the new era of […]
Ariel Waldman, creator of Spacehack, has just published a delightful book titled “What’s It Like in Space? Stories from Astronauts Who’Ve Been There?” Illustrated by Brian Standeford, it’s a fun collection of astronaut anecdotes on everything from sneezing and farting in zero gravity to weird frights and the necessity of Sriracha in space. Here’s an […]
Danish photographer Jacob Erhbahn captured metalheads mid-headbang at music festivals around Europe. The result is Headbangers, a full-color book compiling the best of these unrestrained moments of metal bliss. In this collection Ehrbahn’s camera stops time and captures the surprising and life-affirming moments when the headbangers abandon all semblance of vanity and surrender to the […]
If you want to add some real firepower to your programming repertoire, learn Java–one of the most adaptable, widely-used programming platforms around. You can easily do that with this Ultimate Java bundle, now just $69 in the Boing Boing Store.Across 14 lectures and 117 hours of content, the educators at online academy eduCBA will walk you through […]
Every company wants to harness the power of social media, but few understand how to make that happen. Be one of those select few with this Social Media Marketing Course & Certification package, now just $29 in the Boing Boing Store.Over 12 modules of course material, you’ll learn what it takes to increase a brand’s […]
If you’ve got a killer app idea, but don’t have the technical expertise to pull it off, get a crash course in all things app development with the Comprehensive Android Development Bundle, now over 90% off in the Boing Boing Store. Across 83 hours of training, you’ll learn to develop for the world’s most popular mobile OS, mastering […]