Paper Example - Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis

Published: 2023-02-22
Paper Example - Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Biography Character analysis Books
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 846 words
8 min read

Liar's Poker is a semi-autobiographical and non-fictional book written by Michael Lewis that talks about his experience while working as a bond salesman in 1980. In 1989, the book was known to be one novel that defined the Wall Street along with the Barbarians at the Wolfe written by John Helyars and Bryan Burrough. Mostly the album captured a vital time in the history of the Wall Street. Two compelling characters that were mentioned in the book were John Gutfreund, Salomon Brother mortgage CEO and Lewis Ranieri the head of the department (Lewis 12). The essay will elaborate more on the main characters, their roles and the ethical issues in the Liar's Poker.

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The book had two different storylines that were not in chronological order. First was the autobiographical nature of Lewis throughout his school life and his work experience. This part talks more about how the bond salesman and traders worked their culture and their personality. Vital figures in this book include the CEO and the head of the department. The second part talks about the history of the Salomon Brothers and the general view of Wall Street's and how the company created its market through wealthy people such as Michael Milken and the junk bonds (Lewis 19). In this part of the book, Lewis experience is not discussed much except the interviews done by relevant figures.

Biographical Part

Lewis, who was a student at Princeton University, had planned to break into Wall Street to make money. The reason why he had this idea was after he failed severally to find a finance job. One example was the Lehman Brothers. In 1982, the brothers rejected his employment application, and this made him go for further studies at the London School of Economics to attain a master's degree. In England, Lewis got an invitation to attend a banquet hosted by the Queen mother. During the event, Lewis noticed that besides his cousin Baroness Linda Monroe, one of the organizers and the managing partner of Salomon Brother also sat near him (Lewis 54). One thing the wife of the managing partner opted was to request her husband to employ Lewis. This worked because Lewis was given an appointment of an interview and later got a job.

Lewis was later moved to New York to train. In this town, Lewis was appalled at the obtuse, obnoxious and sophomoric behavior of the fellow trainees, taken to the money culture of the Solomon brothers and finished his training at the Wall Street. Later, Lewis was transferred to London to work as a bond salesman. Even though he never had enough experience, he was made to hand millions of dollars. His job was at stake in 1987 when there was a hostile takeover of the company. With time, Lewis gained experience, and in 1988, he wrote his first book and became a financial journalist.

The Culture of the Wall Street

The book analyses more about the salesmen, their work practices, the Wall Street traders and their beliefs. While in training Lewis was fascinated by how the trainees had funny behaviours. For instance, most trainees liked insulting and yelling to the financial experts. Sometimes the trainees also threw spitballs to the lectures and each other, calling phone sex lines and sharing out to the company's intercom (Lewis 62). They also had gambling behavioural traits that made them have a lust for money and would do anything to take the company's position that had low salaries.

Lewis also attributed to the salesman's and bond traders' behavior to the point that the trading floor never needed an advanced financial knowledge or finesse, but rather the desire and ability to exploit people's weakness, irritate others and scream out orders. In most circumstance, they referred to this as "The law of the Jungle," (Lewis 79) Lewis also realized that most trainees that joined Wall Street had done economics, but the knowledge never applied anywhere because the traders frowned most of them. Lewis also played a significant role during the 1980s and 1990's savings and loan scandal due to his inability of the provincial, inexperienced, bank managers. Mostly he used to describe them as masters that took advantage of the discerning public that was provided by the savings and loan industry.


The book shows how Lewis portrayed the era due to the government deregulation that gave way to the conscientious people of the company to take advantage of ignorance to create wealth. Lewis begins by showing how the Salomon Brothers rose through trading when the U.S congress allowed the managers of the company to start selling the mortgages inform of bonds. Lewis, who was only an employee, designed a viable mortgage trading section to trap the company of the law of trading was passed. In the end, the company which lured the traders with higher salaries lost a lot of money because most traders lacked the skills. Most firms also involved themselves with the mortgage bonds and stabilized their prizes to allow a trade to flow.

Works Cited

Lewis, Michael. Liars Poker: Rising through the Wreckage on Wall Street. W. W. Norton & Company, 2014.

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