Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis

Liar’s Poker was one of the first books I read that was a first hand account of what goes on inside an Investment Bank.  In the late 1980’s Michael Lewis was employed by Solomon Brothers in the bond trading department.  The bond traders were expected to make money any way they could and Michael suggests that “the Law of the Jungle” applied and that nothing that any of the traders learnt at university was used on the job.  Some of the bond traders did not finish high school. The culture in the department was unprofessional – the traders often played practical jokes on each other, such as pretending the SEC was investigating one of the traders for stealing food from the canteen.  The team was very successful during the period Michael was there but he attributes this mostly to luck, as the traders did not perform as well later on in their careers.  The book is eye opening and entertaining.