Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book Review: Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis

I just finished reading Liar's Poker by Lewis, an account of the early career of a Saloman brothers bond salesman. The book captures the culture and work ethos of a famous Wall Street investment bank and exposes the motives of people who run the business. The fact that the whole business was managed with only short term goals in mind and the customer's interest came last (after personal, followed by Saloman's) is etched into the reader's mind. Also, the hypocrisy perpetuated regularly by the management exposes the emotions of how fear and greed works in the market.

Liar's Poker raises fundamental questions in the mind of the discerning reader. Are the interests of the customer ever foremost in the mind of the the broker or is the broker out to make a killing for himself and his firm? Are the tie-dangling MBAs hired by these brokers who walk and talk like financial wizards have any knowledge of the markets or are they just parroting what they have picked up second-hand from others who are equally ignorant?

Overall, a very good read.

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