🖐 A Sly Game Of 'Liar's Poker'

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Liar’s Poker: Lies on Steroids Liar’s Poker was a game that Salomon Brothers’ traders engaged in on a daily basis. The insanity of the game captures the culture and excess wealth that dominated Wall Street in this era. The game is simple. Any trader could walk up to another bunch of traders and shout “Liar’s Poker, $100”.


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A Sly Game Of 'Liar's Poker'
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Having finished Liar's Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street by Michael Lewis, last week, it seemed appropriate to explain the rules of the game. Yes, a review might have been interesting, but definitely not more entertaining (and I would consider the book an entertaining read).


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The time was the 1980s. The place was Wall Street. The game was called Liar’s Poker. Michael Lewis was fresh out of Princeton and the London School of Economics when he landed a job at Salomon Brothers, one of Wall Street’s premier investment firms.


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Liar's Poker Game Rules - How to Play Liar's Poker the Card Game
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Working beside traders at Salomon Brothers put me, I believe, at the epicenter of one of those events that help to define an age.
Traders are masters of the quick killing, and a lot of the killings in the past ten years or so have been quick.
And Salomon Brothers was indisputably the king of traders.
What I have tried to do here, without, as it were, leaving my seat on the Salomon trading floor, is to describe and explain the events and the attitudes that characterized the era; the story occasionally tails away from me, but it is nonetheless my story throughout.
The money I did not make and the lies I did not tell I still understood in a personal way because of my position.
That was somewhere near the cenfer of a modern gold rush.
Never before have so many unskilled twenty-four-year-olds made so much money in so little time as we did this decade in New York and London.
There has never before been such a fantastic exception to the rule of the marketplace that one takes out no more than one puts in.
Now I do not object to money.
I generally would rather have more than less.
But I'm not holding my breath waiting for another windfall What happened was a rare and amazing glitch in the fairly predictable history of getting and spending.
It should be said that I was, by the standards we use to measure ourselves, a success.
I made a lot of money.
I was told often by people who ran our firm that I would one day join them at the top.
I would rather not make this boast early.
But the reader needs to know that I have been given no reason to feel bitterly toward or estranged from my former employer.
I set out to write this book only because I thought it would be better to tell the story than to go on living the story.
Also Robert Ducas and David Soskin for intelligent advice.
Finally, he wishes to thank his parents, Diana and Tom Lewis.
They are, of course, directly responsible for any errors, sins, or omissions herein.
Liar's Poker "Wall Street, " reads the sinister old gag, "is a sfreef with a river at one end and a graveyard at the other.
It omits the kindergarten in the middle.
I Chapter One Liars Poker IT WAS sometime early in 1986, the first year of the decline of my firm, Salomon Brothers.
Our chairman, John Gutfreund, left his desk at the head of the trading floor and went for a walk.
Sutf reund took the pulse of the place by simply wandering around it and asking questions of the traders.
An eerie sixth sense guided him to wherever a crisis was unfolding.
Sutfreund seemed able to smell money being lost.
He was the last person a nerve-racked trader wanted to see.
Sutf reund pronounced Good friend liked to sneak up from behind and surprise you.
This was fun for him but not for you.
Busy on two phones at once trying to stem disaster, you had no time to turn and look.
You didn't need to.
The area around you began to convulse like an epileptic ward.
People were pretending to be frantically busy and at the same time staring intently at a spot directly above your head.
You felt a chill in your bones that I imagine belongs to the same class of intelligence as the nervous twitch of a small furry animal at the silent approach of a grizzly bear.
An alarm shrieked in your head: Sutfreund!
Sutfreundl Often as not, our chairman just hovered quietly for a bit, then left.
You might never have seen him.
The only trace I found of him on two of these occasions was a turd-like ash on the floor beside my chair, left, I suppose, as a calling card.
Sutfreund's cigar droppings were longer and better formed than those of the average Salomon boss.
This day in 1986, however, Sutfreund did something strange.
Instead of terrifying us all, he walked a straight line to the trading desk of John Meriwether, a member of the board of Salomon Inc.
He whispered a few words.
The traders in the vicinity eavesdropped.
What Sutf reund said has become a legend at Salomon Brothers and a visceral part of its corporate identity.
He said: "One hand, one million dollars, no tears.
Meriwether grabbed the meaning instantly.
The King of Wall Street, as Business Week had dubbed Sutfreund, wanted to play a single hand of a game called Liar's Poker for a million dollars.
He played the game most afternoons with Meriwether and the six young bond arbitrage traders who worked for Meriwether and was usually skinned alive.
Some traders said Sutfreund was heavily outmatched.
The peculiar feature of Sutfreund's challenge this time was the size of the stake.
Normally his bets didn't exceed a few hundred dollars.
A million was unheard of.
The final two words of his challenge, "no tears, " meant that the loser was expected to suffer a great deal of pain but wasn't entitled to whine, bitch, or moan about it.
He'd just have to hunker down and keep his poverty to himself.
You might ask if you were anyone other than the King of Wall Street.
Why do it in the first place?
Why, in particular, challenge Meriwether instead of some lesser managing director?
It seemed an act of sheer lunacy.
Meriwether was the King of the Game, the Liar's Poker champion of the Salomon Brothers trading floor.
On the other hand, one thing you learn on a trading floor is that winners like Gutf reund always have some reason for what they do; it might not be the best of reasons, but at least they have a concept in mind.
I was not privy to Sutfreund's innermost thoughts, but I do know that all the boys on the trading floor gambled and that he wanted badly to be one of the boys.
What I think Sutf reund had in mind in this Instance was a desire to show his courage, like the boy who leaps from the high dive.
Who better than Meriwether for the purpose?
Besides, Meriwether was probably the only trader with both the cash and the nerve to play.
The whole absurd situation needs putting into context.
John Meriwether had, in the course of his career, made hundreds of millions of dollars for Salomon Brothers.
He had an ability, rare among people and treasured by traders, to hide his state of mind.
Most traders divulge whether they are making or losing money by the way they speak or move.
With Meriwether you could never, ever tell.
He wore the same blank half -tense expression when he won as he did when he lost.
He had, I think, a profound ability to control the two emotions that commonly destroy traders S ear and greed W.
He was thought by many within Salomon to be the best bond trader on Wall Street.
Around Salomon no tone but awe was used when he was discussed.
People would say, "He's the best businessman in the place," or "the best risk taker I have ever seen," or "a very dangerous Liar's Poker player.
His boys ranged in age from twenty-five to thirty- two he was about forty.
Most of them had Ph.
Once they got onto Meriwether's trading desk, however, they forgot they were supposed to be detached intellectuals.
They became obsessed by the game of Liar's Poker.
They regarded it as their game.
And they took it to a new level of seriousness.
John Sutf reund was always link outsider in their game.
That Business Week put his picture on the cover and called him the King of Wall Street held little significance for them.
I mean, that was, in a way, the whole point.
Sutf reund was the King of Wall Street, but Meriwether was King of the Game.
When Sutf reund had been crowned by the gentlemen of the press, you could almost hear traders thinking; Foolish names and foolish faces often appear in public places.
Fair enough, Sutfreund had once been a trader, but that was as relevant as an old woman's claim that she was once quite a dish.
At times A game of liars poker himself seemed to agree.
He loved to trade.
Compared with managing, trading was admirably direct.
You made your bets and either you won or you lost.
When you won, people II the way up to the top of the firm dmired you, envied you, and feared you, and with reason: You controlled the loot.
When you managed a firm, well, sure you received your quota of envy, fear, and admiration.
But for all the wrong reasons.
Vou did not make the money for Salomon.
You did not take risk.
You were hostage to your producers.
They proved their superiority every day by handling risk better than the rest of the risk-taking world.
The money came from risk takers such as Meriwether, and whether it came or not was really beyond Sutfreund's control.
That's why many people thought that the single rash act of challenging the arbitrage boss to one hand for a million dollars was Sutfreund's way of showing he was a player, too.
And if you wanted to show off.
Liar's Poker was the only way to go.
The game had a powerful meaning for traders.
People like John Meriwether believed that Liar's Poker had a lot in common with bond trading.
It tested a trader's character.
It honed a trader's instincts.
A good player made a good trader, and vice versa.
We all understood it.
The Game: In Liar's Poker a group of people ffi s few as two, as many as ten tfl orm a circle.
Each player holds a dollar bill close to his chest.
The game is similar in spirit to the card game known as I Doubt It.
Each player attempts to fool the others about the serial numbers printed on the face of his dollar bill.
One trader begins by making "a bid.
check this out the first bid has been made, the game moves clockwise in the circle.
Let's say the bid is three sixes.
The player to the left of the bidder can do one of two things.
Or he can "challenge"e hat is like saying, "I doubt it.
Then, and only then, do the players reveal their serial numbers and determine who is bluffing whom.
In the midst of all this, the mind of a good player spins with probabilities.
What is the statistical likelihood of there being three sixes within a batch of, say, forty randomly generated serial numbers?
For a great player, however, the math is the easy part of the game.
The hard part is reading the faces of the other players.
The complexity arises when all players know how to bluff and double-bluff.
The game has some of the feel of trading, just as jousting has some of the feel of war.
The questions a Liar's Poker player asks himself are, up to a point, the same questions a bond trader asks himself.
Is this a smart risk?
Do I feel lucky?
How cunning is my opponent?
Does he have any idea game theory poker he's doing, and if not, how do I exploit his ignorance?
If he bids high, is he bluffing, or does he actually hold a strong hand?
Is he trying to induce me to make a foolish bid, or does he actually have four of a kind himself?
Each player seeks weakness, predictability, and pattern in the others and seeks to avoid it in himself.
The bond traders of Soldman, Sachs, First Boston, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and other Wall Street firms all play some version of Liar's Poker.
But the place where the stakes run highest, thanks to John Meriwether, is the New York bond trading floor of Salomon Brothers.
The code of the Liar's Poker player was something like the code of the gunslinger.
It required a trader to accept all challenges.
But he knew it was stupid.
For him, there was no upside.
If he won, he upset Sutfreund.
No good came of this.
But if he lost, he was out of pocket a million bucks.
This was worse than upsetting the boss.
Although Meriwether was by far the better player of the game, in a single hand anything could happen.
Luck could very well determine the outcome.
Meriwether spent his entire day avoiding dumb bets, and he wasn't about to accept this one.
It was a moment for all players to savor.
Meriwether was playing Liar's Poker before the game even started.
Sutfreund considered the counterproposal.
It would have been just like him to accept.
Merely to entertain the thought was a luxury that must have pleased him well.
It was good to be rich.
On the other hand, ten million dollars was, and is, a lot of money.
If Gutfreund lost, he'd have only thirty million or so left.
His wife, Susan, was busy spending the better part of fifteen million dollars redecorating their Manhattan apartment Meriwether knew this.
And as Gutf reund was the boss, he clearly wasn't bound by the Meriwether code.
Maybe he didn't even know the Meriwether code.
Maybe the whole point of his challenge was to judge Meriwether's response.
Even Gutfreund had to marvel at the king in action.
In fact, he smiled his own brand of forced smile and said, "You're crazy.
I make a lot of money.
I will like my job very, very much 1 will help people I will be a millionaire I will have a big house It will be fun forme S even-year-old Minnesota schoolboy, "What I Want to Be When I Grow Up," dated March 1985 I WAS LIVING in London in the winter of 1984, finishing a master's degree in economics at the London School of Economics, when I received an invitation to dine with the queen mother.
It came through a distant cousin of mine who, years before, and somewhat improbably, had married a German baron.
Though I was not the sort of person regularly invited to dine at St.
James's Palace, the baroness, happily, was.
I rented a black tie, boarded the tube, and went.
This event was the first link in a chain of improbabilities, culminating in a job offer from Salomon Brothers.
What had been advertised as a dose encounter with British royalty proved to be a fund raiser with seven or eight hundred insurance salesmen.
We fanned out across the Great Hall in dark wooden chairs on wine red carpets beneath sooty portraits of the royal family, as if auditioning to be extras on "Masterpiece Theatre.
I knew this only because, as luck would further have it, I was seated between their wives.
The wife of the more senior Salomon Brothers managing director, an American, took our table firmly in hand, once we'd finished craning our necks to snatch a glimpse of British royalty.
She prodded, quizzed, needled, and unsettled me for about an hour until finally she stopped, satisfied.
Having examined what good had come from my twenty-four years on earth, she asked why I didn't come and work on the Salomon Brothers trading floor.
I tried to keep calm.
I was afraid that if I appeared too eager, it might dawn on the woman she had made a terrible mistake.
I had recently read John Sutf reund's now legendary comment that to succeed on the Salomon Brothers trading floor a person had to wake up each morning "ready to bite the ass off a bear.
I explained to her my notion of what life should be like inside an investment bank.
The description included a big glass office, a secretary, a large expense account, and lots of meetings with captains of industry.
This occupation does exist within Salomon Brothers, but it is not respected.
It is called corporate finance.
It is different from sales and trading, though both are generally referred to as investment banking.
Sutfreund's trading floor, where stocks and bonds are bought and sold, is the rough-and-tumble center of moneymaking and risk taking.
Traders have no secretaries, off ices, or meetings with captains of industry.
Corporate finance, which services the corporations and governments that borrow money, and that are known as "clients," is, by comparison, a ref ined and unworldly place.
Because they don't risk money, corporate financiers are considered wimps by traders.
By any standards other than those of Wall Street, however, corporate finance is still a jungle full of chest-pounding males.
The lady from Salomon fell silent at the end of my little speech.
Then, in a breath, she said limp-wristed, overly groomed fellows on small salaries worked in corporate finance.
Where was my chutzpah?
Did I want to sit in an office all day?
What was I M ome numbnut?
It was pretty clear she wasn't looking for an answer.
So I asked if she had the authority to offer me a job.
With this she dropped the subject of my manhood and assured me that when she got home, she would have her husband take care of it.
At the end of the meal the eighty-four-year-old queen mother tottered out of the room.
Then I realized that it must be the front of the palace and that we fund raiser types had been let in like delivery boys, through the back.
Anyway, the queen mother was headed our way.
Behind her walked Jeeves, straight as a broom, clad in white tie and tails and carrying a silver tray.
Following Jeeves, In procession, was a team of small, tubular dogs, called corgis, that looked like large rats.
The English think corgis are cute.
The British royals, I was later told, never go anywhere without them.
A complete hush enveloped the Great Hall of St.
As the queen mother drew near, the insurance salesmen bowed their heads like churchgoers.
The corgis had been trained to curtsy every fifteen seconds by crossing their back legs and dropping their ratlike bellies onto the floor.
The procession at last arrived at its destination.
We stood immediately at the queen mother's side.
The Salomon Brothers wife glowed.
I'm sure I glowed, too.
But she glowed more.
Her desire to be noticed was tangible.
There are a number of ways to grab the attention of royalty in the presence of eight hundred silent agents of the Prudential, but probably the surest is to shout.
That's what she did.
Specifically, she shouted, "Hey, Queen, Nice Dogs You Have There!
Actually they were already pale, so perhaps I exaggerate.
But they cleared their throats a great deal and stared at their tassel loafers.
The only person within earshot who didn't appear distinctly uncomfortable was the queen mother herself.
She passed out of the room without missing a step.
At that odd moment in St.
James's Palace, representatives of two proud institutions had flown their finest colors side by side; The unflappable queen mother gracefully dealt with an embarrassing situation by ignoring it; the Salomon Brothers managing director's wife, drawing on hidden reserves of nerve and instinct, restored the balance of power in the room by hollering.
I had always had a soft spot for the royals, and especially the queen mother.
But from that moment I found Salomon Brothers, the bleacher bums of St.
To some, they were crude, rude, and socially unacceptable.
But I wouldn't have had them any other way.
These were, as much as any investment bankers could be, my people.
And there was no doubt in my mind that this unusually forceful product of the Salomon Brothers culture could persuade her husband to give me a job.
I was soon invited by her husband to the London offices of Salomon and introduced to traders and salesmen on the trading floor.
I liked the commercial buzz of their environment.
But I still did not have a formal job offer, and I wasn't subjected to a proper round of job interviews.
It was pretty clear, considering the absence of harsh cross-examination, that the managing director's wife had been true to her word and that Salomon intended to hire me.
But no one actually asked me to return.
A few days later I received another call.
Would I care to eat breakfast at 6:30 A.
I said naturally that I would.
And I went through the painful and unnatural process of rising at 5;30 A.
But Corbett didn't offer me a job either, just a plate of wet scrambled eggs.
We had a pleasant talk, which was disconcerting, because Salomon Brothers' recruiters were meant to be bastards.
It seemed dear Corbett wanted me to work at Salomon, but he never came right out and proposed.
I went continue reading, took off the suit, and went back to bed.
Finally, puzzled, I told a fellow student at the London School of Economics what had happened.
As he badly wanted a job with Salomon Brothers, he knew exactly what I had to do.
Salomon Brothers, he said, never made job offers.
It was too smart to give people the chance to turn it down.
Salomon Brothers only gave hints.
If I had been given a hint that it wanted to hire me, the best thing forme to do was call Leo Corbett in New York and take the job from him.
I called him, reintroduced myself, and said, "I want to let you know that I accept.
He explained that I would start life at "the Brothers" in a training program that commenced the end of July.
He said that I would be joined by at least 120 other students, most of whom would have been recruited from colleges and business schools.
Then he hung up.
He hadn't told me what I would be paid, nor had I asked, because I knew, for reasons that shall soon emerge, that investment bankers didn 't like to talk about money.
I knew nothing about trading and, as a result, next to nothing about Salomon Brothers, for Salomon Brothers is, more than any other on Wall Street, a firm run by traders.
I knew only what I had read in the papers, and they said that Salomon Brothers was the world's most profitable investment bank.
True as that might be, the process of landing a job with the firm had been suspiciously pleasant.
After some initial giddiness about the promise of permanent employment, I became skeptical of the desirability of life on a trading floor.
It crossed my mind to hold out for a job in corporate finance.
Had it not been for the circumstances, I might well have written to Leo we were on a first-name basis to say I didn't want to belong to any club that would have me so quickly for a member.
The circumstances were that I had no other job.
I decided to live with the stigma of having gotten my first real job through connections.
It was better than the stigma of unemployment.
Any other path onto the Salomon Brothers trading floor would have been cluttered with unpleasant obstacles, like job interviews.
Six thousand people had applied that year.
Most of the people with whom I would eventually work were badly savaged in their interviews and had grisly stories to tell.
Except for the weird memory of Salomon's assault on the British throne, I had no battle scars and felt mildly ashamed.
Oh, all right, Iconf ess.
One of the reasons I pounced on the Salomon Brothers opportunity like a loose ball was that I had already seen the dark side of a Wall Street job hunt and had no desire to see it again.
As a college senior in 1981, three years before the night I got lucky in St.
James's Palace, I applied to banks.
I have never seen men oh Wall Street in such complete agreement on any issue as they were on my application.
A few actually laughed at my resume.
Representatives from several leading firms said I lacked commercial instincts, an expensive way, I feared, to say that I would spend the rest of my life poor.
I've always had difficulties making sharp transitions, and this one was the sharpest.
I recall that I couldn't imagine myself wearing a suit.
Also, I'd never met a banker with blond hair.
All moneymen I'd ever seen were either dark or bald.
So, you see, I had problems.
About a quarter of the people with whom I began work at Salomon Brothers came straight from college, so passed a test that I failed.
I still wonder how.
In this I wasn't unusual.
If they'd heard of trading floors, college seniors considered them cages for untrained animals, and one of the great shifts in the 1980s was the relaxing of this pose by the most expensively educated people in both America and Britain.
My Princeton University Class of 1982 was among the last to hold it firmly.
So we didn't apply to work on trading floors.
Instead we angled for lower-paying jobs in corporate finance.
