Instaread Summary of Liar’s Poker Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street, by Michael Lewis
First and foremost, I have witnessed people very good at the game called liar’s poker playing it. Each person pulls out a dollar bill, looks at the serial numbers and then makes claims regarding the digits. Pairs, three of a kind and so forth. The best ones are able to bluff their way to a victory many times, always acting like they have the hand to back up their claims. It is an excellent analogy to use in describing the investment firm of Salomon Brothers, a once massive form that was the largest investment banking firm in the United States in the 1980s. It no longer exists as their overreach over investments led to the downfall.
The book is a revelatory expose of the bad boy, teenager behavior of the people that were managing accounts worth millions. While there is always some value in pranks and other silliness in relieving tension, the descriptions at times are incredible. Investment bankers are commonly depicted as neat dressers, thoughful people that understand the financial world and only make decisions based on sound analysis. “Like a rock” hardly describes how these guys behaved.
Many people will believe that it makes little sense to relive the 1980s regarding the modern financial world, arguing that too much has changed. Yet, as is pointed out in this summary, the seeds of the financial collapse of 2008 were sown in the deregulatory furor of the 1980s.
The summary of the behavior of Salomon Brothers in general and the particular employees described will disturb people that want their money to be safe and sound, not a toy for little boys inhabiting big boy bodies. It does what all such books should do, it gives you enough information in order to make a decision whether to read the entire book. I was appalled by the small amount of information contained in this summary, “Wall Street greed” is a common complaint, from this summary you can add a few other negative phrases to create an accurate description.
This book was made available for free for review purposes