kottke.org posts about Liars Poker

The end of Wall Street and Michael Lewis' new "fucking book"Nov 12 2008

Michael Lewis takes a look at the current financial crisis and traces its roots back to the 1980s and the events chronicled in his book, Liar's Poker. He begins by introducing us to some analysts and investors that saw the whole thing coming. One of those people is Steve Eisman.

"We have a simple thesis," Eisman explained. "There is going to be a calamity, and whenever there is a calamity, Merrill is there." When it came time to bankrupt Orange County with bad advice, Merrill was there. When the internet went bust, Merrill was there. Way back in the 1980s, when the first bond trader was let off his leash and lost hundreds of millions of dollars, Merrill was there to take the hit. That was Eisman's logic-the logic of Wall Street's pecking order. Goldman Sachs was the big kid who ran the games in this neighborhood. Merrill Lynch was the little fat kid assigned the least pleasant roles, just happy to be a part of things. The game, as Eisman saw it, was Crack the Whip. He assumed Merrill Lynch had taken its assigned place at the end of the chain.

It's a fantastic article, well worth reading to the end...the final dozen paragraphs are the best part of the whole thing. Who knew deviled eggs were so pregnant with metaphor?

As I was reading the article, Matt Bucher dropped a note into my inbox. As hoped for months ago, Lewis is writing a book about this whole mess.

MONEYBALL and THE BLIND SIDE author Michael Lewis's untitled behind-the-scenes story of a few men and women who foresaw the current economic disaster, tried to prevent it, but were overruled by the financial institutions with whom they worked, sold to Star Lawrence at Norton, by Al Zuckerman at Writers House (NA).

The Portfolio piece will definitely find itself into the book, as will this piece on Meredith Whitney, this one on Goldman Sachs, Lewis' subprime parable, and other pieces from Bloomberg, Porfolio, and his upcoming gig at Vanity Fair. One question though...what happens to Lewis' forthcoming book on New Orleans? Did that just disappear?

Michael Lewis on the financial collapseSep 22 2008

Michael Lewis looks on the bright side of the current financial crisis and finds five positive aspects.

Our willingness to believe that we can hire some expert to tell us how to outperform markets is a big problem, with big consequences. It underpins Wall Street's brokerage operations, for instance, and leads to a lot more people giving out financial advice than should be giving out financial advice. Thanks to the current panic many Americans have learned that the experts who advise them what to do with their savings are, at best, fools.

God I hope he writes a book about all this someday, sort of a Liar's Poker 2. He can call it Fool's Roulette or something.

Michael Lewis updates us on the WallNov 07 2007

Michael Lewis updates us on the Wall Street he wrote about in the excellent Liar's Poker. It's not such an alpha male environment anymore:

There is a new deal for the alpha male on Wall Street. He can make his millions, and he can still strut and preen and feel important. What he can't do is sexualize his financial clout. In the late 1980s it was fairly routine for men on Wall Street trading floors to order up strippers; when a prominent bond salesman was fellated in a conference room just off the trading floor his colleagues were more amused than shocked. Not long ago a pair of Morgan Stanley employees was fired for merely attending a strip club in their off hours.

(via david archer)

Liar's PokerMay 12 2003

Liar's Poker

Michael Lewis is one of my favorite authors. He's not the smartest or the most clever writer but he weaves deceptively simple stories into larger statements on society and humanity with a skill possessed by very few people doing creative work in any field. I haven't gotten around to reading Moneyball yet, but Liar's Poker is probably his strongest work. It's as hard to put down as any fiction. Great book.

Tags related to Liars Poker:
books Michael Lewis money finance

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