The starting salary was about twenty-five thousand dollars a year plus bonus.
When all was said and done, the pay came to around six dollars an hour.
The job title was "investment banking analyst.
They were slaves to a team of corporate financiers, the men who did the negotiations and paper work though not the trading and selling of new issues of stocks and bonds for America's corporations.
At Salomon Brothers they were the lowest of the low; at other banks they were the lowest of the high; in either case theirs was a miserable job.
Analysts photocopied, proofread, and assembled breathtakingly dull securities documents for ninety and more hours a week.
If they did this particularly well, analysts were thought well of by their bosses.
This was a dubious honor.
Bosses attached beepers to their favorite analysts, making it possible to call them in at all hours.
A few of the very best analysts, months into their new jobs, lost their will to live normal lives.
They gave themselves entirely over to their employers and worked around the clock.
They rarely slept and often looked ill; the better they became at the jobs, the nearer they appeared to death.
One extremely successful analyst working for Dean Witter in 1983 a friend I envied at the time for his exalted station in life was so strung out that he regularly nipped into a bathroom stall during midday lulls and slept on the toilet.
He worked straight through most nights and on weekends, yet felt guilty for not doing more.
He pretended to be constipated tSl n case someone noticed how long he had been gone.
By definition an analyst's job lasted only two years.
Then he was expected to go to business school.
Many analysts later admit that their two years between college and business school were the worst of their lives.
The analyst was a prisoner of his own narrowly focused ambition.
He didn't want to expose himself in any unusual way.
He wanted to be thought successful by others like him.
I tell you this only because I narrowly escaped imprisonment myself, and not by choice.
And had I not escaped, I surely wouldn't be here now.
I'd be continuing my climb up the same ladder as many of my peers.
There was one sure way, and only one sure way?
So, more than any other, the question tlhat my classmates and I were asking in the fall of 1981 and the spring of 1982 was: How do I become a Wall Street analyst?
Over time this qiuestion had fantastic consequences.
The first and most obvious was ai logjam at the point of entry.
Any one of a number of hard statistics cam be enlisted to illustrate the point.
Forty percent of the tlhirteen hundred members of Yale's graduating class of 1986 applied tco one investment bank.
There was, I think, a sense iof safety in the numbers.
The larger the number of people involved, tHie easier it was for them to delude themselves that what they were dosing must be smart.
The first thing you learn on the trading floor is that when large numbers of people are after the same commodity, be it a sstock, a bond, or a job, the commodity quickly becomes overvalued.
Unfortunately, at the time, I had never seen a trading floor.
The second effect, one that struck me at the time as tragic, was a strange surge in the study of economics.
AVt Harvard in 1987 the course in the principles of economics had forty :sections and a thousand students; the enrollment had tripled in ten yeairs.
At Princeton, in my senior year, for the first time in the history of th If school, economics became the single most popular area of concentration.
And the more people studied economics, the more an economiics degree became a requirement for a job on Wall Street.
There was a good reason for this.
Ecomomics satisfied the two most basic needs of investment bankers.
Firstt investment bankers wanted practical people, willing to subordinate their educations to their careers.
Economics, which was becoming an ewerr more abstruse science, producing mathematical treatises with no obwious use, seemed almost U i J -f-tj, S1 www fjitJSihow.
The way it was itaught did not exactly fire the imagination.
I mean, few people would claim they actually liked studying economics; there was not a trace off self-indulgence in the act.
Studying economics was more a ritual satcrif ice.
I can't prove this, of course.
It is bald assertion, based on what ''economists call casual empiricism.
I saw friends steadily drained of life.
I often asked otherwise intelligent members of the prebanking set why they studied economics, and they explained that it was the most practical course of study, even while they spent their time drawing funny little graphs.
They were right, of course, and that was even more maddening.
It got people jobs.
And it did this because it demonstrated that they were among the most fervent believers in the primacy of economic life.
Investment bankers also wanted to believe, like members of any exclusive club, that the logic to their recruiting techniques was airtight.
No one who didn't belong was admitted.
This conceit went hand in glove with the investment bankers' belief that they could control their destiny, something, as we shall see, they couldn't do.
Economics allowed investment banking recruiters to compare directly the academic records of recruits.
The only inexplicable aspect of the process was that economic theory which is, after all, what economics students were supposed to know served almost no function in an investment bank.
The bankers used economics as a sort of standardized test of general intelligence.
In the midst of the hysteria I was suitably hysterical.
I had made a conscious decision not to study economics at Princeton, partly because everyone else was doing it for what sounded to me like the wrong reasons.
Don't get me wrong.
I knew I'd one day need to earn a living.
But it seemed a waste not to seize the unique opportunity to stretch your brain on something that genuinely excited you.
It also seemed a waste not to use the rest of the university.
So I landed in one of the least used departments on campus.
Art history a game of liars poker the opposite of economics; no one wanted it on his resume.
Art history, as an economics major once told me, "is for preppy girls from Connecticut.
They dipped into my department for a course a term, which appeared on their resumes as only one component of that average.
The idea that art history might be self-improving or that self-improvement, as distinct from career building, was a legitimate goal of education was widely regarded as naive and reckless.
And as we approached the end of our four years in college, that is how it seemed.
Some of my classmates were visibly sympathetic toward me, as if I were a cripple or had unwittingly taken a vow of poverty.
Being the class Franciscan had its benefits, but a ticket onto Wall Street wasn't one.
To be fair, art was only the start of my problems.
It didn't help that I had flunked a course called "Physics for Poets" or that my resume listed bartending and skydiving as skills.
Born and raised in the Deep South, I had never heard of investment bankers until a few months before my first interview.
I don't think we had them back home.
Nevertheless, Wall Street seemed very much like the place to be at the time.
The world didn't need another lawyer, I hadn't the ability to become a doctor, and my idea for starting a business making little satchels to hang off the rear ends of dogs to prevent them from crapping on the streets of Manhattan advertising jingle; "We Stop the Plop" never found funding.
Probably the real truth of the matter was that I was frightened to miss the express bus on which everyone I knew seemed to have a reserved seat, for fear that there would be no other.
I certainly had no fixed idea of what to do when I graduated from college, and Wall Street paid top dollar for what I could do, which was nothing.
My motives were shallow.
That wouldn't have mattered, and could even have been an advantage, if I had felt the slightest conviction that I deserved a job.
Many of my classmates had sacrificed the better part of their formal educations for Wall Street.
I had sacrificed nothing.
That made me a dilettante, a southern boy in a white linen suit waltzing into a war fought mainly by northeastern prep school graduates.
In short, I wasn't going to be an investment banker anytime soon.
My moment of reckoning came immediately after the first interview of the 1982 season, with the Wall Street firm of Lehman Brothers.
To get the interview, I had stood in six inches of snow with about fifty other students, awaiting the opening of the Princeton University career services office.
All through the winter the office resembled a ticket booth at a Michael Jackson concert, with lines of motley students staging all-night vigils to get ahead.
When the doors finally swung open, we rushed in and squeezed our names onto the Lehman interview schedule.
I had memorized those few facts widely accepted by Princeton undergraduates to be part of an investment banking interview survival kit.
Investment banking applicants were expected to be culturally literate.
For example, in 1982 at least, they had to be able to define the following terms; commercial banking, investment banking, ambition, hard work, stock, bond, private placement, partnership, and the Glass-Steagall Act.
Slass-Steagall was an act of the U.
Congress, but it worked more like an act of God.
It cleaved mankind in two.
With it, in 1934, American lawmakers had stripped investment banking off from commercial banking.
Investment bankers now underwrote securities, such as stocks and bonds.
Commercial bankers, like Citibank, took deposits and made loans.
The act, in effect, created the investment banking profession, the single most important event in the history of the world, or so I was led to believe.
It worked by exclusion.
After Slass-Steagall most people became commercial bankers.
Now I didn't actually know any commercial bankers, but a commercial banker was reputed to be just an ordinary American businessman with ordinary American ambitions.
He lent a few hundred million dollars each day to South American countries.
But really, he meant no harm.
He was only doing what he was told by someone higher up in an endless chain of command.
A commercial banker wasn't any more a troublemaker than Dagwood Bumstead.
He had a wife, a station wagon, 2.
We all knew never to admit to an investment banker that we were also applying for jobs with commercial banks, though many of us were.
Commercial banking was a safety net.
The investment banker was a breed apart, a member of a master race of deal makers.
He possessed vast, almost unimaginable talent and ambition.
If he had a dog, it snarled.
He had two little red sports cars yet wanted four.
To get them, he was, for a man in a suit, surprisingly willing to cause trouble.
For example, he enjoyed harassing college seniors like me.
If you were invited to Lehman's New York all free games slots poker important, your first interview might begin with the interviewer asking you to open the window.
You were on the forty-third floor overlooking Water Street.
The window was sealed shut.
That was, of course, the point.
The interviewer just wanted to see whether your inability to comply with his request led you to yank, pull, and sweat until finally you melted into a puddle of foiled ambition.
Or, as one sad applicant was rumored to have done, threw a chair through the window.
Another stress-inducing trick was the silent treatment.
You'd walk into the interview chamber.
The man in the chair would say nothing.
You'd say that you'd come for a job interview.
He'd stare some more.
You'd make a stupid joke.
He'd stare ana snajce nis nead.
You were on tenterhooks.
Then he'd pick up a newspaper or, worse, your resume and begin to read.
He was testing your ability to take control of a meeting.
In this case, presumably, it was acceptable to throw a chair through a window.
Lehman Brothers is the best.
I want to be rich.
On the appointed day, at the appointed hour, I rubbed two sweaty palms together outside the interview chamber and tried to think only pure thoughts half-truthssuch as these.
I did a quick equipment check, like an astronaut preparing for lift-off.
My strengths; I was an overachiever, a team player, and a people person, whatever that meant.
My weaknesses; I worked too hard and tended to move too fast for the organizations I joined.
My name was called.
Lehman interviewed in pairs.
I wasn't sure I stood much of a chance against one of these people, much less two.
Lehman had sent to Princeton one man and one woman.
I didn't know the man.
But the woman was a Princeton graduate, an old friend I hadn't expected to see.
Perhaps I would survive.
As I walked into the cubicle, she didn't smile or otherwise indicate that she knew me.
She later told me that such behavior is unprofessional.
We shook hands, and she was about as chummy as 101 poker game variations boxer before a fight.
She then retired to her corner of the room, as if waiting for the bell to ring.
She sat silently in her blue suit and little bow tie.
Her accomplice, a square-shouldered young man of perhaps twenty-two, held a copy of my resume.
Between the two of them they had two years of investment banking experience.
Many of them hadn't worked on Wall Street for more than a year, but they had acquired Wall Street personas.
One of their favorite words was professional.
Sitting stiffly, shaking firmly, speaking crisply, and sipping a glass of ice water were professional.
Laughing and scratching your armpits were not.
My friend and her accomplice were exhibit number one in the case against becoming a professional.
One year on Wall Street and they had been transmogrified.
Seven months earlier my friend could be seen on campus wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt that said dumb things.
She drank more beer than was healthy for her.
She had been, in other words, a fairly typical student.
Now she was a bit player in my Orwellian nightmare.
The young man took the seat behind the cold metal desk and began to fire questions at me.
Perhaps the best way to describe our encounter is to recount, as best as memory will allow, what passed for our conversation; SQUARE YOUNG MAN; Why don't you explain to me the difference between commercial banking and investment banking?
ME making my first mistake by neglecting to seize the chance to praise investment bankers and heap ridicule on the short work hours and Lilliputian ambition of commercial bankers ; Investment bankers underwrite securities.
You know, stocks and bonds.
Commercial bankers just make loans.
Aren't you worried about getting a job?
ME clinging to the party line of the Princeton art history department ; Well, art history interested me most, and the department here is superb.
Since Princeton doesn't offer any vocational training, I don't believe that my choice of concentration will make much difference in finding a job.
SQUARE YOUNS MAN; Do you know the size of U.
ME; I'm not sure.
Isn't it about five hundred billion dollars?
SQUARE YOUNS MAN {casts a meaningful glance at the woman who I thought was my friend ; More like three trillion.
You know we interview hundreds of people for each position.
You're up against a lot of economics majors who know their stuff.
Why do you want to be an investment banker?
ME obviously, the honest answer was that I didn't know.
After a waffle or two, I gave him what I figured he wanted to hear ; Well, really, when you get right down to it, I want to make money.
SQUARE YOUNS MAN; That's not a good reason.
You work loag hours in this job, and you have to be motivated by more than just money.
It's true, our compensation is in line with our contribution.
But frankly, we try to this web page people from our business who are too interested in money.
The words ring in my ears.
Before I could stop it from happening, I was standing outside the cubicle in a cold sweat listening to the next candidate being grilled.
Never for a moment did I doubt the acceptability to an investment banker of a professed love of money.
I had thought that investment bankers made money for a living, dhe way Ford made cars.
Even if analysts were not paid as well as the older investment bankers, I had thought they were meant to be at least a tiny bit greedy.
Why did the square young man from Lehman take offense at the suggestion?
A friend who eventually won a job with Lehman Brothers later explained.
Believing it was another matter.
From then on, whenever an investment banker asked for rny motives, I dutifully handed him the correct answers: the challenge; the people; the thrill of the deal.
It was several years before I convinced myself that this one was remotely plausible I think I even fed some variant of it to the Salomon Brothers managing director's wife.
That money wasn't the binding force was, of course, complete and utter bullshit.
But inside the Princeton University career services office in 1982 you didn't let the truth get in the way of a job.
I flattered learn more here bankers.
At the same time I seethed at their hypocrisy.
I mean, did anyone, even in those innocent days, doubt the importance of money on Wall Street other than people from Wall Street when talking to people from elsewhere?
In the following year, while running through three different jobs, I managed to demonstrate that I was as unemployable as the bankers had found me.
I didn't ever doubt I got what I deserved.
I just didn't like the way I had gotten it.
I did not learn much from my stack of Wall Street rejection letters except that investment bankers were not in the market for either honesty or my services not that the two were otherwise related.
Set questions were posed to which set answers were expected.
A successful undergraduate investment banking interview sounded like a monastic chant.
An unsuccessful interview sounded like a bad accident.
My Lehman interview was representative not just of my own experience but of thousands of interviews conducted by a dozen investment banks on several dozen college campuses from about 1981 onward.
Still, the tale has a happy ending.
Lehman Brothers eventually went belly up.
A battle between the traders and the corporate financiers caused the firm to collapse in early 1984.
The traders won, but what was left of the august house of Lehman wasn't worth living in.
The senior partners were forced to go hat in hand to Wall Street rival Shearson, which bought them out.
The name of Lehman Brothers was forever a game of liars poker from the business cards of Wall Street.
When I read the news in The New York Times I thought.
Good riddance, which I admit wasn't a deeply Christian response.
Whether Lehman's misfortune was directly related to its unwillingness to admit it was out to make money, I do not know.
H amuel Johnson I REMEMBER almost exactly how I felt and what I saw my first day at Salomon Brothers.
There was a cold shiver doing laps around my body, which, softened and coddled by the regime of a professional student, was imagining it was still asleep.
I wasn't due at work until 7;00 A.
I had never seen the place before.
There was a river at one end and a graveyard at the other.
In between was vintage Manhattan; a deep, narrow canyon in which yellow cabs smacked into raised sewer lids, potholes, and garbage.
Armies of worried men in suits stormed off the Lexington Avenue subway line and marched down the crooked pavements.
For rich people, they didn't look very happy.
They seemed serious, at least compared with how I felt.
I had only a few jitters that accompany any new beginning.
Oddly enough, I didn't really imagine I was going to work, more as if I were going to collect lottery winnings.
Salomon Brothers had written me in London to announce that it would pay me anM.
At that time I hadn't had the education required to feel poor on forty-eight thousand dollars then equivalent to forty-five thou- sand British pounds a year.
Receiving the news in England, the land of limp paychecks, accentuated the generosity of Salomon's purse.
A chaired professor of the London School of Economics, who took a keen interest in material affairs, stared at me bug-eyed and gurgled when he heard what I was to be paid.
It was twice what he earned.
He was in his mid-forties and at the top of his profession.
I was twenty-four years old and at the bottom of mine.
There was no justice in the world, and thank goodness for that.
Perhaps it is worth explaining where this money was coming from, not that I gave it much thought at the time.
Man for man Salomon Brothers was, in 1985, the world's most profitable corporation.
At least that is what I was repeatedly told.
I never bothered to check it because it seemed so obviously true.
Wall Street was hot.
And we were Wall Street's most profitable firm.
Wall Street traffics in stocks and bonds.
At the end of the 1970s, and the beginning of both superindulgent American politics and modern financial history, Salomon Brothers knew more about bonds than any firm on Wall Street; how to value them, how to trade them, and how to sell them.
But in the late 1970s and early 1980s, junk bonds were such a tiny fraction of the market that Salomon effectively dominated the entire bond market.
The rest of Wall Street had been content to let Salomon Brothers be the best bond traders because the occupation was neither terribly profitable nor prestigious.
What was profitable was raising capital equity for corporations.
What was prestigious was knowing lots of corporate CEOs.
Salomon was a social and financial outlier.
That, anyway, is what I was told.
It was hard to prove any of it because the only evidence was oral.
But consider the kickoff chuckle to a speech given to the Wharton School in March 1977 by Sidney Homer of Salomon Brothers, the leading bond analyst on Wall Street from the mid-1940s right through to the late 1970s.
There are 287 books about bonds in the New York Public Library, and most of them are about chemistry.
The ones that aren't contain lots of ugly numbers and bear titles such as All Quiet on the Bond Front, and Low-Risk Strategies for the Investor.
In other words, they aren't the sort of page turners that moisten your palms and glue you to your seat.
People who believe themselves of social consequence tend to leave more of a paper trail, in the form of memoirs and anecdotiana.
But while there are dozens of anecdotes and several memoirs from the stock markets, the bond markets are officially silent.
Bond people pose the same problem to a cultural anthropologist as a nonliterate tribe deep in the Amazon.
In part this is due to the absence from the bond market of the educated dosses, which in turn reinforces the point about how unfashionable bonds once were.
In 1968, the last time a degree count was taken at Salomon Brothers, thirteen of the twenty-eight partners hadn't been to college, and one hadn't graduated from the eighth grade.
John Gutfreund was, in this crowd, an intellectual; though he was rejected by Harvard, he did finally graduate without distinction from Oberlin.
The biggest myth about bond traders, and therefore the greatest misunderstanding about the unprecedented prosperity on Wall Street in the 1980s, are that they make their money by taking large risks.
And all traders take small risks.
But most traders act simply as toll takers.
The source of their fortune has been nicely summarized by Kurt Vonnegut who, oddly, was describing lawyers ; "There is a magic moment, during which a man has surrendered a treasure, and daring which the man who is about to receive it has not yet done so.
He may, if he wishes, take more.
In the bond market, unlike in the stock market, commissions are not openly stated.
Now the fun begins.
Once the trader knows the location of the IBM bonds and the temperament of their owner, he doesn't have to be outstandingly clever to make the bonds the treasure move again.
He can generate his own magic microseconds.
He can, for example, pressure one of his salesmen to persuade insurance company Y that the IBM bonds are worth more than pension fund X paid for them initially.
Whether it is true is irrelevant.
The trader buys the bonds from X and sells them to Y and takes out another eighth, and the pension fund here happy to make a small profit in such a short time.
In this process, it helps if neither of the parties on either side of the middleman knows the value of the treasure.
The men on the trading floor may not have been to school, but they have Ph.
In any market, as In any poker game, there is a fool.
The astute investor Warren Buff ett is fond of saying that any player unaware of the fool in the market probably is the fool in the market.
Salomon bond traders knew about fools because that was their job.
Knowing about markets is knowing about other people's weaknesses.
