Michael Lewis creates a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 bestseller Liar's Poker. Out of a handful of unlikely-really unlikely-heroes, Lewis fashions a story as compelling and unusual as any of his earlier bestsellers, proving yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our time.
"Guaranteed to make blood boil." —Janet Maslin, New York Times
In Michael Lewis's game-changing bestseller, a small group of Wall Street iconoclasts realize that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders. They band together—some of them walking away from seven-figure salaries—to investigate, expose, and reform the insidious new ways that Wall Street generates profits. If you have any contact with the market, even a retirement account, this story is happening to you.
Icelanders wanted to stop fishing and become investment bankers. The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a pinata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack at it. The Germans wanted to be even more German; the Irish wanted to stop being Irish.
Michael Lewis's investigation of bubbles beyond our shores is so brilliantly, sadly hilarious that it leads the American reader to a comfortable complacency: oh, those foolish foreigners. But when he turns a merciless eye on California and Washington, DC, we see that the narrative is a trap baited with humor, and we understand the reckoning that awaits the greatest and greediest of debtor nations.
It was wonderful to be young and working on Wall Street in the 1980s: never before had so many twenty-four-year-olds made so much money in so little time. After you learned the trick of it, all you had to do was pick up the phone and the money poured in your lap.
This wickedly funny book endures as the best record we have of those heady, frenzied years. In it Lewis describes his own rake’s progress through a powerful investment bank. From an unlikely beginning (art history at Princeton?) he rose in two short years from Salomon Brothers trainee to Geek (the lowest form of life on the trading floor) to Big Swinging Dick, the most dangerous beast in the jungle, a bond salesman who could turn over millions of dollars' worth of doubtful bonds with just one call.
As he has continued to do for a quarter century, Michael Lewis here shows us how things really worked on Wall Street. In the Salomon training program a roomful of aspirants is stunned speechless by the vitriolic profanity of the Human Piranha; out on the trading floor, bond traders throw telephones at the heads of underlings and Salomon chairmen Gutfreund challenges his chief trader to a hand of liar’s poker for one million dollars.
Pat Buchanan: becomes the first politician ever to choose a black hat over a white one.
Phil Gramm: spends twenty million dollars to convince voters of his fiscal responsibility.
John McCain: makes the fatal mistake of actually speaking his mind.
Alan Keyes: checks out of a New Hampshire hotel and tells the manager another candidate will be paying his bill.
Steve Forbes: refuses to answer questions about his father's motorcycles.
Bob Dole: marches through the campaign without ever seeming to care.
Losers is a wickedly funny, unflinching look at how America really goes about choosing a President.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In the late 1980s, Japanese scientists were trying to figure out the economic damage that would be caused if a catastrophic earthquake destroyed Tokyo. The answer was bleak, but not for Japan. Kaoru Oda, an economist who worked for Tokai Bank, speculated that the United States would end up paying the most. Why? Japan owned trillions of dollars’ worth of foreign liquid assets and investments. These assets, which the world depended on, would be sold, forcing countries into the precarious position of having to return large amounts of money they might not have. After the recent earthquake, Michael Lewis reexamined this hypothesis and came to a surprising conclusion. With his characteristic sense of humor and wit, Lewis, once again, explains the inner workings of a financial catastrophe.
“How a Tokyo Earthquake Could Devastate Wall Street” appears in Michael Lewis’s book The Money Culture.