Liar’s Poker is one of those books one of your friends strongly urges you to read. A short little book, the recommendation I got from Bill Howe, my Canadian Intel colleague in Europe, was that it was a hilarious read. And so it was. It reads like Animal House. It is all, well mostly, a true autobiographical story of Michael Lewis’ time at Solomon Brothers in London in the mid-1980’s, at the very beginning of the mortgage securities trading business… As you may also know, Solomon Brothers went out of business long before 2008. I was running my own computer systems integration business in London at the time, exploiting Maggie Thatcher‘s deregulation of the financial markets (where have we heard that before?), selling into the City of London, and to theBBC, British Telecom, ICI and a host of other corporate customers. So I had a bit of an insider’s grasp of what was going on in The City. It made reading the book all the more interesting.
Looking back, Liar’s Poker is now seen as something of a harbinger of things to come, a foreshadowing of darker clouds, a “canary in the coal mine.”
Lewis also recently wrote The Big Short, his analysis of the 2008 financial meltdown. Liar’s Poker has been described as a comedy, and The Big Short as a tragedy, which seems very apt to me if you have heard Michael discuss both books. Many may know Michael best for his recent success with Moneyball.