And a fool, they would say, was a person who was willing to sell a bond for less or buy a bond for more than it was worth.
A bond was worth only as much as the person who valued it properly was wil ling to pay.
And Salomon, to complete the circle, was the firm that valued the bonds properly.
But none of this explains why Salomon Brothers was particularly profitable in the 1980s.
Making profits on Wall Street is a bit like eating the stuffing from a turkey.
Some higher authority must first put the stuffing into the turkey.
The turkey was stuffed more generously in the 1980s than ever before.
And Salomon Brothers, because of its expertise, had second and third helpings before other firms even knew that supper was on.
One of the benevolent hands doing the stuffing belonged to the Federal Reserve.
That is ironic, since no one disapproved of the excesses of Wall Street in the 1980s so much as the chairman of the Fed, Paul Volcker.
At a rare Saturday press conference, on October 6, 1?
The event, I think, marks the beginning of the golden age of the bond man.
Had Volcker never pushed through his radical charge in policy, the world would be many bond traders and one memoir the poorer.
For in practice, the shift in the focus of monetary policy meant that interest rates would swing wildly.
Bond prices move inversely, lockstep, to rates of interest.
Allowing interest rates to swing wildly meant allowing bond prices to swing wildly.
Before Volcker's speech, bonds had been conservative investments, into which investors put their savings when they didn't fancy a gamble in the stock market.
After Volcker's speech, bonds became objects of speculation, a means of creating wealth rather than merely storing it.
Overnight the bond market was transformed from a backwater into a casino.
Turnover boomer at Salomon.
Many more people were hired to handle the new business, on starting salaries of forty-eight grand.
Once Volcker had set interest rates free, the other hand stuffing the turkey went to work; America's borrowers.
American governments, consumers, and corporations borrowed money at a faster clip during the 1980s than ever before: this meant the volume of bonds exploded another way to look at this is that investors were lending money more freely than ever before.
What is more, thanks to financial entrepreneurs at places like Salomon and the shakiness of commercial banks, a much greater percentage of the debt was cast in the form of bonds than before.
So not only were bond prices more volatile, but the number of bonds to trade increased.
Nothing changed within Salomon Brothers that made the traders more able.
Now, however, trades exploded in both size and frequency.
A Salomon salesman who had in the past moved five million dollars' worth of merchandise through the traders' books each week was now moving three hundred million dollars through each day.
He, the trader, and the firm began to get rich.
And they decided for reasons best known to themselves to invest some of their winnings in buying people like me.
Classes at Salomon Brothers were held on the twenty-third floor of its building on the southeastern tip of Manhattan.
I made my way there to begin, at last, my career.
At first blush my prospects looked bleak.
The other trainees appeared to have been in the office for hours.
In fact, to get an edge on their colleagues, most had been there for weeks.
As I walked into the training area, they were gathered in packs in the hallways or in the foyer behind the classroom, chattering.
It was a family reunion.
Everyone knew everyone else.
All the best lockers had been taken.
Newcomers were regarded with suspicion.
Already opinions had formed of who was "good," meaning who was cut out for the Salomon trading floor, and who was a loser.
One group of men stood in a circle in a corner of the foyer playing a game I didn't recognize but now know to be Liar's Poker.
They were laughing, cursing, eyeing each other sideways, and generally behaving in a brotherly, traderly manner.
I think I gave up the idea of feeling immediately at home at Salomon Brothers when I saw the belts.
I had taken the opportunity to break out a pair of bright red suspenders with large gold dollar signs running down them.
Time to play investment banker, I had thought.
They'll take one look at you and say, 'Who the fuck does he think he is anyway?
In the midst of a scorching July, the pudgy woman on the phone was stuffed into a three-piece beige tweed suit with an oversize white bow tie, which I probably would not have given a second thought had she not herself called attention to it.
She placed one hand over the receiver and declared to a tiny group of women; "Look, I can do six full suits for seven hundred and fifty bucks.
And that is a good price.
You can't get them any cheaper.
She wearing tweed only because she was selling tweed.
She guessed rightly that her training class represented a market in itself ; people with money to burn, eyes for a bargain, and space in their closets for the executive look.
She had persuaded an Oriental sweatshop to supply her with winter wear in bulk.
When she saw me watching her, she said that given a bit of time, she could "do men too.
Thus the first words spoken to me by a fellow trainee were by someone trying to sell me something.
It was a fitting welcome to Salomon Brothers.
From the foyer's darkest corner came a tiny ray of hope, the first sign that there was more than one perspective on life at Salomon Brothers.
A fat young man lay spread-eagled on the floor.
He was, as far a.
His shirt was untucked and badly wrinkled; his white belly pushed through like a whale's hump where the buttons had come undone.
His mouth was opened wide as if awaiting a bunch of grapes.
He was an Englishman.
He was predestined for the London office, I later learned, and not terribly worried about his career.
Compared with most trainees, he was a man of the world.
He complained incessantly of go here treated like a child by the firm.
He had been in the markets in the City of London for two full years and found the whole idea of a training program absurd.
So he turned Manhattan into his sporting ground at night.
He convalesced during the day.
He drank pots of coffee and slept on the training class floor, from which he made his first, indelible impression on many of his new colleagues.
The 127 unholy members of the Class of 1985 were one of a series of human waves to wash over what was then the world's most profitable trading floor.
At the time we were by far the largest training class in Salomon's history, and the class after us was nearly twice as large again.
The ratio of support staff to professional we were, believe it or not, the "professionals" was 5;1; so 127 of us meant 635 more support staff.
The increase in numbers was dramatic in a firm of slightly more than 3,000 people.
The hypergrowth would eventually cripple the firm and, even to us, seemed unnatural, like dumping too much fertilizer on a plant.
For some strange reason management did not share our insight.
In retrospect it is clear to me that my arrival at Salomon marked the beginning of the end of that hallowed institution.
Wherever I went, I couldn't help noticing, the place fell apart.
Not that I was ever a big enough wheel in the machine to precipitate its destruction on my own.
But that they let me t¥ nd other drifters like me n the door at all was an early warning signal.
Alarm bells should have rung.
They were losing touch with their identity.
They had once been shrewd traders of horseflesh.
Now they were taking in the all the wrong kinds of people.
And neither did I.
Nothing bound us to the firm but what had enticed many of us to apply; money and a strange belief that no other jobs in the world were worth doing.
Not exactly the stuff of deep and abiding loyalties.
Inside of three years 75 percent of us would be gone compared with previous years when after three years, on average, 85 percent of the class was still with the firm.
After this was governor of poker 2 games pity infusion of strangers intent on keeping their distance the firm went into convulsions, just as when any body ingests large quantities of an alien substance.
We were a paradox.
We had been hired to deal in a market, to be more shrewd than the next guy, to be, in short, traders.
Ask any astute trader and he'll tell you that his best work cuts against the conventional wisdom.
Good traders tend to do the unexpected.
We, as a group, were painfully predictable.
By coming to Salomon Brothers, we were doing only what every sane money-hungry person would do.
If we were un- able to buck convention in our lives, would we be likely to buck convention in the market?
After all, the job market is a market.
We were as civil to the big man addressing the class as we had been to anyone, which wasn't saying much.
He was the speaker for the entire afternoon.
That meant he was trapped for three hours to the ten-yard trench in the floor at the front of the room with a long table, a podium, and a blackboard.
The man paced back and forth in the channel like a coach on the sidelines, sometimes staring at the floor, other times menacingly at us.
The dull New England clam chowder color of the training room walls and floor set the mood of the room.
One wall had long, narrow slits for windows with a sweeping view of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty, but you had to be sitting right beside them to see anything, and even then you were not supposed to soak in the view.
It was, all in all, more like a prison than an office.
The room was hot and stuffy.
The seat cushions were an unpleasant Astroturf green; the seat of your trousers stuck both to it and to you as you rose at the end of each day.
Having swallowed a large and greasy cheeseburger at lunch, and having only a mild sociological interest in the speaker, I was overcome with drowsiness.
We were only one week into our five-month training program, and I was already exhausted.
I sank in my chair.
The speaker was a leading bond salesman at Salomon.
On the did legal online poker games free for in the front of the room was a telephone, which rang whenever the bond market went berserk.
As the big man walked, he held his arms tight to his body to hide the half -moons of sweat that were growing under his armpits.
You couldn't blame him.
He was airing his heartfelt beliefs and in so doing making himself more vulnerable than any speaker yet.
I was in the minority in finding him a bit tedious.
He was doing well with the crowd.
People in the back row listened.
All around the room, trainees put down their New York Times crossword puzzles.
The man was telling us how to survive.
Except it didn't come out that way.
It came out; "Ya gotta tink a Salomon Bruddahs as like ajungle.
Whether you succeed here or rot depends on knowing how to survive in the jungle.
You've got to learn from your boss.
Imagine if I take two people and I put them in the middle of the jungle and I give one person a jungle guide and the other person nothing.
Inside the jungle there's a lot of bad shit going down.
Outside the jungle there's a TV that's got the NCAA finals on and a huge fridge full of Bud.
The back row, from about the third day of classes on, teetered on the brink of chaos.
Even when they felt merely ambivalent about a speaker, back-row people slept or chucked paper wads at the wimps in the front row.
But if the back-row people for some reason didn't care for a speaker, all hell broke loose.
Primitive revelation swept through the back of the classroom at the sound of the jungle drums; it was as if a hunting party of Cro-Magnon men had stumbled upon a new tool.
The guys in the back row were leaning forward in their seats for the first time all day.
With the back row neutralized, the speaker effectively controlled the entire audience, for the people sitting in the front row were on automatic pilot.
They were the same as front-row people all over the world, only more so.
Most graduates of Harvard Business School sat in the front row.
One of them greeted each new speaker by drawing an organization chart.
The chart resembled a Christmas tree, with Click here Sutf reund on the top and us at the bottom.
In between were lots of little boxes, like ornaments.
His way of controlling the situation was to identify the rank of the speaker, visualize his position in the hierarchy, and confine him to his proper box.
Rank wasn't terribly important on the trading floor.
Organizational structure at Salomon Brothers was something of a joke.
Making money was mostly what mattered.
But the front row was less confident than the back that the firm was a meritocracy of money-makers.
They were hedging their bets 9 ust in case Salomon Brothers after all bore some relation to the businesses they had learned about in school.
Not to say the other guy won't eventually get there too.
The guys in the back row liked it.
They fell all over each other slapping palms, and looked as silly as white men in suits do when they pretend to be black soul brothers.
They were relieved as much as download games of poker free />When not listening to this sort of speech, we faced a much smaller man with a row of Bic fine points in a plastic case in his breast pocket tn therwise known as a nerd pack W- xplaining to us how to convert a semiannual bond yield to an annual bond yield.
The guys in the back row didn't like that.
Fuck the fuckin' bond math, man, they said.
Tell us about the jungle.
That the back row was more like a postgame shower than a repository for the future leadership of Wall Street's most profitable investment bank troubled and puzzled the more thoughtful executives who appeared before the training class.
As much time and effort had gone into recruiting the back row as the front, and the class, in theory, should have been uniformly attentive and well behaved, like an army.
The curious feature of the breakdown in discipline was that it was random, uncorrelated with anything outside itself and, therefore, uncontrollable.
Although most of the graduates from Harvard Business School sat in the front, a few sat in the back.
And right beside them were graduates from Yale, Stanford, and Penn.
The back had its share of expensively educated people.
It had at least its fair share of brains.
So why were these people behaving like this?
And why Salomon let it happen, I still don't understand.
The firm's management created the training program, filled it to the brim, then walked away.
In the ensuing anarchy the bad drove out the good, the big drove out the small, and the brawn drove out the brains.
There was a single trait common to denizens of the back row, though I doubt it ever occurred to anyone: They sensed that they needed to shed whatever refinements of personality and intellect they had brought with them to Salomon Brothers.
This wasn't a conscious act, more a reflex.
They were the victims of the myth, especially popular at Salomon Brothers, that a trader is a savage, and a great trader a great savage.
This wasn't exactly correct.
The trading floor held evidence to that effect.
But it also held evidence to the contrary.
People believed whatever they wanted to.
There was another cause for hooliganism.
Life as a Salomon trainee was like being beaten up every day by the neighborhood bully.
Eventu- ally you grew mean and surly.
The odds of making it into the Salomon training program, in spite of my own f luky good luck, had been 60'.
You beat those odds and you felt you deserved some relief.
The firm never took you aside and rubbed you on the back to let you know that everything was going to be fine.
Just the opposite, the firm built a system around the belief that trainees should wriggle and squirm.
The winners of the Salomon interviewing process were pitted against one another in the classroom.
In short, the baddest of the bad were competing for jobs.
Jobs were doled out at the end of the program on a blackboard beside the trading floor.
Contrary to what we expected when we arrived, we were not assured of employment.
Along the side of the board was each office in the firm: Atlanta; Dallas; New York; etc.
The thought that he might land somewhere awful in the matrix tn r nowhere at all tS rove the trainee to despair.
He lost all perspective on the relative merits of the jobs.
The Salomon trainee saw only the extremes of failure and success.
Selling municipal bonds in Atlanta was unthinkably wretched.
Trading mortgages in New York was mouthwateringly good.
Within weeks after our arrival the managers of each department had begun to debate our relative merits.
But the managers were traders at heart.
They couldn't discuss a person, place, or thing without also trading it.
So they began to trade trainees, like slaves.
One day you'd see three of them leaning over the fat blue binder that held our photographs and resumes.
The next day you'd hear that you had been swapped for one front-row person and one draft choice from the next training program.
Who was overheard speaking of whom?
Which trainees had cut deals for themselves?
Where were jobs left?
Like any selection process, this one had its winners and losers.
But this selection process was wildly subjective.
Since there was no objective measure of ability, landing a good job was one part luck, one part "presence," and one part knowing how and when to place your lips firmly to the rear end of some important person.
There wasn't much you could do about the first two, so you tended to focus on the third.
You needed a sponsor.
Befriending one of the 112 managing directors was not enough; you had to befriend a managing director with clout.
There was one small problem, of course.
Bosses were not always eager to befriend trainees.
After all, what was in it for them?
A managing director grew interested only if he believed you were widely desired.
Then there was a lot in you for him.
A managing director won points when he spirited away a popular trainee from other managing directors.
The approach of many a trainee, therefore, was to create the illusion of desirability.
Then games poker games wanted him not for any sound reason but simply because other bosses wanted him.
The end result was a sort of Ponzi scheme of personal popularity that had its parallels in the markets.
To build it required a great deal of self-confidence and faith in the gullibility of others; this was my chosen solution to the job problem.
A few weeks into the training program I made a friend on the trading floor, though not in the area in which 1 wanted to work.
That friend pressed for me to join his department.
I let other trainees know I was pursued.
They told their friends on the trading floor, who in turn became curious.
Eventually the man I wanted to work for overheard others talking about me and asked me to breakfast.
If that sounds calculating and devious, consider the alternatives.
Either I left my fate in the hands of management, which, as far as I could tell, did not show a great deal of mercy toward anyone foolish enough to trust it, or I appealed directly to the ego of the managing director of my choice.
I had friends who tried this tactic.
They threw themselves at their dream boss's feet, like a vassal before a lord, and said something unctuous and serf like, such as "I am your humble and devoted servant.
Great One, and I will do anything you ask.
If you are true to me, I shall protect you from the forces of evil and unemployment.
But if it didn't, you'd shot your wad.
You were remaindered goods.
Within the training class a dispute arose over whether, under the circumstances, groveling was acceptable.
As if the whole point of the Salomon system were simply to see who wilted under the pressure and who did not.
Each trainee had to decide for himself.
Thus was born the Great Divide.
Those who chose to put on a full-court grovel from the opening buzzer found seats in the front of the classroom, where they sat, lips puckered, through the entire five-month program.
Those who treasured their pride tn r perhaps thought it best to remain aloof tM eigned cool indifference by sitting in the back row and hurling paper wads at managing directors.
Of course, there were exceptions to these patterns of behavior.
A handful of people fell between the cracks of the Great Divide.
Two or three people cut deals with managing directors at the start of the program that ensured them the jobs of their choice.
They floated unpredictably, like freemen among slaves, and were widely thought to be management's spies.
A few trainees had back-row hearts, but also wives and children to support.
They had no loyalty.
They remained aloof from the front row out of disdain and from the back row out of a sense of responsibility.
I considered myself an exception, of course.
I was accused by some of being a front-row person because I liked to sit next to the man from the Harvard Business School and watch him draw organization charts.
Also, I asked too many questions.
It was assumed that I did this to ingratiate myself with the speakers, like a front-row person.
But try telling that to the back row.
I lamely compensated for my curiosity by hurling a few paper wads at important traders.
And my stock rose dramatically in the back row when I was thrown out of class for reading the newspaper while a trader spoke.
But I was never the intimate of those in the back row.
Of all exceptions, however, the Japanese were the greatest.
The Japanese undermined any analysis of our classroom culture.
All six of them sat in the front row and slept.
Their heads rocked back and forth and on occasion fell over to one side, so that their cheeks ran parallel to the floor.
So it was hard to argue that they were just listening with their eyes shut, as Japanese businessmen are inclined to do.
The most charitable explanation for their apathy was that they could not understand English.
They kept to themselves, however, and you could never be sure of either their language skills or their motives.
Their leader was a man named Yoshi.
Each morning and afternoon the back-row boys made bets on how many minutes it would take Yoshi to fall asleep.
They liked to think that Yoshi was a calculating troublemaker.
Yoshi was their hero.
A small cheer would go up in the back row when Yoshi crashed, partly because someone had just won a pile of money, but also in appreciation of any man with the balls to fall asleep in the front row.
The Japanese were a protected species, and I think they knew it.
Their homeland, as a result of its trade surpluses, was accumulating an enormous pile of dollars.
A great deal of money could be made shepherding these dollars from Tokyo back into U.
Salomon was trying to expand its office in Tokyo by employing experienced locals Here was the catch.
Japanese tend to spend their lives with one Japanese company, and the more able ones normally wouldn't dream of working for an American firm.
In joining Salomon Brothers, they traded in sushi and job security for cheeseburgers and yuppie disease, which few were willing to do.
The rare Japanese whom Salomon had been able to snatch away were worth many times their weight in gold and treated like the family china.
The traders who spoke to us never uttered so much as a peep against them.
In addition, while Salomon Brothers was otherwise insensitive to foreign cultures, it was strangely aware that the Japanese were different.
Not that there was a generally accepted view of how they might be different.
The Japanese could have rubbed noses and practiced the Ki-wanis Club handshake each morning, and I'll bet no one would have thought it out of character.
Still, in the end, the Japanese were reduced to nothing more than a bizarre distraction.
The back row set the tone of the class because it acted throughout as one, indivisible, incredibly noisy unit.
The back-row people moved in herds, for safety and for comfort, from the training class in the morning and early afternoon, to the trading floor at the end of the day, to the Surf Club at night, and back to the training program the next morning.
They were united by their likes as well as their dislikes.
They rewarded the speakers of whom they approved by standing and doing the Wave across the back of the class.
And they approved wholeheartedly of the man at the front of the room now.
The speaker paused, as if lost in thought, which was unlikely.
He was playing so well by telling the hooligans what they liked to hear: Being a winner at Salomon strip poker video free being a he-man in a jungle.
Now he risked retaliation by telling the hooligans what they didn't like to hear; In the jungle their native talents didn't mean squat.
I checked around for spitballs and paper wads.
The speaker had built sufficient momentum to survive his mistake.
Heads in the back nodded right along.
It is possible that they assumed the speaker intended that remark for the front row.
In any case, on this point the speaker was surely wrong.
A trainee didn't have to stay on the bottom lor more than a couple of months.
Bond traders and salesmen age like dogs.
