The Money Culture
Where would we all be without Liar's Poker? No other single book gave such a funny and accurate portrayal of the culture inside an investment bank. That book and the movie Wall Street heavily influenced my decision to become a stock jockey. Michael Lewis has had a string of bestselling books, including The Blind Side (made into an Oscar-winning movie), Moneyball (another movie adaptation starring Brad Pitt), and his most recent blockbuster The Big Short (an analysis of the , specifically dealing with ).
But it's one of his least appreciated titles that I'm writing about today. The book is called The Money Culture, and it was his sophomore effort after the overwhelming success of Liar's Poker. The book is being re-released in a new edition tomorrow, and if you're looking for a good reason to buy it here it is: it is the only book ever written that includes the true story of Eddie Braverman.
That's right, kids. The true story of the amoral, mildly psychotichustler for whom your old Uncle Eddie has taken his moniker. Braverman famously stole the Lehman Brothers training program and sold it over and over again to boiler rooms all around the country. This stolen training system was used to unleash yours truly on the world of finance at, well, let's just say a "lesser" firm.
Lewis covers dozens of Eddie's hijinks, including his haggling with an undertaker over his mother's casket because the undertaker refused to take his check. The undertaker relented, his mother was planted, and, sure enough, the check bounced.
Where Liar's Poker was an exposé of the goings on within Salomon Brothers, The Money Culture is a collection of stories pulling back the curtain on all of Wall Street and even extending to the merely wealthy (Queen of Mean Leona Helmsley, for example). It's biting satire, and it is very, very funny. You'll read about Michael Milken, RJR Nabisco, and a bunch of other old school Wall Street stories (written before they were old school).
The book reviewed poorly, and that's really a shame because it's a great book. But after the runaway success of Liar's Poker, people were expecting a sequel, and The Money Culture is not a sequel. Knowing that going into it will go a long way toward your enjoyment of the book, because it really is his most underrated title. Trust me, you'll laugh your ass off.
And maybe you'll have a new appreciation for your old Uncle Eddie...