Books: Street Smart

Smart

LIAR'S POKER

by Michael Lewis

Norton; 249 pages; $18.95

In 1984 a recent Princeton University graduate chatted up a well-connected dinner partner and found himself a job at Salomon Brothers, a prominent New York City investment house. Upon entry, Michael Lewis was presented with a choice of two career tracks. A commercial banker took deposits and made loans. He was not, Lewis learned, "any more trouble than Dagwood Bumstead. He had a wife, a station wagon, 2.2 children and a dog that brought him his slippers." An investment banker, on the other hand, was a "member of a master race of...

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