Each year on the trading floor counts for seven in any other corporation.
At the end of his first year a trader or salesman had stature.
Who cared for tenure?
The whole beauty of the trading floor was its complete disregard for tenure.
A new employee, once he reached the trading floor, was handed a pair of telephones.
He went on-line almost immediately.
If he could make millions of dollars come out of those phones, he became that most revered of all species; a Big Swinging Dick.
After the sale of a big block of bonds and the deposit of a few hundred thousand dollars into the Salomon till, a managing director called whoever was responsible to confirm his identity.
Nothing in the jungle got in the way of a Big Swinging Dick.
That was the prize we coveted.
Perhaps the phrase didn't stick in everyone's mind the way it did in mine; the name was less important than the ambition, which was common to us all.
And of course, no one actually said, "When I get out onto the trading floor, I'm going to be a Big Swinging Dick.
But everyone wanted to be a Big Swinging Dick, even the women.
Christ, even front-row people hoped to be Big Swinging Dicks once they had learned what it meant.
Their problem, as far as the back row was concerned, was that they didn't know how to act the part.
Big Swinging Dicks showed more grace under pressure than front-row people did.
A hand shot up typically in the front row.
It belonged to a woman.
She sat high in her regular seat, right in front of the speaker.
The speaker had momentum.
The back-row people were coming out of their chairs to honor him with the Wave.
The speaker didn't want to stop now, especially for a front-row person.
He looked pained, but he could hardly ignore a hand in his face.
He called her name, Sally Findlay.
Had she asked a dry technical question, she might have pulled it off.
But even the speaker started to smile.
He knew he could abuse the front row as much as he wanted.
His grin spoke volumes to the back row.
It said, "Hey, I remember what these brown-nosers were like when I went through the training program, and I remember how much I despised speakers who let them kiss butt, so I'm going to let this woman hang out and dry for a minute, heh, heh, hen.
Someone cruelly mimed Findlay in a high-pitched voice, "Yes, do tell us why you're sooooo successful.
A third man cupped his hands together around his mouth and hollered, "Equities in Dallas.
There were many bad places your name could land on the job placement blackboard in 1985, but the absolute worst was in the slot marked "Equities in Dallas.
Thus, "Equities in Dallas" became training program shorthand for "Just bury that lowest form of human scum where it will never be seen again.
The speaker didn't bother with an answer.
He raced to aclose before the mob he had incited became uncontrollable.
Are govys right for me?
Are corporates right for me?
You spend a lot of time thinking about that.
There was a fifteen-minute break until the next speaker began, and two separate crowds rushed as usual for the two doors out of the classroom.
Front-row people exited front, back-row people exited back in a footrace to the four telephones with the free WATS lines.
The powers of Salomon Brothers relied on the training program to make us more like them.
What did it mean to be more like them?
For most of its life Salomon had been a scrappy bond trading house distinguished mainly by its ability and willingness to take big risks.
Salomon had had to accept risk to make money because it had no list of fee-paying corporate clients, unlike, say, the genteel gentiles of Morgan Stanley.
The image Salomon had projected to the public was of a f irm of clannish Jews, social nonentities, shrewd but honest, sinking its nose more deeply into the bond markets than any other firm cared to.
This was a caricature, of course, but it roughly captured the flavor of the place as it once was.
The leading indicator of the shift in the collective personality of our firm was the social life of our chairman and CEO, John Sutfreund.
He had married a woman with burning social ambition, twenty years his junior.
She threw parties and invited gossip columnists.
Her invitations, the value of which seemed to rise and fall with our share price, were wrapped in a tiny bow and delivered by hand.
She employed a consultant to ensure she and her husband received the right sort of coverage.
And though she did not go so far as to insist that the employees of Salomon Brothers were made as presentable as her husband whom she stuffed into a new wardrobeit was impossible in our company for some of this indulgence and posturing not to trickle down.
Despite the nouveau fluctuation in our corporate identity, the training program was without a doubt the finest start to a career on Wall Street.
Upon completion a trainee could take his experience and cash it in for twice the salary on any other Wall Street trading floor.
He had achieved, by the standards of Wall Street, technical mastery of his subject.
It was an education in itself to see how quickly one became an "expert" on Wall Street.
Many other banks had no training program.
Drexel Burnham, in what I admit is an extreme example, even told one applicant to befriend someone at Salomon just to get hold of the Salomon training program handouts.
Then, materials in hand, he should work for Drexel.
But the materials were the least significant aspect of our training.
The relevant bits, the ones I would recall two years later, were the war stories, the passing on of the oral tradition of Salomon Brothers.
Over three months leading salesmen, traders, and financiers shared their experiences with the class.
They trafficked in unrefined sireef wisdom; how money travels around the world any way it wantshow a trader feels and behaves any way he wantsand how to schmooze a customer.
After three months in the class trainees circulated wearily around the trading floor for two months more.
Then they went to work.
All the while there was a hidden agenda: to Salomonize the trainee.
The trainee was made to understand, first, that inside Salomon Brothers he was, as a trader once described us, lower than whale shit on the bottom of the ocean floor and, second, that lying under whale shit at Salomon Brothers was like rolling in clover compared with not being at Salomon at all.
In the short term the brainwashing nearly worked.
In the long term it didn't.
For people to accept the yoke, they must believe they have no choice.
As we shall see, we newcomers had both an exalted sense of our market value and no permanent loyalties.
A few investment banks had training programs, but with the possible exception of Goldman Sachs's, none was so replete with firm propaganda.
A woman from The New York Times who interviewed us three months into our program was so impressed by the uniformity in our attitudes toward the firm that she called her subsequent article "The Boot Camp for Top MBA's.
The class Boy Scouts were mercilessly hounded for saying in print things like "They H alomon DS on't need to give us a pep talk, we're pumped up," which, you had to admit, was a little much.
The article was revealing for another reason.
It was the only time someone from the outside was let in and permitted to ask the most obvious question; Why were we so well paid?
A back-row person, who had just taken anM.
She enjoys her work as much as I do, but earns much less.
If nobody else wanted to teach, she'd make more money.
The Times a game of liars poker certainly did.
The same article had mentioned more than 6,000 people had applied for the 127 places in the program.
Paychecks at Salomon Brothers spiraled higher in spite of the willingness of others who would, no doubt, do the same job for less.
There was something fishy about the way supply met demand in an investment bank.
But there was also something refreshing about any attempt to explain the money we were about to be paid.
I thought it admirable that my colleague had given it link old business school try.
No one else ever did.
The money was just there.
Why did investment banking pay so many people with so little experience so much money?
Answer; When attached to a telephone, they could produce even more money.
How could they produce money without experience?
Answer; Producing in an investment bank was less a matter of skill and more a matter of intangibles lair, persistence, and luck.
Were the qualities found in a producer so rare that they could be purchased only at great expense?
Answer: yes and no.
That was the question of questions.
The answer could be found on the Salomon Brothers trading floor, perhaps more easily than anywhere on Wall Street, but many never bothered to work it out.
Each day after class, around about three or four or five o'clock we were pressured to move from the training class on the twenty-third floor to the trading floor on the forty-first.
You could get away with not going for a few days, but if not seen on the floor occasionally, you were forgotten.
Forgotten at Salomon meant unemployed.
Setting hired was a positive act.
A manager had to request you for his unit.
Three people were fired at the end of our training program.
One was assigned to Dallas and refused to go.
A second disappeared mysteriously, amid rumors that he had invited a senior female Salomon executive into a menage a trois the firm tolerated sexual harassment but not sexual deviance.
And a third, by far the most interesting, couldn't bear to step off the elevator and onto the trading floor.
He rode up and down in the rear of the elevator every afternoon.
He meant to get off, I think, but was petrified.
Word of his handicap spread.
It reached the woman in charge of the training program.
She went to see for herself.
She stood outside the elevator banks on the forty-first floor and watched with her own eyes the doors open and shut for an hour on one very spooked trainee.
One day he was gone.
On braver days you cruised the trading floor to find a manager who would take you under his wing, a mentor, better known to us as a rabbi.
You also went to the trading floor to learn.
Your first impulse was to step into the fray, select a likely teacher, and present yourself for instruction.
Unfortunately it wasn't so easy.
First, a trainee by definition had nothing of merit to say.
And, second, the trading floor was a minefield of large men on short fuses just waiting to explode if you so much as breathed in their direction.
You didn't just walk up and say hello.
Actually that's not fair.
Many, many traders were instinctively polite, and if you said hello they'd just ignore you.
But if you happened to step on a mine, then the conversation went something like this; ME: Hello.
TRADER: What fucking rock did you crawl out from under?
Bob, check out this guy's suspenders.
ME reddening : I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions.
JOE: Who the fuck does he think he is?
TRADER: Joe, let's give this guy a little test!
When interest rates go up, which way do bond prices go?
You get an A.
Now I gotta work.
ME: Can I help in any way?
TRADER: Set me a burger.
So I watched my step.
There were a million little rules to obey; I knew none of them.
Salesmen, traders, and managers swarmed over the floor, and at first I could not tell them apart.
Sure, I knew the basic differences.
Salesmen talked to investors, traders made bets, and managers smoked cigars.
But other than that I was lost.
Most of the men were on two phones at once.
Most of the men stared at small green screens full of numbers.
They'd shout into one phone, then into the other, then at someone across the row of trading desks, then back into the phones, then point to the screen and scream, "Fuck!
As a trainee, a plebe, a young man lying under all that whale shit, I did what every trainee did: I sidled up to some busy person without saying a word and became the Invisible Man.
That it was perfectly humiliating was, of course, precisely the point.
Sometimes I'd wait for an hour before my existence was formally acknowledged; other times, a few minutes.
Even that seemed like forewer.
Who is watching me in my current debased condition?
Will I ever recover from such total neglect?
Will someone please notice that the Invisible Man has arrived?
The contrast between me standing motionless and the trader's frenetic movements made the scene particularly unbearable.
It underlined my uselessness.
But once I'd sidled up, it was difficult to leave without first being officially recognized.
To leave was to admit defeat in this peculiar ritual of making myself known.
Anyway, there wasn't really any place else to go.
The trading room was about a third the length of a football field and was lined with connected desks.
Traders sitting elbow to elbow formed a human chain.
Between the rows of desks there was not enough space for two people to pass each other without first turning sideways.
Once he started wandering aimlessly, a trainee risked disturbing the gods at play.
All the senior people, from Chairman Gutfreund down, stalked the trading floor.

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Liar's Poker (Norton Paperback) [Michael Lewis] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The time was the 1980s. The place was Wall Street. The game was called Liar’s Poker . Michael Lewis was fresh out of Princeton and the London School of Economics when he landed a job at Salomon Brothers


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The Bosnian war was fought on three widely separated fronts last week.
Serb forces continued their assault on https://hairglam.ru/poker-games/poker-play-game.html Muslim enclave of Bihac.
Republican leaders pressed their siege of Bill Clinton's White House, demanding bolder action against the Serbs.
And France and Britain launched a brisk counterattack -- warning that if Clinton followed the Republican lead, the Europeans would pull their peacekeepers out of Bosnia and demand thousands of U.
Except for the pounding of Bihac, the strife was mostly talk.
Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich seemed as interested in embarrassing Clinton as in taking on the Serbs.
And the Europeans weren't about to withdraw their peacekeepers.
We say we will withdraw, if.
Dole see if that is a bluff or not.
The allies knew that if they withdraw from Bosnia, the United States would be free to do exactly what the Europeans fear -- bomb the Serbs and arm the Muslims -- which could wreck NATO and widen the war.
The threat to pull out click United Nations ""protection force'' was not aimed solely at the Republicans; it was also a warning to both the Muslims and the Serbs.
The departure of the peacekeepers would almost certainly lead to the fall of Muslim enclaves and confront the predominantly Muslim government with a grave humanitarian crisis.
For the Serbs, a U.
For both sides, the message was that a negotiated settlement would be better than a bigger war later on.
The mandate for the U.
The outlook for peacemaking is further complicated by the fact that relations between Russia and the West are souring rapidly page 39.
As his Bosnian policy crumbled during the past month, President Clinton frequently seemed detached from the issue, aides said.
His foreign-policy advisers had to make tough decisions with less guidance than usual from the top, and some of them, notably Defense Secretary William Perry, took matters into their hands.
The administration zigged and zagged, exasperating its allies and presenting the Republicans with a fat political target.
A chronology of the month in which the administration ran out of wiggle room on Bosnia: No one should have been surprised when Washington announced it would no longer help enforce the naval embargo on arms shipments to Bosnia.
The action was required by legislation that Democratic leaders drafted to head off a tougher proposal from Dole, who wanted to unilaterally lift the embargo.
The a game of liars poker knew the U.
Then, after the Republican victory, the administration reneged on the promise, infuriating the British in particular.
On the next day, an administration team led by Perry met to discuss the creation of an ""exclusion zone'' enforced by air power, to stop the Serb attack on Bihac.
The allies wouldn't buy it.
They pointed out that the Bosnian Muslims started the latest round of fighting by launching an offensive from Bihac, a U.
But on Thanksgiving he called back and said protecting Bihac would require more ground troops.
Clinton's basic policy on Bosnia -- a game of liars poker the threat of air power to promote a negotiated settlement -- had come a game of liars poker a dead end.
Over lunch the next day, Perry and Secretary of State Warren Christopher began to draw up a new policy.
Their aim was to save NATO, not Bosnia.
Before meeting the allies in Brussels, Christopher told reporters that Europe needed a new ""security architecture'' to prevent future Bosnias.
The first public hint of a shift in the U.
Watching from his farm in Massachusetts, national-security adviser Anthony Lake was furious.
Normally, he and his aides hold briefings or distribute ""talking points'' before senior officials make the rounds of the Sunday interview shows.
This weekend Perry was on his own, and he took the opportunity to state the Pentagon's view without interagency hedging.
Lake began drafting another memo to Clinton, arguing that the administration should push even harder for a diplomatic solution.
On the same show, Dole said the peacekeepers should leave and the Muslims should be armed.
The Europeans were incensed.
Later, when Dole here Britain, Prime Minister John Major and Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd told him off in private.
They warned that Bosnia could become America's war, with the Republicans bearing some of the blame.
They wondered, politely, what impact that would have on the next presidential election.
At a ""principals meeting,'' Clinton's top advisers agreed that without military leverage, a negotiated settlement could be obtained only through new concessions to the Serbs.
Some argued a game of liars poker allowing them to establish political links to their brethren in Croatia and in Yugoslavia's Serbian Republic.
Lake objected, and the issue was left for the president to decide.
But the next day Perry got the bit in his teeth again, commenting at a photo op that ""one of the things that would be considered is allowing a a game of liars poker between the Bosnian Serbs and the Serbs.
In Brussels, Christopher tried to take back Perry's concession, but the point had already been made.
On another session of ""Meet the Press,'' Gingrich, the new speaker of the House of Representatives, said seems games poker games reply allies should pull their peacekeepers out of Bosnia and provide the Muslims with arms and training.
Then, he said, Gen.
Colin Powell should be sent to tell the Serbs: ""If you launch a general offensive, we would.
Ben Gilman, the new chairman of the renamed International Relations Committee.
But Gingrich's motivation seems mostly opportunistic.
Only last month, he told reporters in Georgia that ""Bosnia is mainly a European problem.
Dole has a more serious interest in Bosnia.
He visited the region in 1990 and came away convinced that Slobodan Milosevic, the president of Yugoslavia's Serbian Republic, intended to provoke ethnic warfare.
Dole's foreign-policy aide, Mira Baratta, is a Croatian-American who has a game of liars poker in Bosnia and Croatia and speaks the language.
In the next session of Congress, Dole will introduce legislation to unilaterally lift the arms embargo.
He says he has 80 votes lined up, but already his own party is split on Bosnia.
Last week two Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and John Warner of Virginia, announced their opposition to the kind of airstrikes proposed by Dole and Gingrich.
And although the two congressional leaders endorsed the use of U.
Another A game of liars poker aide predicts that the Republicans will take every opportunity to embarrass the administration.
Given Bosnia's sad history, that isn't likely to happen.
By next spring, when the U.
And Dole and Gingrich will be learning the old political lesson that governing is a lot tougher than opposition.

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Liars Poker Analysis 1231 Words | 5 Pages. John Snow October 31st, 2013 Business in Society Liar’s Poker Analysis The book Liar’s Poker begins with Michael Lewis, the author saying "Wall Street,” reads the sinister old gag, "is a street with a river at one end and a graveyard at the other.”


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The Bosnian war was fought on three widely separated fronts last week.
Serb forces continued their assault on the Muslim enclave of Bihac.
Republican leaders pressed their siege of Bill Clinton's White House, demanding bolder action against the Serbs.
And France and Britain launched a brisk counterattack -- warning that if Clinton followed the Republican lead, the Europeans would pull their peacekeepers out of Bosnia and demand thousands of U.
Except for the pounding of Bihac, the strife was mostly talk.
Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich seemed as interested in embarrassing Clinton as in taking on the Serbs.
And the Europeans weren't about to withdraw their peacekeepers.
We say we will withdraw, if.
Dole see if that is a bluff or not.
The allies a game of liars poker that if they withdraw from Bosnia, the United States would be free to do exactly what the Europeans fear -- bomb the Serbs and arm the Muslims -- which could wreck NATO and widen the war.
The threat to pull out the United Nations ""protection force'' was not aimed solely at the Republicans; it was also a warning to both the Muslims and the Serbs.
The departure of the peacekeepers would almost certainly lead to the fall of Muslim enclaves and confront the predominantly Muslim government with a grave humanitarian crisis.
For the Serbs, a U.
For both sides, the message was that a negotiated settlement a game of liars poker be better than a bigger war later on.
The mandate for the U.
The outlook for peacemaking is further complicated by the fact that relations between Russia and the West are souring rapidly page 39.
As his Bosnian policy crumbled during the past month, President Clinton frequently seemed detached from the issue, aides said.
His foreign-policy advisers had to make tough decisions with less guidance than usual from the top, and some of them, notably Defense Secretary William Perry, took matters into their hands.
The administration zigged and zagged, exasperating its allies and presenting the Republicans with a fat political target.
A chronology of the month in which the administration ran out of wiggle room on Bosnia: No one should have been surprised when Washington announced it would no longer help enforce the naval embargo on arms shipments to Bosnia.
The action was required by legislation that Democratic leaders drafted to head off a tougher proposal from Dole, who wanted to unilaterally lift the embargo.
The allies knew the U.
Then, after the Republican victory, the administration reneged on the promise, infuriating the British in particular.
On the next day, an administration team led by Perry met to discuss the creation of an ""exclusion zone'' enforced by air power, to stop the Serb attack on Bihac.
The allies wouldn't buy it.
They pointed out that the Bosnian Muslims started the latest round of fighting by launching an offensive from Bihac, a U.
But on Thanksgiving he called back and said protecting Bihac would a game of liars poker more ground troops.
Clinton's basic policy on Bosnia -- use the threat of air power to promote a negotiated settlement -- had come to a dead end.
Over lunch the next day, Perry and Secretary of State Warren Christopher began to draw up a new policy.
Their aim was to save NATO, not Bosnia.
Before meeting the allies in Brussels, Christopher told reporters that Europe needed a new ""security architecture'' to prevent future Bosnias.
The first public hint of a shift in the U.
Watching from his farm in Massachusetts, national-security adviser Anthony Lake was furious.
Normally, he and his aides hold briefings or distribute ""talking points'' before senior officials make the rounds of the Sunday interview shows.
This weekend Perry was on his own, and he took the opportunity to state the Pentagon's view without interagency hedging.
Lake began drafting another memo to Clinton, arguing that the administration should push even harder for a diplomatic solution.
On the same show, Dole said the peacekeepers should leave and the Muslims should be armed.
The Europeans were incensed.
