Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis – book review

Liar’s Poker is the story of Salomon Brothers as told through Michael Lewis. He joined Salomon in the mid-80’s and went through their training course before becoming a bond salesman.

The story is a mixture of his personal experiences of learning how to sell bonds and a look at the 80’s history of Salomon and their mortgage bond department.

On a personal level he progressed from a clueless beginner into someone who was making multi-million dollar deals. He spent time on both the London and New York trading floors and describes the differences between them.

On a more corporate level Michael gives an account of the company politics at Salomon. He talks about Salomon boss John Gutfreund and other main players such as Lewie Ranieri head of mortgate bonds, Tom Strauss head of government bonds and Bill Voute who was head of corporate bonds.

Later on the competition that Salomon faced from Michael Milken’s Drexel is discussed. Drexel were one of the companies that took a large amount of business away from Salomon.

If you want to learn about life at Salomon brother this is the book for you – it is a good entertaining read.

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