American Consequences - July 2018

Books that had an impact

Reading Super System by legendary poker player Doyle Brunson at the same time I took a high school statistics class was one of my earliest life influences from literature. Published in 1979, it was one of the first and best books written on poker strategy. And it’s still very relevant today... It helped pay my way through college. I got hooked on finding amusement in Wall Street’s antics with Liar’s Poker , written by Michael Lewis in 1989. It tells his experience selling bonds at Salomon Brothers... and the disconnect between how the market should work and how the market does work. Since then, Lewis has published other fantastic reads like Moneyball , The Big Short , and Flash Boys . Finally, the best business book I’ve read recently was Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from theWorld of Wall Street , by John Brooks. It’s a 1960s collection of stories about both business success and failure that Berkshire CEOWarren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates recommended a fewyears ago... sending the price of used copies spiking before the publisher reprinted it. -Steven Longenecker, Managing Editor

Like Steven, I also enjoy Michael Lewis’ Liar’s Poker . But what impressed me most was Lewis’ writing... And how Lewis – who began his career with an art history degree and a master's in economics – turned his experience and understanding of finance into a prolific writing career. I suppose it could be argued that Lewis has been lucky. (Some of his most popular books are about some really smart people doing really incredible things.) But Lewis’ writing seems almost effortless, and the pacing and humor of Liar’s Poker had me shaking my head in disbelief. A finance guy wrote this? And it’s a true story? And it’s his first book?! Now, my background is a bit different than Michael Lewis – almost the opposite, in fact. I studied and have a degree in writing and literature, but over the last few years I’ve been editing and writing about finance, politics, and the economy. And in some small way, I think Liar’s Poker (and Lewis’ writing) showed me that a good story can be found in

even the driest, dullest subjects. - Chris Gaarde, Assistant Editor

40 July 2018

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