Later, when Dole visited Britain, Prime Minister John Major and Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd told him off in private.
They warned that Bosnia could become America's war, with the Republicans bearing some of the blame.
They wondered, politely, what impact that would have on the next presidential election.
Some argued for allowing them to establish political links to their brethren in Croatia and in Yugoslavia's Serbian Republic.
Lake objected, and the issue was games online for free no for the president to decide.
But the next day Perry got the bit in his teeth again, commenting at a photo op that ""one of the things that would be considered is allowing a federation between the Bosnian Serbs and the Serbs.
In Brussels, Christopher tried to take back Perry's concession, but the point had already been made.
On another session of ""Meet the Press,'' Gingrich, the new speaker of the House of Representatives, said the allies should pull their peacekeepers out of Bosnia and provide the Muslims with arms and training.
Then, he said, Gen.
Colin Powell should be sent to tell the Serbs: read article you launch a general offensive, we would.
Ben Gilman, the new chairman of the renamed International Relations A game of liars poker />But Gingrich's motivation seems mostly opportunistic.
Only last month, he told reporters in Georgia that ""Bosnia is mainly a European problem.
Dole has a more serious interest in Bosnia.
He visited the region in 1990 and came away convinced that Slobodan Milosevic, the president of Yugoslavia's Serbian Republic, intended to provoke ethnic warfare.
Dole's https://hairglam.ru/poker-games/download-free-poker-slots-games.html aide, Mira Baratta, is a Croatian-American who has relatives in Bosnia and Croatia and speaks the language.
In the next session of Congress, Dole will introduce legislation to unilaterally lift the arms embargo.
He says he has 80 votes lined up, but already his own party is split on Bosnia.
Last week two Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and John Warner of Virginia, announced their opposition to the kind of airstrikes proposed by Dole and Gingrich.
And although the two congressional leaders endorsed the use of U.
Another Democratic aide predicts that the Republicans will a game of liars poker every opportunity to embarrass the administration.
Given Bosnia's sad history, that isn't likely to happen.
By next spring, when the U.
And Dole and Gingrich will be learning the old political lesson that governing is a lot tougher than opposition.

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"Liar's Poker" is a game often associated with Wall Street traders who use statistical reasoning and behavioral psychology tactics to gamble. Liar's Poker is fairly similar to the card game "cheat.


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The Bosnian war was fought on three widely separated fronts last week.
Serb forces continued their assault on the Muslim enclave of Bihac.
Republican leaders pressed their siege of Bill Clinton's White House, demanding bolder action against the Serbs.
And France and Britain launched a brisk counterattack -- warning that if Clinton followed the Republican lead, the Europeans would pull their peacekeepers out of Bosnia and demand thousands of U.
Except for the pounding of Bihac, the strife was mostly talk.
Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich seemed as interested in embarrassing Clinton as in taking on the Serbs.
And the Europeans weren't about to withdraw their peacekeepers.
We say we will withdraw, if.
Dole see if that is a bluff or not.
The allies knew that if they withdraw from Bosnia, the United States would be free to do exactly what the Europeans fear -- bomb the Serbs and arm the Muslims -- which could wreck NATO and widen the war.
The threat source pull out the United Nations ""protection force'' was not aimed solely at the Republicans; it was also a warning to both the Muslims and the Serbs.
The departure of the peacekeepers would almost certainly lead to the fall of Muslim enclaves and confront the predominantly Muslim government with a grave humanitarian crisis.
For the Serbs, a U.
For both sides, the message was that a negotiated settlement would be better than a bigger war later on.
The mandate for the U.
The outlook for peacemaking is further complicated by the fact that relations between Russia and the West are souring rapidly page 39.
As his Bosnian policy crumbled during the past month, A game of liars poker Clinton frequently seemed detached from the issue, aides said.
His foreign-policy advisers had to make tough decisions with less guidance than usual from source top, and some of them, notably Defense Secretary William Perry, took matters into their hands.
The administration zigged and zagged, exasperating its allies and presenting the Republicans with a fat political target.
A chronology of the month in which the administration ran out of wiggle room on Bosnia: No one should have been surprised when Washington announced it would no longer help enforce the naval embargo on arms shipments to Bosnia.
The action was required by legislation that Democratic leaders drafted to head off a tougher proposal from Dole, who wanted to unilaterally lift the embargo.
The allies knew the U.
Then, after the Republican victory, the administration reneged on the a game of liars poker, infuriating the British in particular.
On the next day, an administration team led by Perry met to discuss the creation of an ""exclusion zone'' enforced by air power, to stop the Serb attack on Bihac.
The allies wouldn't buy it.
They pointed out that the Bosnian Muslims started the latest round of fighting by launching an offensive from Bihac, a U.
But on Thanksgiving he called back and said protecting Bihac would require more ground troops.
Clinton's basic policy on Bosnia -- use the threat of air power to promote a negotiated settlement -- had come to a dead end.
Over lunch the next day, Perry and Secretary of State Warren Christopher began to draw up a new policy.
Their aim was to save NATO, not Bosnia.
Before meeting the allies in Brussels, Christopher told reporters that Europe needed a new ""security architecture'' to prevent future Bosnias.
The first public hint a game of liars poker to head poker game shift in the U.
Watching from his farm in Massachusetts, national-security adviser Anthony Lake was furious.
Normally, he and his aides hold briefings or distribute ""talking points'' before senior officials make the rounds of the Sunday interview shows.
This weekend Perry was on his a game of liars poker, and he took a game of liars poker opportunity to state the Pentagon's view without interagency hedging.
Lake began drafting another memo to Clinton, arguing that the administration should push even harder for a diplomatic solution.
On the same show, Dole said the peacekeepers should leave and the Muslims should be armed.
The Europeans were incensed.
Later, when Dole visited Britain, Prime Minister John Major and Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd told him off in private.
They warned that Bosnia could become America's war, with the Republicans bearing some of the blame.
They wondered, politely, what impact that would have on the next presidential election.
At a ""principals meeting,'' Clinton's top advisers agreed that without military leverage, a negotiated settlement could be obtained only through new concessions to the Serbs.
Some argued for allowing them to establish political links to their brethren in Croatia and in Yugoslavia's Serbian Republic.
Lake objected, and the issue was left for the president to decide.
But the next day Perry got the bit in his teeth again, commenting at a photo op that ""one of the things that would be considered is allowing a federation between the Bosnian Serbs and click here Serbs.
In Brussels, Christopher tried to take back Perry's concession, but the point had already been made.
On another session of ""Meet the Press,'' Gingrich, the new speaker of the House of Representatives, said the allies should pull their peacekeepers out of Bosnia and provide the Muslims with arms and training.
Then, he said, Gen.
Colin Powell should be sent to tell the Serbs: ""If you launch a general offensive, we would.
Ben Gilman, the new chairman of the renamed International Relations Committee.
But Gingrich's motivation seems mostly opportunistic.
Only last month, he told reporters in Georgia that ""Bosnia is mainly a European problem.
Dole has a more serious interest in Bosnia.
He visited the region in 1990 and came away convinced that Slobodan Milosevic, the president of Yugoslavia's Serbian Republic, intended to provoke ethnic warfare.
Dole's foreign-policy aide, Mira Baratta, is a Croatian-American who has relatives in Bosnia and Croatia and speaks the language.
In the next session of Congress, Dole will introduce legislation to unilaterally lift the arms embargo.
He says he has 80 votes lined up, but already his own party is split on Bosnia.
Last week two Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and John Warner of Virginia, announced their opposition to the kind of airstrikes proposed by Dole and Gingrich.
And although the poker legal games free online congressional leaders endorsed the use of U.
Another Democratic aide predicts that the Republicans will take every opportunity to embarrass the administration.
Given Bosnia's sad history, that isn't likely to happen.
By next spring, when the U.
And Dole and Gingrich will be learning the old political lesson that governing is a lot tougher than opposition.

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From Wikipedia: Liar's poker is a bar game that combines statistical reasoning with bluffing, and is played with the eight-digit serial number on a U.S. Dollar [email protected]


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Working beside traders at Salomon Brothers put me, I believe, at the epicenter of one of those events that help to define an age.
Traders are masters of the quick killing, and a lot of the killings in the past ten years or so have been quick.
And Salomon Brothers was indisputably the king of traders.
What I have tried to do here, without, as it were, leaving my seat on the Salomon trading floor, is to describe and explain the events and the attitudes that characterized the era; the story occasionally tails away from me, but it is nonetheless my story throughout.
The money I did not make and the lies I did not tell I still understood in a personal way because of my position.
That was somewhere near the cenfer of a modern gold rush.
Never before have so many unskilled twenty-four-year-olds made so much money in so little time as we did this decade in New York and London.
There has never before been such a fantastic exception to the rule of the marketplace that one takes out no more than one puts in.
Now I do not object to money.
I generally would rather have more than less.
But I'm not holding my breath waiting for another windfall What happened was a rare and amazing glitch in the fairly predictable history of getting and spending.
It should be said that I was, by the standards we use to measure ourselves, a success.
I made a lot of money.
I was told often by people who ran our firm that I would one day join them at the top.
I would rather not make this boast early.
But the reader needs to know that I have been given no reason to feel bitterly toward or estranged from my former employer.
I set out to write this book only because I thought it would be better to tell the story than to go on living the story.
Also Robert Ducas and David Soskin for intelligent advice.
Finally, he wishes to thank his parents, Diana and Tom Lewis.
They are, of course, directly responsible for any errors, sins, or omissions herein.
Liar's Poker "Wall Street, " reads the sinister old gag, "is a sfreef with a river at one end and a graveyard at the other.
It omits the kindergarten in the middle.
I Chapter One Liars Poker IT WAS sometime early in 1986, the first year of the decline of my firm, Salomon Brothers.
Our chairman, John Gutfreund, left his desk at the head of the trading floor and went for a walk.
Sutf reund took the pulse of the place by simply wandering around it and asking questions of the traders.
An eerie sixth sense guided him to wherever a crisis was unfolding.
Sutfreund seemed able to smell money being lost.
He was the last person a nerve-racked trader wanted to see.
Sutf reund pronounced Good friend liked to sneak up from behind and surprise you.
This was fun for him but not for you.
Busy on two phones at once trying to stem disaster, you had no time to turn and look.
You didn't need to.
The area around you began to convulse like an epileptic ward.
People were pretending to be frantically busy and at the same time staring intently at a spot directly above your head.
You felt a chill in your bones that I imagine belongs to the same class of intelligence as the nervous twitch of a small furry animal at the silent approach of a grizzly bear.
An alarm shrieked in your head: Sutfreund!
Sutfreundl Often as not, our chairman just hovered quietly for a bit, then left.
You might never have seen him.
The only trace I found of him on two of these occasions was a turd-like ash on the floor beside my chair, left, I suppose, as a calling card.
Sutfreund's cigar droppings were longer and better formed than those of the average Salomon boss.
This day in 1986, however, Sutfreund did something strange.
Instead of terrifying us all, he walked a straight line to the trading desk of John Meriwether, a member of the board of Salomon Inc.
He whispered a few words.
The traders in the vicinity eavesdropped.
What Sutf reund said has become a legend at Salomon Brothers and a visceral part of its corporate identity.
He said: "One hand, one million dollars, no tears.
Meriwether grabbed the meaning instantly.
The King of Wall Street, as Business Week had dubbed Sutfreund, wanted to play a single hand of a game called Liar's Poker for a million dollars.
He played the game most afternoons with Meriwether and the six young bond arbitrage traders who worked for Meriwether and was usually skinned alive.
Some traders said Sutfreund was heavily outmatched.
The peculiar feature of Sutfreund's challenge this time was the size of the stake.
Normally his bets didn't exceed a few hundred dollars.
A million was unheard of.
The final two words of his challenge, "no tears, " meant that the loser was expected to suffer a great deal of pain but wasn't entitled to whine, bitch, or moan about it.
He'd just have to hunker down and keep his poverty to himself.
You might ask if you were anyone other than the King of Wall Street.
Why do it in the first place?
Why, in particular, challenge Meriwether instead of some lesser managing director?
It seemed an act of sheer lunacy.
Meriwether was the King of the Game, the Liar's Poker champion of the Salomon Brothers trading floor.
On the other hand, one thing you learn on a trading floor is that winners like Gutf reund always have some reason for what they do; it might not be the best of reasons, but at least they have a concept in mind.
I was not privy to Sutfreund's innermost thoughts, but I do know that all the boys on the trading floor gambled and that he wanted badly to be one of the boys.
What I think Sutf reund had in mind in this Instance was a desire to show his courage, like the boy who leaps from the high dive.
Who better than Meriwether for the purpose?
Besides, Meriwether was probably the only trader with both the cash and the nerve to play.
The whole absurd situation needs putting into context.
John Meriwether had, in the course of his career, made hundreds of millions of dollars for Salomon Brothers.
He had an ability, rare among people and treasured by traders, to hide his state of mind.
Most traders divulge whether they are making or losing money by the way they speak or move.
With Meriwether you could never, ever tell.
He wore the same blank half -tense expression when he won as he did when he lost.
He had, I think, a profound ability to control the two emotions that commonly destroy traders S ear and greed W.
He was thought by many within Salomon to be the best bond trader on Wall Street.
Around Salomon no tone but awe was used when he was discussed.
People would say, "He's the best businessman in the place," or "the best risk taker I have ever seen," or "a very dangerous Liar's Poker player.
His boys ranged in age from twenty-five to thirty- two he was about forty.
Most of them had Ph.
Once they got onto Meriwether's trading desk, however, they forgot they were supposed to be detached intellectuals.
They became obsessed by the game of Liar's Poker.
They regarded it as their game.
And they free play poker game it to a new level of seriousness.
John Sutf reund was always the outsider in their game.
That Business Week put his picture on the cover and called him the King of Wall Street held little significance for them.
I mean, that was, in a way, the whole point.
Sutf reund was the King of Wall Street, but Meriwether was King of the Game.
When Sutf reund had been crowned by the gentlemen of the press, you could almost hear traders thinking; Foolish names and foolish faces often appear in public places.
Fair enough, Sutfreund had once been a trader, but that was as relevant as an old woman's claim that she was once quite a dish.
At times Sutfreund himself seemed to agree.
He loved to trade.
Compared with managing, trading was admirably direct.
You made your bets and either you won or you lost.
When you won, people II the way up to the top of the firm dmired you, envied you, and feared you, and with reason: You controlled the loot.
When you managed a firm, well, sure you received your quota of envy, fear, and admiration.
But for all the wrong reasons.
Vou did not make the money for Salomon.
You did not take risk.
You were hostage to your producers.
They proved their superiority every day by handling risk better than the rest of the risk-taking world.
The money came from risk takers such as Meriwether, and whether it came or not was really beyond Sutfreund's control.
That's why many people thought that the single rash act of challenging the arbitrage boss to one hand for a million dollars was Sutfreund's way of showing he was a player, too.
And if you wanted to show off.
Liar's Poker was the only way to go.
The game had a powerful meaning for traders.
People like John Meriwether believed that Liar's Poker had a lot in common with bond trading.
It tested a trader's character.
It honed a trader's instincts.
A good player made a good trader, and vice versa.
We all understood it.
The Game: In Liar's Poker a group of people ffi s few as two, as many as ten tfl orm a circle.
Each player holds a dollar bill close to his chest.
The game is similar source spirit to the card game known as I Doubt Check this out />Each player attempts to fool the others about the serial numbers printed on the face of his dollar bill.
One trader begins by making "a bid.
Once the first bid has been made, the game moves clockwise in the circle.
Let's say the bid is three sixes.
The player to the left of the bidder can do one of two things.
Or he can "challenge"e hat is like saying, "I doubt it.
Then, and only then, do the players reveal their serial numbers and determine who is bluffing whom.
In the midst of all this, the mind of a good player spins with probabilities.
What is the statistical likelihood of there being three sixes within a batch of, say, forty randomly generated serial numbers?
For a great player, however, the math is the easy part of the game.
The hard part is reading the faces of the other players.
The complexity arises when all players know how to bluff and double-bluff.
The game has some of the feel of trading, just as jousting has some of the feel of war.
The questions a Liar's Poker player asks himself are, up to a point, the same questions a bond trader asks himself.
Is this a smart risk?
Do I feel lucky?
How cunning is my opponent?
Does he have any idea what he's doing, and if not, how do I exploit his ignorance?
If he bids high, is he bluffing, or does he actually hold a strong hand?
Is he trying to induce me to make a foolish bid, or does he actually have four of a kind himself?
Each player seeks weakness, predictability, and pattern in the others and seeks to avoid it in himself.
The bond traders of Soldman, Sachs, First Boston, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and other Wall Street firms all play some version of Liar's Poker.
But the place where the stakes run highest, thanks to John Meriwether, is the New York bond trading floor of Salomon Brothers.
The a game of liars poker of the Liar's Poker player was something like the code of the gunslinger.
It required a trader to accept all challenges.
But he knew it was stupid.
For him, there was no upside.
If he won, he upset Sutfreund.
No good came of this.
But if he lost, he was out of pocket a million bucks.
This was worse than upsetting the boss.
Although Meriwether was by far the better player of the game, in a single hand anything could happen.
Luck could very well determine the outcome.
Meriwether spent his entire day avoiding dumb bets, and he wasn't about to accept this one.
It was a moment for all players to savor.
Meriwether was playing Liar's Poker before the game even started.
Sutfreund considered the counterproposal.
It would have been just like him to accept.
Merely to entertain the thought was a luxury that must have pleased him well.
It was good to be rich.
On the other hand, ten million dollars was, and is, a lot of money.
If Gutfreund lost, he'd have only thirty million or so left.
His wife, Susan, was busy spending the better part of fifteen million dollars redecorating their Manhattan apartment Meriwether knew this.
And as Gutf reund was the boss, he clearly wasn't bound by the Meriwether code.
Maybe he didn't even know the Meriwether code.
Maybe the whole point of his challenge was to judge Meriwether's response.
Even Gutfreund had to marvel at the king in action.
In fact, he smiled his own brand of forced smile and said, "You're crazy.
I make a lot of money.
I will like my job very, very much 1 will help people I will be a millionaire I will have a big house It will be fun forme S even-year-old Minnesota schoolboy, "What I Want to Be When I Grow Up," dated March 1985 I WAS LIVING in London in the winter of 1984, finishing a master's degree in economics at the London School of Economics, when I received an invitation to dine with the queen mother.
It came through a distant cousin of mine who, years before, and somewhat improbably, had married a German baron.
Though I was not the sort of person regularly invited to dine at St.
James's Palace, the baroness, happily, was.
I rented a black tie, boarded the tube, and went.
This event was the first link in a chain of improbabilities, culminating in a job offer from Salomon Brothers.
What had been advertised as a dose encounter with British royalty proved to be a fund raiser with seven or eight hundred insurance salesmen.
We fanned out across the Great Hall in dark wooden chairs on wine red carpets beneath sooty portraits of the royal family, as if auditioning to be extras on "Masterpiece Theatre.
I knew this only because, as luck would further have it, I was seated between their wives.
The wife of the more senior Salomon Brothers managing director, an American, took our table firmly in hand, once we'd finished craning our necks to snatch a glimpse of British royalty.
She prodded, quizzed, needled, and unsettled me for about an hour until finally she stopped, satisfied.
Having examined what good had come from my twenty-four years on earth, she asked why I didn't come and work on the Salomon Brothers trading floor.
I tried to keep calm.
I was afraid that if I appeared too eager, it might dawn on the woman she had made a terrible mistake.
I had recently poker main game John Sutf reund's now legendary comment that to succeed on the Salomon Brothers trading floor a person had to wake up each morning "ready to bite the ass off a bear.
I explained to her my notion of what life should be like inside an investment bank.
The description included a big glass office, a secretary, a large expense account, and lots of meetings with captains of industry.
This occupation does exist within Salomon Brothers, but it is not respected.
It is called corporate finance.
It is different from sales and trading, though both are generally referred to as investment banking.
Sutfreund's trading floor, where stocks and bonds are bought and sold, is the rough-and-tumble center of moneymaking and risk taking.
Traders have no secretaries, off ices, or meetings with captains of industry.
Corporate finance, which services the corporations and governments that borrow money, and that are known as "clients," is, by comparison, a ref ined and unworldly place.
Because they don't risk money, corporate financiers are considered wimps by traders.
By any standards other than those of Wall Street, however, corporate finance is still a jungle full of chest-pounding males.
The lady from Salomon fell silent at the end of my little speech.
Then, in a breath, she said limp-wristed, overly groomed fellows on small salaries worked in corporate finance.
Where was continue reading chutzpah?
Did I want to sit in an office all day?
What was I M ome numbnut?
It was pretty clear she wasn't looking for an answer.
So I asked if she had the authority to offer me a job.
With this she dropped the subject of my manhood and assured me that when she got home, she would have her husband take care of it.
At the end of the meal the eighty-four-year-old queen mother tottered out of the room.
Then I realized that it must be the front of the palace and that we fund raiser types had been let in like delivery boys, through the back.
Anyway, the queen mother was headed our way.
Behind her walked Jeeves, straight as a broom, clad in white tie and tails and carrying a silver tray.
Following Jeeves, In procession, was a team of small, tubular dogs, called corgis, that looked like large rats.
The English think corgis are cute.
The British royals, I was later told, never go anywhere without them.
A complete hush enveloped the Great Hall of St.
As the queen mother drew near, the insurance salesmen bowed their heads like churchgoers.
The corgis had been trained to curtsy every fifteen seconds by crossing their back legs and dropping their ratlike bellies onto the floor.
The procession at last arrived at its destination.
We stood immediately at the queen mother's side.
The Salomon Brothers wife glowed.
I'm sure I glowed, too.
But she glowed more.
Her desire to be noticed was tangible.
There are a number of ways to grab the attention of royalty in the presence of eight hundred silent agents of the Prudential, but probably the surest is to shout.
That's what she did.
Specifically, she shouted, "Hey, Queen, Nice Dogs You Have There!
Actually they were already pale, so perhaps I exaggerate.
But they cleared their throats a great deal and stared at their tassel loafers.
The only person within earshot who didn't appear distinctly uncomfortable was the queen mother herself.
She passed out of the room without missing a step.
At that odd moment in St.
James's Palace, representatives of two proud institutions had flown their finest colors side by side; The unflappable queen mother gracefully dealt with an embarrassing situation by ignoring it; the Salomon Brothers managing director's wife, drawing on hidden reserves of nerve and instinct, restored the balance of power in the room by hollering.
I had always had a soft spot for the royals, and especially the queen mother.
But from that moment I found Salomon Brothers, the bleacher bums of St.
To some, they were crude, rude, and socially unacceptable.
But I wouldn't have had them any other way.
These were, as much as any investment bankers could be, my people.
And there was no doubt in my mind that this unusually forceful product of the Salomon Brothers culture could persuade her husband to give me a job.
I was soon invited by her husband to the London offices of Salomon and introduced to traders and salesmen on the trading floor.
I liked the commercial buzz of their environment.
But I still did not have a formal job offer, and I wasn't subjected a game of liars poker a proper round of job interviews.
It was pretty clear, considering the absence of harsh cross-examination, that the https://hairglam.ru/poker-games/poker-game-chart.html director's wife had been true to her word and that Salomon intended to hire me.
But no one actually asked me to return.
A few days later I received another call.
Would I care to eat breakfast at 6:30 A.
I said naturally that I would.
And I went through the painful and unnatural process of rising at 5;30 A.
But Corbett didn't offer me a job either, just a plate of wet scrambled eggs.
We had a pleasant talk, which was disconcerting, because Salomon Brothers' recruiters were meant to be bastards.
It seemed dear Corbett wanted me to work at Salomon, but he never came right out and proposed.
I went home, took off the suit, and went back to bed.
Finally, puzzled, I told a fellow student at the London School of Economics what had happened.
As he badly wanted a job with Salomon Brothers, he knew exactly what I had to do.
Salomon Brothers, he said, never made job offers.
It was too smart to give people the chance to turn it down.
Salomon Brothers only gave hints.
If I had been given a hint that it wanted to hire me, the best continue reading forme to do was call Leo Corbett in New York and take the job from him.
I called him, reintroduced myself, and said, "I want to let you know that I accept.
He explained that I would start life at "the Brothers" in a training program that commenced the end of July.
He said that I would be joined by at least 120 other students, most of whom would have been recruited from colleges and business schools.
Then he hung up.
He hadn't told me what I would be paid, nor had I asked, because I knew, for reasons that shall soon emerge, that investment bankers didn 't like to talk about money.
I knew nothing about trading and, as a result, next to nothing about Salomon Brothers, for Salomon Brothers is, more than any other on Wall Street, a firm run by traders.
I knew only what I had read in the papers, and they said that Salomon Brothers was the world's most profitable investment bank.
True as that might be, the process of landing a job with the firm had been suspiciously pleasant.
After some poker online game download giddiness about the promise of permanent employment, I became skeptical of the desirability of life on a trading floor.
It crossed my mind to hold out for a job in corporate finance.
Had it not been for the circumstances, I might well have written to Leo we were on a first-name basis to say I didn't want to belong to any club that would have me so quickly for a member.
The circumstances were that I had no other job.
I decided to live with the stigma of having gotten my first real job through connections.
It was better than the stigma of unemployment.
Any other path onto the Salomon Brothers trading floor would have been cluttered with unpleasant obstacles, like job interviews.
Six thousand people had applied that year.
Most of the people with whom I would eventually work were badly savaged in their interviews and had grisly stories to tell.
Except for the weird memory of Salomon's assault on the British throne, I had no battle scars and felt mildly ashamed.
Oh, all right, Iconf ess.
One of the reasons I pounced on the Salomon Brothers opportunity like a loose ball was that I had already seen the dark side of a Wall Street job hunt and had no desire to see it again.
As a college senior in 1981, three years before the night I got lucky in St.
James's Palace, I applied to banks.
I have never seen men oh Wall Street in such complete agreement on any issue as they were on my application.
A few actually laughed at my resume.
Representatives from several leading firms said I lacked commercial instincts, an expensive way, I feared, to say that I would spend the rest of my life poor.
I've always had difficulties making sharp transitions, and this one was the sharpest.
I recall that I couldn't imagine myself wearing a suit.
Also, I'd never met a banker with blond hair.
All moneymen I'd ever seen were either dark or bald.
So, you see, I had problems.
About a quarter of the people with whom I began work at Salomon Brothers came straight from college, so passed a test that I failed.
I still wonder how.
In this I wasn't unusual.
If they'd heard of trading floors, college seniors considered them cages for untrained animals, and one of the great shifts in the 1980s was the relaxing of this pose by the most expensively educated people in both America and Britain.
My Princeton University Class of 1982 was among the last to hold it firmly.
So we didn't apply to work on trading floors.
Instead we angled for lower-paying jobs in corporate finance.
The starting salary was about twenty-five thousand dollars a year plus bonus.
When all was said and done, the pay came to around six dollars an hour.
The job title was "investment banking analyst.
They were slaves to a team of corporate financiers, the men who did the negotiations and paper work though not the trading and selling of new issues of stocks and bonds for America's corporations.
At Salomon Brothers they were the lowest of the low; at other banks they were the lowest of the high; in either case theirs was a miserable job.
Analysts photocopied, proofread, and assembled breathtakingly dull securities documents for ninety and more hours a week.
If they did this particularly well, analysts were thought well of by their bosses.
This was a dubious honor.
Bosses attached beepers to their favorite analysts, making it possible to call them in at all hours.
A few of the very best analysts, months into their new jobs, lost their will to live normal lives.
They gave themselves entirely over to their employers and worked around the clock.
They rarely slept and often looked ill; the better they became at the jobs, the nearer they appeared to death.
One extremely successful analyst working for Dean Witter in 1983 a friend I envied at the time for his exalted station in life was so strung out that he regularly nipped into a bathroom stall during midday lulls and slept on the toilet.
He worked straight through most nights and on weekends, yet felt guilty for not doing more.
He pretended to be constipated tSl n case someone noticed how long he had been gone.
By definition an analyst's job lasted only two years.
Then he was expected to go to business school.
Many analysts later admit that their two years between college and business school were the worst of their lives.
The analyst was a prisoner of his own narrowly focused ambition.
He didn't want to expose himself in any unusual way.
He wanted to be thought successful by others like him.
I https://hairglam.ru/poker-games/canadian-online-poker-games.html you this only because I narrowly escaped imprisonment myself, and not by choice.
And had I not escaped, I surely wouldn't be here now.
I'd be continuing my climb up the same ladder as many of my peers.
There was one sure way, and only one sure way?
So, more than any other, the question tlhat my classmates and I were asking in the fall of 1981 and the spring of 1982 was: How do I become a Wall Street analyst?
Over time this qiuestion had fantastic consequences.
The first and most obvious was ai logjam at the point of entry.
Any one of a number of hard statistics cam be enlisted to illustrate the point.
Forty percent of the tlhirteen hundred members of Yale's graduating class of 1986 applied tco one investment bank.
There was, I think, a sense iof safety in the numbers.
The larger the number of people involved, tHie easier it was for them to delude themselves that what they were dosing must be smart.
The first thing you learn on the trading floor is that when large numbers of people are after the same commodity, be it a sstock, a bond, or a job, the commodity quickly becomes overvalued.
Unfortunately, at the time, I had never seen a trading floor.
The second effect, one that struck me at the time as tragic, was a strange surge in the study of economics.
AVt Harvard in 1987 the course in the principles of economics had forty :sections and a thousand students; the enrollment had tripled in ten yeairs.
At Princeton, in my senior year, for the first time in the history of th If school, economics for unusual poker games quite the single most popular area of concentration.
And the more people studied economics, the more an economiics degree became a requirement for a job on Wall Street.
There was a good reason for this.
Ecomomics satisfied the two most basic needs of investment bankers.
Firstt investment bankers wanted practical people, willing to subordinate their educations to their careers.
Economics, which was becoming an ewerr more abstruse science, producing mathematical treatises with no obwious use, seemed almost U i J -f-tj, S1 www fjitJSihow.
The way it was itaught did not exactly fire the imagination.
I mean, few people would claim they actually liked studying economics; there was not a trace off self-indulgence in the act.
Studying economics was more a ritual satcrif ice.
I can't prove this, of course.
It is bald assertion, based on what ''economists call casual empiricism.
I saw friends steadily drained of life.
I often asked otherwise intelligent members of the prebanking set why they studied economics, and they explained that it was the most practical course of study, even while they spent their time drawing funny little graphs.
They were right, of course, and that was even more maddening.
It got people jobs.
And it did this because it demonstrated that they were among the most fervent believers in the primacy of economic life.
Investment bankers also wanted to https://hairglam.ru/poker-games/poker-drop-online-game.html, like members of any exclusive club, that the logic to their recruiting techniques was airtight.
No one who didn't belong was admitted.
This conceit went hand in glove with the investment bankers' belief that they could control their destiny, something, as we shall see, they couldn't do.
Economics allowed investment banking recruiters to compare directly the academic records of recruits.
The only inexplicable aspect of the process was that economic theory which is, after all, what economics students were supposed to know served almost no function in an investment bank.
The bankers used economics as a sort of standardized test of general intelligence.
In the midst of the hysteria I was suitably hysterical.
I had made a conscious decision not to study economics at Princeton, partly because everyone else was doing it for what sounded to me like the wrong reasons.
Don't get me wrong.
I knew I'd one day need to earn a living.
But it seemed a waste not to seize the unique opportunity to stretch your brain on something that genuinely excited you.
It also seemed a waste not to use the rest of the university.
So I landed in one of the least used departments on campus.
Art history was the opposite of economics; no one wanted it on his resume.
Art history, as an economics major once told me, "is for preppy girls from Connecticut.
They dipped into my department for a course a term, which appeared on their resumes as only one component of that average.
The idea that art history might be self-improving or that self-improvement, as distinct from career building, was a legitimate goal of education was widely regarded as naive and reckless.
And as we approached the end of our four years in college, that is how it seemed.
Some of my classmates were visibly sympathetic toward me, as if I were a cripple or had unwittingly taken a vow of poverty.
Being the class Franciscan had its benefits, but a ticket onto Wall Street wasn't one.
To be fair, art was only the start of my problems.
It didn't help that I had flunked a course called "Physics for Poets" or that my resume listed bartending and skydiving as skills.
Born and raised in the Deep South, I had never heard of investment bankers until a few months before my first interview.
I don't think we had them back home.
Nevertheless, Wall Street seemed very much like the place to be at the time.
The world didn't need another lawyer, I hadn't the ability to become a doctor, and my idea for starting a business making little satchels to hang off the rear ends of dogs to prevent them from crapping on the streets of Manhattan advertising jingle; "We Stop the Plop" never found funding.
Probably the real truth of the matter was that I was frightened to miss the express bus on which everyone I knew seemed to have a reserved seat, for fear that there would be no other.
I certainly had no fixed idea of what to do when I graduated from college, and Wall Street paid top dollar for what I could do, which was nothing.
My motives were shallow.
That wouldn't have mattered, and could even have been an advantage, if I had felt the slightest conviction that I deserved a job.
Many of my classmates had sacrificed the better part of their formal educations for Wall Street.
I had sacrificed nothing.
That made me a dilettante, a southern boy in a white linen suit waltzing into a war fought mainly by northeastern prep school graduates.
In short, I wasn't going to be an investment banker anytime soon.
My moment of reckoning came immediately after the first interview of the 1982 season, with the Wall Click here firm of Lehman Brothers.
To get the interview, I had stood in six inches of snow with about fifty other students, awaiting the opening of the Princeton University career services office.
All through the winter the office resembled a ticket booth at a Michael Jackson concert, with lines of motley students staging all-night vigils to get click at this page />When the doors finally swung open, we rushed in and squeezed our names onto the Lehman interview schedule.
I had memorized those few facts widely accepted by Princeton undergraduates to be part of an investment banking interview survival kit.
Investment banking applicants were expected to be culturally literate.
For example, in 1982 at least, they a game of liars poker to be able to define the following terms; commercial banking, investment banking, ambition, hard work, stock, bond, private placement, partnership, and the Glass-Steagall Act.
Slass-Steagall was an act of the U.
Congress, but it worked more like an act of God.
It cleaved mankind in two.
With it, in 1934, American lawmakers had stripped investment banking off from commercial banking.
Investment bankers now underwrote securities, such as stocks and bonds.
Commercial bankers, like Citibank, took deposits and made loans.
The act, in effect, created the investment banking profession, the single most important event in the history of the world, or so I was led to believe.
It worked by exclusion.
After Slass-Steagall most people became commercial bankers.
Now I didn't actually know any commercial bankers, but a commercial banker was reputed to be just an ordinary American businessman with ordinary American ambitions.
He lent a few hundred million dollars each day to South American countries.
But really, he meant no harm.
He was only doing what he was told by someone higher up in an endless chain of command.
A commercial banker wasn't any more a troublemaker than Dagwood Bumstead.
He had a wife, a station wagon, 2.
We all knew never to admit to an investment banker that we were also applying for jobs with commercial banks, though many of us were.
Commercial banking was a safety net.
The investment banker was a breed apart, a member of a master race of deal makers.
He possessed vast, almost unimaginable talent and ambition.
If he had a dog, it snarled.
He had two little red sports cars yet wanted four.
To get them, he was, for a man in a suit, surprisingly willing to cause trouble.
For example, he enjoyed harassing college seniors like me.
If you were invited to Lehman's New York offices, your first interview might begin with the interviewer asking you to open the window.
You were on the forty-third floor overlooking Water Street.
The window was sealed shut.
That was, of course, the point.
The interviewer just wanted to see whether your inability to comply with his request led you to yank, pull, and sweat until finally you melted into a puddle of foiled ambition.
Or, as one sad applicant was rumored to have done, threw a chair through the window.
article source stress-inducing trick was the silent treatment.
You'd walk into the interview chamber.
The man in the chair would say nothing.
You'd say that you'd come for a job interview.
He'd stare some more.
You'd make a stupid joke.
He'd stare ana snajce nis nead.
You were on tenterhooks.
Then he'd pick up a newspaper or, worse, your resume and begin to read.
He was testing your ability to take control of a meeting.
In this case, presumably, it was acceptable to throw a chair through a window.
Lehman Brothers is the best.
I want to be rich.
On the appointed day, at the appointed hour, I rubbed two sweaty palms together outside the interview chamber and tried to think only pure thoughts half-truthssuch think, poker games online to play what? these.
I did a quick equipment check, like an astronaut preparing for lift-off.
My strengths; I was an overachiever, a team player, and a people person, whatever that meant.
My weaknesses; I worked too hard and tended to move too fast for the organizations I joined.
My name was called.
Lehman interviewed in pairs.
I wasn't sure I stood much of a chance against one of these people, much less two.
Lehman had sent to Princeton one man and one woman.
I didn't know the man.
But the woman was a Princeton graduate, an old friend I hadn't expected to see.
Perhaps I would survive.
As I walked into the cubicle, she didn't smile or otherwise indicate that she knew me.
She later told me that such behavior is unprofessional.
We shook hands, and she was about as chummy as a boxer before a fight.
She then retired to her corner of the room, as if waiting for the bell to ring.
She sat silently in her blue suit and little bow tie.
Her accomplice, a square-shouldered young man of perhaps twenty-two, held a copy of my resume.
Between the two of them they had two years of investment banking experience.
Many of them hadn't worked on Wall Street for more than a year, but they had acquired Wall Street personas.
One of their favorite words was professional.
Sitting stiffly, shaking firmly, speaking crisply, and sipping a glass of ice water were professional.
Laughing and scratching your armpits were not.
My friend and her accomplice were exhibit number one in the case against becoming a professional.
One year on Wall Street and they had been transmogrified.
Seven months earlier my friend could be seen on campus wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt that said dumb things.
She drank more beer than was healthy for her.
She had been, in other words, a fairly typical student.
Now she was a bit player in my Orwellian nightmare.
The young man took the seat behind the cold metal desk and began to fire questions at me.
Perhaps the best way to describe our encounter is to recount, as best as memory will allow, what passed for our conversation; SQUARE YOUNG MAN; Why don't you explain to me the difference between commercial banking and investment banking?
ME making my first mistake by neglecting to seize the chance to praise investment bankers and heap ridicule on the short work hours and Lilliputian ambition of commercial bankers ; Investment bankers underwrite securities.
You know, stocks and bonds.
Commercial bankers just make loans.
Aren't you worried about getting a job?
ME clinging to the party line of the Princeton art history department ; Well, art history interested me most, and the department here is superb.
Since Princeton doesn't offer any vocational training, I don't believe that my choice of concentration will make much difference in finding a job.
SQUARE YOUNS MAN; Do you know the size of U.
ME; I'm not sure.
Isn't it about five hundred billion dollars?
SQUARE YOUNS MAN {casts a meaningful glance at the woman who I thought was my friend ; More like three trillion.
You know we interview hundreds of people for each position.
You're up against a lot of economics majors who know their stuff.
Why do you want to be an investment banker?
ME obviously, the honest answer was that I didn't know.
After a waffle or two, I gave him what I figured he wanted to hear ; Well, really, when you get right down to it, I want to make money.
SQUARE YOUNS MAN; That's not a good reason.
You work loag hours in this job, and you have to be motivated by more than just money.
It's true, our compensation is in line with our contribution.
But frankly, we try to discourage people from our business who are too interested in money.
The words ring in my ears.
Before I could stop it from happening, I was standing outside the cubicle in a cold sweat listening to the next candidate being grilled.
Never for a moment did I doubt the acceptability to an investment banker of a professed love of money.
I had thought that investment bankers made money for a living, dhe way Ford made cars.
Even if analysts were not paid as well as the older investment bankers, I had thought they were meant to be at least a tiny bit greedy.
Why did the square young man from Lehman take offense at the suggestion?
A friend who eventually won a job with Lehman Brothers later explained.
Believing it was another matter.
From then on, whenever an investment banker asked for rny motives, I dutifully handed him the correct answers: the challenge; the people; the thrill of the deal.
It was several years before I convinced myself that this one was remotely plausible I think I even fed some variant of it to the Salomon Brothers managing director's wife.
That money wasn't the binding force was, of course, complete and utter bullshit.
But inside the Princeton University career services office in 1982 you didn't let the truth get in the way of a job.
I flattered the bankers.
At the same time I seethed at their hypocrisy.
I mean, did anyone, even in those innocent days, doubt the importance of money on Wall Street other than people from Wall Street when talking to people from elsewhere?
In the following year, while running through three different jobs, I managed to demonstrate that I was as unemployable as the bankers had found me.
I didn't ever doubt I got what I deserved.
I just didn't like the way I had gotten it.
I did not learn much from my stack of Wall Street rejection letters except that investment bankers were not in the market for either honesty or my services not that the two were otherwise related.
Set questions were posed to which set answers were expected.
A successful undergraduate investment banking interview sounded like a monastic chant.
An unsuccessful interview sounded like a bad accident.
My Lehman interview was representative not just of my own experience but of thousands of interviews conducted by a dozen investment banks on several dozen college campuses from about 1981 onward.
Still, the tale has a happy ending.
Lehman Brothers eventually went belly up.
A battle between the traders and the corporate financiers caused the firm to collapse in early 1984.
The traders won, but what was left of the august house of Lehman wasn't worth living in.
The senior partners were forced to go hat in hand to Wall Street rival Shearson, which bought them out.
The name of Lehman Brothers was forever stnick from the business cards of Wall Street.
When I read the news in The New York Times I thought.
Good riddance, which I admit wasn't a deeply Christian response.
Whether Lehman's misfortune was directly related to its unwillingness to admit it was out to make money, I do not know.
H amuel Johnson I REMEMBER almost exactly how I felt and what I saw my first day at Salomon Brothers.
There was a cold shiver doing laps around my body, which, softened and coddled by the regime of a professional student, was imagining it was still asleep.
I wasn't due at work until 7;00 A.
I had never seen the place before.
There was a river at one end and a graveyard at the other.
In between was vintage Manhattan; a deep, narrow canyon in which yellow cabs smacked into raised sewer lids, potholes, and garbage.
Armies of worried men in suits stormed off the Lexington Avenue subway line and marched down the crooked pavements.
For rich people, they didn't look very happy.
They seemed serious, at least compared with how I felt.
I had only a few jitters that accompany any new beginning.
Oddly enough, I didn't really imagine I was going to work, more as if I were going to collect lottery winnings.
Salomon Brothers had written me in London to announce that it would pay me anM.
At that time I hadn't had the education required to feel poor on forty-eight thousand dollars then equivalent to forty-five thou- sand British pounds a year.
Receiving the news in England, the land of limp paychecks, accentuated the generosity of Salomon's purse.
A chaired professor of the London School of Economics, who took a keen interest in material affairs, stared at me bug-eyed and gurgled when he heard what I was to be paid.
It was twice what he earned.
He was in his mid-forties and at the top of his profession.
I was twenty-four years old and at the bottom of mine.
There was no justice in the world, and thank goodness for that.
Perhaps it is worth explaining where this money was coming from, not that I gave it much thought at the time.
Man for man Salomon Brothers was, in 1985, the world's most profitable corporation.
At least that is what I was repeatedly told.
I never bothered to check it because it seemed so obviously true.
Wall Street was hot.
And we were Wall Street's most profitable firm.
Wall Street traffics in stocks and bonds.
At the end of the 1970s, and the beginning of both superindulgent American politics and modern financial history, Salomon Brothers knew more about bonds than any firm on Wall Street; how to value them, how to trade them, and how to sell them.
But in the late 1970s and early 1980s, junk bonds were such a tiny fraction of the market that Salomon effectively dominated the entire bond market.
The rest of Wall Street had been content to let Salomon Brothers be the best bond traders because the occupation was neither terribly profitable nor prestigious.
What was profitable was raising capital equity for corporations.
What was prestigious was knowing lots of corporate CEOs.
Salomon was a social and financial outlier.
That, anyway, is what I was told.
It was hard to prove any of it because the only evidence was oral.
But consider the kickoff chuckle to a speech given to the Wharton School in March 1977 by Sidney Homer of Salomon Brothers, the leading bond analyst on Wall Street from the mid-1940s right through to the late 1970s.
There are 287 books about bonds in the New York Public Library, and most of them are about chemistry.
The ones that aren't contain lots of ugly numbers and bear titles such as All Quiet on the Bond Front, and Low-Risk Strategies for the Investor.
In other words, they aren't the sort of page turners that moisten your palms and glue you to your seat.
People who believe themselves of social consequence tend to leave more of a paper trail, in the form of memoirs and anecdotiana.
But while there are dozens of anecdotes and several memoirs from the stock markets, the bond markets are officially silent.
Bond people pose the same problem to a cultural anthropologist as a nonliterate tribe deep in the Amazon.
In part this is due to the absence from the bond market of the educated dosses, which in turn reinforces the point about how unfashionable bonds once were.
In 1968, the last time a degree count was taken at Salomon Brothers, thirteen of the twenty-eight partners hadn't been to college, and one hadn't graduated from the eighth grade.
John Gutfreund was, in this crowd, an intellectual; though he was rejected by Harvard, he did finally graduate without distinction from Oberlin.
The biggest myth about bond traders, and therefore the greatest misunderstanding about the unprecedented prosperity on Wall Street in the 1980s, are that they make their money by taking large risks.
And all traders take small risks.
The source of their fortune has been nicely summarized by Kurt Vonnegut who, oddly, was describing lawyers ; "There is a magic moment, during which a man has surrendered a treasure, and daring which the man who free to play online about to receive it has not yet done so.
He may, if he wishes, take more.
In the bond market, unlike in the stock market, commissions are not openly stated.
Now the fun begins.
Once the trader knows the location of the IBM bonds and the temperament of their owner, he doesn't have to be outstandingly clever to make the bonds the treasure move again.
He can generate his own magic microseconds.
He can, for example, pressure one of his salesmen to persuade insurance company Y that the IBM bonds are worth more than pension fund X paid for them initially.
Whether it is true is irrelevant.
The trader buys the bonds from X and sells them to Y and takes out another eighth, and the pension fund is happy to make a small profit in such a short time.
In this process, it helps if neither of the parties on either side of the middleman knows the value of the treasure.
The men on the trading floor may not have been to school, but they have Ph.
In any market, as In any poker game, there is a fool.
The astute investor Warren Buff ett is fond of saying that any player unaware of the fool in the market probably is the fool in the market.
Salomon bond traders knew about fools because that was their job.
Knowing about markets is knowing about other people's weaknesses.
And a fool, they would say, was a person who was willing to sell a bond for less or buy a bond for more than it was worth.
A bond was worth only as much as the person who valued it properly was wil ling to pay.
And Salomon, to complete the circle, was the firm that valued the bonds properly.
But none of this explains why Salomon Brothers was particularly profitable in the 1980s.
Making profits apologise, legal online poker games free think Wall Street is a bit like eating the stuffing from a turkey.
Some higher authority must first put the stuffing into the turkey.
The turkey was stuffed more generously in the 1980s than ever before.
And Salomon Brothers, because of its expertise, had second and third helpings before other firms even knew that supper was on.
One of the benevolent hands doing the stuffing belonged to the Federal Reserve.
That is ironic, since no one disapproved of the excesses of Wall Street in the 1980s so much as the chairman of the Fed, Paul Volcker.
At a rare Saturday press conference, on October 6, 1?
The event, I think, marks the beginning of the golden age of the bond man.
Had Volcker never pushed through his radical charge in policy, the world would be many bond traders and one memoir the poorer.
For in have variety of poker games interesting, the shift in the focus of monetary policy meant that interest rates would swing wildly.
Bond prices move inversely, lockstep, to rates of interest.
Allowing interest rates to swing wildly meant allowing bond prices to swing wildly.
Before Volcker's speech, bonds had been conservative investments, into which investors put their savings when they didn't fancy a gamble in the stock market.
After Volcker's speech, bonds became objects of speculation, a means of creating wealth rather than merely storing it.
Overnight the bond market was transformed from a backwater into a casino.
Turnover boomer at Salomon.
Many more people were hired to handle the new business, on starting salaries of forty-eight grand.
Once Volcker had set interest rates free, the other hand stuffing the turkey went to work; America's borrowers.
American governments, consumers, and corporations borrowed money at a faster clip during the 1980s than ever before: this meant the volume of bonds exploded another way to look at this is that investors were lending money more freely than ever before.
What is more, thanks to financial entrepreneurs at places like Salomon and the shakiness of commercial banks, a much greater percentage of the debt was cast in the form of bonds than before.
So not only were bond prices more volatile, but the number of bonds to trade increased.
Nothing changed within Salomon Brothers that made the traders more able.
Now, however, trades exploded in both size and frequency.
A Salomon salesman who had in the past moved five million dollars' worth of merchandise through the traders' books each week was now moving three hundred million dollars through each day.
He, the trader, and the firm began to get rich.
And they decided for reasons best known to themselves to invest some of their winnings in buying people like me.
Classes at Salomon Brothers were held on the twenty-third floor of its building on the southeastern tip of Manhattan.
I made my way there to begin, at last, my career.
At first blush my prospects looked bleak.
The other trainees appeared to have been in the office for hours.
In fact, to get an edge on their colleagues, most had been there for weeks.
As I walked into the training area, they were gathered in packs in the hallways or in the foyer behind the classroom, chattering.
It was a family reunion.
Everyone knew everyone else.
All the best lockers had been taken.
Newcomers were regarded with suspicion.
Already opinions had formed of who was "good," meaning who was cut out for the Salomon trading floor, and who was a loser.
One group of men stood in a circle in a corner of the foyer playing a game I didn't recognize but now know to be Liar's Poker.
They were laughing, cursing, eyeing each other sideways, and generally behaving in a brotherly, traderly manner.
I think I gave up the idea of feeling immediately at home at Salomon Brothers when I saw the belts.
I had taken the opportunity to break out a pair of bright red suspenders with large gold dollar signs running down them.
Time to play investment banker, I had thought.
They'll take one look at you and say, 'Who the fuck does he think he is anyway?
In the midst of a scorching July, the pudgy woman on the phone was stuffed into a three-piece beige tweed suit with an oversize white bow tie, which I probably would not have given a second thought had she not herself called attention to it.
She placed one hand over the receiver and declared to a tiny group of women; "Look, I can do six full suits for seven hundred and fifty bucks.
And that is a good price.
You can't get them any cheaper.
She wearing tweed only because she was selling tweed.
She guessed rightly that her training class represented a market in itself ; people with money to burn, eyes for a bargain, and space in their closets for the executive look.
She had persuaded an Oriental sweatshop to supply her with winter wear in bulk.
When she saw me watching her, she said that given a bit of time, she could "do men too.
Thus the first words spoken to me by a fellow trainee were by someone trying to sell me something.
It was a fitting welcome to Salomon Brothers.
From the foyer's darkest corner came a tiny ray of hope, the first sign that there was more than one perspective on life at Salomon Brothers.
A fat young man lay spread-eagled on the floor.
He was, as far a.
His shirt was untucked and badly wrinkled; his white belly pushed through like a whale's hump where the buttons had come undone.
His mouth was opened wide as if awaiting a bunch of grapes.
He was an Englishman.
He was predestined for the London office, I later learned, and not terribly worried about his career.
Compared with most trainees, he was a man of the world.
He complained incessantly of being treated like a child by the firm.
He had been in the markets in the City of London for two full years and found the whole idea of a training program absurd.
So he turned Manhattan into his sporting ground at night.
He convalesced during the day.
He drank pots of coffee and slept on the training class floor, from which he made his first, indelible impression on many of his new colleagues.
The 127 unholy members of the Class of 1985 were one of a series of human waves to wash over what was then the world's most profitable trading floor.
At the time we were by far the largest training class in Salomon's history, and the class after us was nearly twice as large again.
The ratio of support staff to professional we were, believe it or not, the "professionals" was 5;1; so 127 of us meant 635 more support staff.
The increase in numbers was dramatic in a firm of slightly more than 3,000 people.
The hypergrowth would eventually cripple the firm and, even to us, seemed unnatural, like dumping too much fertilizer on a plant.
For some strange reason management did not share our insight.
In retrospect it is clear to me that my arrival at Salomon marked the beginning of the end of that hallowed institution.
Wherever I went, I couldn't help noticing, the place fell apart.
Not that I was ever a big enough wheel in the machine to precipitate its destruction on my own.
But that they let me t¥ nd other drifters like me n the door at all was an early warning signal.
Alarm bells should have rung.
They were losing touch with their identity.
They had once been shrewd traders of horseflesh.
Now they were taking in the all the wrong kinds of people.
And neither did I.
Nothing bound us to the firm but what had enticed many of us to apply; money and a strange belief that no other jobs in the world were worth doing.
Not exactly the stuff of deep and abiding loyalties.
Inside of three years 75 percent of us would be gone compared with previous years when after three years, on average, 85 percent of the class was still with the firm.
After this large infusion of strangers intent on keeping their distance the firm went into convulsions, just as when any body ingests large quantities of an alien substance.
We were a paradox.
We had been hired to deal in a market, to be more shrewd than the next guy, to be, in short, traders.
Ask any astute trader and he'll tell you that his best work cuts against the conventional wisdom.
Good traders tend to do the unexpected.
We, as a group, were painfully predictable.
By coming to Salomon Brothers, we were doing only what every sane money-hungry person would do.
If we were un- able to buck convention in our lives, would we be likely to buck convention in the market?
After all, the job market is a market.
We were as civil to the big man addressing the class as we had been to anyone, which wasn't saying much.
He was the speaker for the entire afternoon.
That meant he was trapped for three hours to the ten-yard trench in the floor at the front of the room with a long table, a podium, and a blackboard.
The man paced back and forth in the channel like a coach on the sidelines, sometimes staring at the floor, other times menacingly at us.
The dull New England clam chowder color of the training room walls and floor set the mood of the room.
One wall had long, narrow slits for windows with a sweeping view of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty, but you had to be sitting right beside them to see anything, and even then you were not supposed to soak in the view.
It was, all in all, more like a prison than an office.
The room was hot and stuffy.
The seat cushions were an unpleasant Astroturf green; the seat of your trousers stuck both to it and to you as you rose at the end of each day.
Having swallowed a large and greasy cheeseburger at lunch, and having only a mild sociological interest in the speaker, I was overcome with drowsiness.
We were only one week into our five-month training program, and I was already exhausted.
I sank in my chair.
The speaker was a leading bond salesman at Salomon.
On the table in the front of the room was a telephone, which rang whenever the bond market went berserk.
As the big man walked, he held his arms tight to his body to hide the half -moons of sweat that were growing under his armpits.
You couldn't blame him.
He was airing his heartfelt beliefs and in so doing making himself more vulnerable than any speaker yet.
I was in the minority in finding him a bit tedious.
He was doing well with the crowd.
People in can games poker games what back row listened.
All around the room, trainees put down their New York Times crossword puzzles.
The man was telling us how to survive.
Except it didn't come out that way.
It came out; "Ya gotta tink a Salomon Bruddahs as like ajungle.
Whether you succeed here or rot depends on knowing how to survive in the jungle.
You've got to learn from your boss.
Imagine if I take two people and I put them in the middle of the jungle and I give one person a jungle guide and the other person nothing.
Inside the jungle there's a lot of bad shit going down.
Outside the jungle there's a TV that's got the NCAA finals on and a huge fridge full of Bud.
The back row, from about the third day of classes on, teetered on the brink of chaos.
Even when they felt merely ambivalent about a speaker, back-row people slept or chucked paper wads at the wimps in the front row.
But if the back-row people for some reason didn't care for a speaker, all hell broke loose.
Primitive revelation swept through the back of the classroom at the sound of the jungle drums; it was as if a hunting party of Cro-Magnon men had stumbled upon a new tool.
The guys in the back row were leaning forward in their seats for the first time all day.
With the back row neutralized, the speaker effectively controlled the entire audience, for the people sitting in the front row were on automatic pilot.
They were the same as front-row people all over the world, only more so.
Most graduates of Harvard Business School sat in the front row.
One of them greeted each new speaker by drawing an organization chart.
The chart resembled a Christmas tree, with John Sutf reund on the top and us at the bottom.
In between were lots of little boxes, like ornaments.
His way of controlling the situation was to identify the rank of the speaker, visualize his position in the hierarchy, and confine him to his proper box.
Rank wasn't terribly important on the trading floor.
Organizational structure at Salomon Brothers was something of a joke.
Making money was mostly what mattered.
But the front row was less confident than the back that the firm was a meritocracy of money-makers.
They were hedging their bets 9 ust in case Salomon Brothers after all bore some relation to the businesses they had learned about in school.
Not to say the other guy won't eventually get there too.
The guys in the back row liked it.
They fell all over each other slapping palms, and looked as silly as white men in suits do when they pretend to be black soul brothers.
They were relieved as much as excited.
When not listening to this sort of speech, we faced a much smaller man with a row of Bic fine points in play free online games poker plastic case in his breast pocket tn therwise known as a nerd pack W- xplaining to us how to convert a semiannual bond yield to an annual bond yield.
The guys in the back row didn't like that.
Fuck the fuckin' bond math, man, they said.
Tell us about the jungle.
That the back row was more like a postgame shower than a repository for the future leadership of Wall Street's most profitable investment bank troubled and puzzled the more thoughtful executives who appeared before the training class.
As much time and effort had gone into recruiting the back row as the front, and the class, in theory, should have been uniformly attentive and well behaved, like an army.
The curious feature of the breakdown in discipline was that it was random, uncorrelated with anything outside itself and, therefore, uncontrollable.
Although most of the graduates from Harvard Business School sat in the front, a few sat in the back.
And right beside them were graduates from Yale, Stanford, and Penn.
The back had its share of expensively educated people.
It had at least its fair share of brains.
So why were these people behaving like this?
And why Salomon let it happen, I still don't understand.
The firm's management created the training program, filled it to the brim, then walked away.
In the ensuing anarchy the bad drove out the good, the big drove out the small, and the brawn drove out the brains.
There was a single trait common to denizens of the back row, though I doubt it ever occurred to anyone: They sensed that they needed to shed whatever refinements of personality and intellect they had brought with them to Salomon Brothers.
This wasn't a conscious act, more a reflex.
They were the victims of the myth, especially popular at Salomon Brothers, that a trader is a savage, and a great trader a great savage.
This wasn't exactly correct.
The trading floor held evidence to that effect.
But it also held evidence to the contrary.
People believed whatever they wanted to.
There was another cause for hooliganism.
Life as a Salomon trainee was like being beaten up every day by the neighborhood bully.
Eventu- ally you grew mean and surly.
The odds of making it into the Salomon training program, in spite of my own f luky good luck, had been 60'.
You beat those odds and you felt you deserved some relief.
The firm never took you aside and rubbed you on the back to let you know that everything was going to be fine.
Just the opposite, the firm built a system around the belief that trainees should wriggle and squirm.
The winners of the Salomon interviewing process were pitted against one another in the classroom.
In short, the baddest of the bad were competing for jobs.
Jobs were doled out at the end of the program on a blackboard beside the trading floor.
Contrary to what we expected when we arrived, we were not assured of employment.
Along the side of the board was each office in the firm: Atlanta; Dallas; New York; etc.
The thought that he might land somewhere awful in the matrix tn r nowhere at all tS rove the trainee to despair.
He lost all perspective on the relative merits of the jobs.
The Salomon trainee saw only the extremes of failure and success.
Selling municipal bonds in Atlanta was unthinkably wretched.
Trading mortgages in New York was mouthwateringly good.
Within weeks after our arrival the managers of each department had begun to debate our relative merits.
But the managers were traders at heart.
They couldn't discuss a person, place, or thing without also trading it.
So they began to trade trainees, like slaves.
One day you'd see three of them leaning over the fat blue binder that held our photographs and resumes.
The next day you'd hear that you had been swapped for one front-row person and one draft choice from the next training program.
Who was overheard speaking of whom?
Which trainees had cut deals for themselves?
Where were jobs left?
Like any selection process, this one had its winners and losers.
But this selection process was wildly subjective.
Since there was no objective measure of ability, landing a good job was one part luck, one part "presence," and one part knowing how and when to place games poker slots casino lips firmly to the rear end of some important person.
There wasn't much you could do about the first two, so you tended to focus on the third.
You needed a sponsor.
Befriending one of the 112 managing directors was not enough; you had to befriend a managing director with clout.
There was one small problem, of course.
Bosses were not always eager to befriend trainees.
After all, what was in it for them?
A managing director grew interested only if he believed you were widely desired.
Then there was a lot in you for him.
A managing director won points when he spirited away a popular trainee from other managing directors.
The approach of many a trainee, therefore, was to create the illusion of desirability.
Then bosses wanted him not for any sound reason but simply because other bosses wanted him.
The end result was a sort of Ponzi scheme of personal popularity that had its parallels in the markets.
To build it required a great deal of self-confidence and faith in the gullibility of others; this was my chosen solution to the job problem.
A few https://hairglam.ru/poker-games/101-poker-game-variations.html into the training program I made a friend on the trading floor, though not in the area in which 1 wanted to work.
That friend pressed for me to join his department.
I let other trainees know I was pursued.
They told their friends on the trading floor, who in turn became curious.
Eventually the man I wanted to work for overheard others talking about me and asked me to breakfast.
If that sounds calculating and devious, consider the alternatives.
Either I left my fate in the hands of management, which, as far as I could tell, did not show a great deal of mercy toward anyone foolish enough to trust it, or I appealed directly to the ego of the managing director of my choice.
I had friends who tried this tactic.
They threw themselves at their dream boss's feet, like a vassal before a lord, and said something unctuous and serf like, such as "I am your humble and devoted servant.
Great One, and I will do anything you ask.
If you are true to me, I shall protect you from the forces of evil and unemployment.
But if it didn't, you'd shot your wad.
You were remaindered goods.
Within the training class a dispute arose over whether, under the circumstances, groveling was acceptable.
As if the whole point of the Salomon system were simply think, tips play zynga poker game you see who wilted under the pressure and who did not.
Each trainee had to decide for himself.
Thus was born the Great Divide.
Those who chose to put on a full-court grovel from the opening buzzer found seats in the front of the classroom, where they sat, lips puckered, through the entire five-month program.
Those who treasured their pride tn r perhaps thought it best to remain aloof tM eigned cool indifference by sitting in the back row and hurling paper wads at managing directors.
Of course, game poker were exceptions to these patterns of behavior.
A handful of people fell between the cracks of the Great Divide.
Two or three people cut deals with managing directors at the start of the program that ensured them the jobs of their choice.
They floated unpredictably, like freemen among slaves, and were widely thought to be management's spies.
A few trainees had back-row hearts, but also wives and children to support.
They had no loyalty.
They remained aloof from the front row out of disdain and from the back row out of a sense of responsibility.
I considered myself an exception, of course.
I was accused by some of being a front-row person because I liked to sit next to the man from the Harvard Business School and watch him draw organization charts.
Also, I asked too many questions.
It was free 100x poker video games that I did this to ingratiate myself with the speakers, like a front-row person.
But try telling that to the back row.
I lamely compensated for my curiosity by hurling a few paper wads at important traders.
And my stock rose dramatically in the back row when I was thrown out of class for reading the newspaper while a trader spoke.
But I was never the intimate of those in the back row.
Of all exceptions, however, the Japanese were the greatest.
The Japanese undermined any analysis of our classroom culture.
All six of them sat in the front row and slept.
Their heads rocked back and forth and on occasion fell over to one side, so that their cheeks ran parallel to the floor.
So it was hard to argue that they were just listening with their eyes shut, as Japanese businessmen are inclined to do.
The most charitable explanation for their apathy was that they could not understand English.
They kept to themselves, however, and you could never be sure of either their language skills or their motives.
Their leader was a man named Yoshi.
Each morning and afternoon the back-row boys made bets on how many minutes it would take Yoshi to fall asleep.
They liked to think that Yoshi was a calculating troublemaker.
Yoshi was their hero.
A small cheer would go up in the back row when Yoshi crashed, partly because someone had just won a pile of money, but also in appreciation of any man with the balls to fall asleep in the front row.
The Japanese were a protected species, and I think they knew it.
Their homeland, as a result of its trade surpluses, was accumulating an enormous pile of dollars.
Salomon was trying to expand its office in Tokyo by employing experienced locals Here was the catch.
Japanese tend to spend their lives with one Japanese company, and the more able ones normally wouldn't dream of working for an American firm.
In joining Salomon Brothers, they traded in sushi and job security for cheeseburgers and yuppie disease, which few were willing to do.
The rare Japanese whom Salomon had been able to snatch away were worth many times their weight in gold and treated like the family china.
The traders who spoke to us never uttered so much as a peep against them.
In addition, while Salomon Brothers was otherwise insensitive to foreign cultures, it was strangely aware that the Japanese were different.
Not that there was a generally accepted view of how they might be different.
The Japanese could have rubbed noses and practiced the Ki-wanis Club handshake each morning, and I'll bet no one would have thought it out of character.
Still, in the end, the Japanese were reduced to nothing more than a bizarre distraction.
The back row set the tone of the class because it acted throughout as one, indivisible, incredibly noisy unit.
The back-row people moved in herds, for safety and for comfort, from the training class in the morning and early afternoon, to the trading floor at the end of the day, to the Surf Club at night, and back to the training program the next morning.
They were united by their likes as well as their dislikes.
They rewarded the speakers of whom they approved by standing and doing the Wave across the back of the class.
And they approved wholeheartedly of the man at the front of the room now.
The speaker paused, as if lost in thought, which was unlikely.
He was playing so well by telling the hooligans what they liked to hear: Being a winner at Salomon meant being a he-man in a jungle.
Now he risked retaliation by telling the hooligans what they didn't like to hear; In the jungle their native talents didn't mean squat.
I checked around for spitballs and paper wads.
The speaker had built sufficient momentum to survive his mistake.
Heads in the back nodded right along.
It is possible that they assumed the speaker intended that remark for the front row.
In any case, on this point the speaker was surely wrong.
A trainee didn't have to stay on the bottom lor more than a couple of months.
Bond traders and salesmen age like dogs.
Each year on the trading floor counts for seven in any other corporation.
At the end of his first year a trader or salesman had stature.
Who cared for tenure?
The whole beauty of the trading floor was its complete disregard for tenure.
A new employee, once he reached the trading floor, was handed a pair of telephones.
He went on-line almost immediately.
If he could make millions of dollars come out of those phones, he became that most revered of all species; a Big Swinging Dick.
After the sale of a big block of bonds and the deposit of a few hundred thousand dollars into the Salomon till, a managing director called whoever was responsible to confirm his identity.
Nothing in the jungle got in the way of a Big Swinging Dick.
That was the prize we coveted.
Perhaps the phrase didn't stick in everyone's mind the way it did in mine; the name was less important than the ambition, which was common to us all.
And of course, no one actually said, "When I get out onto the trading floor, I'm going to be a Big Swinging Dick.
But everyone wanted to be a Big Swinging Dick, even the women.
Christ, even front-row people hoped to be Big Swinging Dicks once they had learned what it meant.
Their problem, as far as the back row was concerned, was that they didn't know how to act the part.
Big Swinging Dicks showed more grace under pressure than front-row people did.
A hand shot up typically in the front row.
It belonged to a woman.
She sat high in her regular seat, right in front of the speaker.
The speaker had momentum.
The back-row people were coming out of their chairs to honor him with the Wave.
The speaker didn't want to stop now, especially for a front-row person.
He looked pained, but he could hardly ignore a hand in his face.
He called her name, Sally Findlay.
Had she asked a dry technical question, she might have pulled it off.
But even the speaker started to smile.
He knew he could abuse the front row as much as he wanted.
His grin spoke volumes to the back row.
It said, "Hey, I remember what these brown-nosers were like when I went through the training program, and I remember how much I despised speakers who let them kiss butt, so I'm going to let this woman hang out and dry for a minute, heh, heh, hen.
Someone cruelly mimed Findlay in a high-pitched voice, "Yes, do tell us why you're sooooo successful.
A third man cupped his hands together around his mouth and hollered, "Equities in Dallas.
There were many bad places your name could land on the job placement blackboard in 1985, but the absolute worst was in the slot marked "Equities in Dallas.
Thus, "Equities in Dallas" became training program shorthand for "Just bury that click at this page form of human scum where it will never be seen again.
The speaker didn't bother with an answer.
He raced to aclose before the mob he had incited became uncontrollable.
Are govys right for me?
Are corporates right for just click for source />You spend a lot of time thinking about that.
There was a fifteen-minute break until the next speaker began, and two separate crowds rushed as usual for the two doors out of the classroom.
Front-row people exited front, back-row people exited back in a footrace to the four telephones with the free WATS lines.
The powers of Salomon Brothers relied on the training program to make us more like them.
What did it mean to be more like them?
For most of its life Salomon had been a scrappy bond trading house distinguished mainly by its ability and willingness to take big risks.
Salomon had had to accept risk to make money because it had no list of fee-paying corporate clients, unlike, say, the genteel gentiles of Morgan Stanley.
The image Salomon had projected to the public was of a f irm of clannish Jews, social nonentities, shrewd but honest, sinking its nose more deeply into the bond markets than any other firm cared to.
This was a caricature, of course, but it roughly captured the flavor of the place as it once was.
The leading indicator of the shift in the collective personality of our firm was the social life of our chairman and CEO, John Sutfreund.
He had married a woman with burning social ambition, twenty years his junior.
She threw parties and invited gossip columnists.
Her invitations, the value of which seemed to rise and fall with our share price, were wrapped in a tiny bow and delivered by hand.
She employed a consultant to ensure she and her husband received the right sort of coverage.
And though she did not go so far as to insist that the employees of Salomon Brothers were made as presentable as her husband whom she stuffed into a new wardrobeit was impossible in our company for some of this indulgence and posturing not to trickle down.
Despite the nouveau fluctuation in our corporate identity, the training program was without a doubt the finest start to a career on Wall Street.
Upon completion a trainee could take his experience and cash it in for twice the salary on any other Wall Street trading floor.
He had achieved, by the standards of Wall Street, technical mastery of his subject.
It was an education in itself to see how quickly one became an "expert" on Wall Street.
Many other banks had no training program.
Drexel Burnham, in what I admit is an extreme example, even told one applicant to befriend someone at Salomon just to get hold of the Salomon training program handouts.
Then, materials in hand, he should work for Drexel.
But the materials were the least significant aspect of our training.
The relevant bits, the ones I would recall two years later, were the war stories, the passing on of the oral tradition of Salomon Brothers.
Over three months leading salesmen, traders, and financiers shared their experiences with the class.
They trafficked in unrefined sireef wisdom; how money travels around the world any way it wantshow a trader feels and behaves any way he wantsand how to schmooze a customer.
After three months in the class trainees circulated wearily around the trading floor for two months more.
Then they went to work.
All the while there was a hidden agenda: to Salomonize the trainee.
The trainee was made to understand, first, that inside Salomon Brothers he was, as a trader once described us, lower than whale shit on the bottom of the ocean floor and, second, that lying under whale shit at Salomon Brothers was like rolling in clover compared with not being at Salomon at all.
In the short term the brainwashing nearly worked.
In the long term it didn't.
For people to accept the yoke, they must believe they have no choice.
As we shall see, we newcomers had both an exalted sense of our market value and no permanent loyalties.
A few investment banks had training programs, but with the possible exception of Goldman Sachs's, none was so replete with firm propaganda.
A woman from The New York Times who interviewed us three months into our program was so impressed by the uniformity in our attitudes toward the firm that she called her subsequent article "The Boot Camp for Top MBA's.
The class Boy Scouts were mercilessly hounded for saying in print things like "They H alomon DS on't need to give us a pep talk, we're pumped up," which, you had to admit, was a little much.
The article was revealing for another reason.
It was the only time someone from the outside was let in and permitted to ask the most obvious question; Why were we so well paid?
A back-row person, who had just taken anM.
She enjoys her work as much as I do, but earns much less.
If nobody else wanted to teach, she'd make more money.
The Times readers certainly did.
The same article had mentioned more than 6,000 people had applied for the 127 places in the program.
Paychecks at Salomon Brothers spiraled higher in spite of the willingness of others who would, no doubt, do the same job for less.
There was something fishy about the way supply met demand in an investment bank.
But there was also something refreshing about any attempt to explain the money we were about to be paid.
I thought it admirable that my colleague had given it the old business school try.
No one else ever did.
The money was just there.
Why did investment banking pay so many people with so little experience so much money?
Answer; When attached to a telephone, they could produce even more money.
How could they produce money without experience?
Answer; Producing in an investment bank was less a matter of skill and more a matter of intangibles lair, persistence, and luck.
Were the qualities found in a producer so rare that they could be purchased only at great expense?
Answer: yes and no.
That was the question of questions.
The answer could be found on the Salomon Brothers trading floor, perhaps more easily than anywhere on Wall Street, but many never bothered to work it out.
Each day after class, around about three or four or five o'clock we were pressured to move from the training class on the twenty-third floor to the trading floor on the forty-first.
You could get away with not going for a few days, but if not seen on the floor occasionally, you were forgotten.
Forgotten at Salomon meant unemployed.
Setting hired was a positive act.
A manager had to request you for his unit.
Three people were fired at the end of our training program.
One was assigned to Dallas and refused to go.
A second disappeared mysteriously, amid rumors that he had invited a senior female Salomon executive into a menage a trois the firm tolerated sexual harassment but not sexual deviance.
And a third, by far the most interesting, couldn't bear to step off the elevator and onto the trading floor.
He rode up and down in the rear of the elevator every afternoon.
He meant to get off, I think, but was petrified.
Word of his handicap spread.
It reached the woman in charge of the training program.
She went to see for herself.
She stood outside the elevator check this out on the forty-first floor and watched with her own eyes the doors open and shut for an hour on one very spooked trainee.
One day he was gone.
On braver days you cruised the trading floor to find a manager who would take you under his wing, a mentor, better known to us as a rabbi.
You also went to the trading floor to learn.
Your first impulse was to step into the fray, select a likely teacher, and present yourself for instruction.
Unfortunately it wasn't so easy.
First, a trainee by definition had nothing of merit to say.
And, second, the trading floor was a minefield of large men on short fuses just waiting to explode if you so much as breathed in their direction.
You didn't just walk up and say hello.
Actually that's not fair.
Many, many traders were instinctively polite, and if you said hello they'd just ignore you.
But if you happened to step on a mine, then the conversation went something like this; ME: Hello.
TRADER: What fucking rock did you crawl out from under?
Bob, check out this guy's suspenders.
ME reddening : I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions.
JOE: Who the fuck does he think he is?
TRADER: Joe, let's give this guy a little test!
When interest rates go up, which way do bond prices go?
You get an A.
Now I gotta work.
ME: Can I help in any way?
TRADER: Set me a burger.
So I watched my step.
There were a million little rules to obey; I knew none of them.
Salesmen, traders, and managers swarmed over the floor, and at first I could not tell them apart.
Sure, I knew the basic differences.
Salesmen talked to investors, traders made bets, and managers smoked cigars.
But other than that I was lost.
Most of the men were on two phones at once.
Most of the men stared at small green screens full of numbers.
They'd shout into one phone, then into the other, then at someone across the row of trading desks, then back into the phones, then point to the screen and scream, "Fuck!
As a trainee, a plebe, a young man lying under all that whale shit, I did what every trainee did: I sidled up to some busy person without saying a word and became the Invisible Man.
That it was perfectly humiliating was, of course, precisely the point.
Sometimes I'd wait for an hour before my existence was formally acknowledged; other times, a few minutes.
Even that seemed like forewer.
Who is watching me in my current debased condition?
Will I ever recover from such total neglect?
Will someone please notice that the Invisible Man has arrived?
The contrast between me standing motionless and the trader's frenetic movements made the scene particularly unbearable.
It underlined my uselessness.
But once I'd sidled up, it was difficult to leave without first being officially recognized.
To leave was to admit defeat in this peculiar ritual of making myself known.
Anyway, there wasn't really any place else to go.
The trading room was about a third the length of a football field and was lined with connected desks.
Traders sitting elbow to elbow formed a human chain.
Between the rows of desks there was not enough space for two people to pass each other without first turning sideways.
Once he started wandering aimlessly, a trainee risked disturbing the gods at play.
All the senior people, from Chairman Gutfreund down, stalked the trading floor.

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The outlook for https://hairglam.ru/poker-games/online-poker-games-play.html is further complicated by the fact that relations between Russia and the West are souring rapidly page 39.
As his Bosnian policy crumbled during the past month, President Clinton frequently seemed detached from the issue, aides said.
His foreign-policy advisers had to make tough decisions with less guidance than usual from the top, and some of them, notably Defense Secretary William Perry, took matters into their hands.
The administration zigged and zagged, exasperating its allies and presenting the Republicans with a fat political target.
A chronology of the month in which the administration ran out of wiggle room on Bosnia: No one should have been surprised when Washington announced it would no longer help enforce the naval embargo on arms shipments to Bosnia.
The action was required by legislation that Democratic leaders drafted to head off a tougher proposal from Dole, who wanted to unilaterally lift the embargo.
The allies knew the U.
Then, after the Republican victory, the administration reneged on the promise, infuriating the British in particular.
On the next day, an administration team led by Perry met to discuss the creation of an ""exclusion zone'' enforced by air power, to stop the Serb attack on Bihac.
The allies wouldn't buy it.
They pointed out that the Bosnian Muslims started the latest round of fighting by launching an offensive from Bihac, a U.
But on Thanksgiving he called back and said protecting Bihac would require more ground troops.
Clinton's basic policy a game of liars poker Bosnia -- use the threat of air power to promote a negotiated settlement -- had come to a dead end.
Over lunch the next day, Perry and Secretary of State Warren Christopher began to draw up a new policy.
Their aim was to save NATO, not Bosnia.
Before meeting the allies in Brussels, Christopher told reporters that Europe needed a new ""security architecture'' to prevent future Bosnias.
The first public hint of a shift in the U.
Watching from his farm in Massachusetts, national-security adviser Anthony Lake was furious.
Normally, he and his aides hold briefings or distribute ""talking points'' before senior officials make the rounds of the Sunday interview shows.
This weekend Perry was on his own, and he took the opportunity to state the Pentagon's view without interagency hedging.
Lake began drafting another memo to Clinton, arguing that the administration should push even harder for a diplomatic solution.
On the same show, Dole said the peacekeepers should leave and the Muslims should be armed.
The Europeans were incensed.
Later, when Dole visited Britain, Prime Minister John Major and Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd told him off in private.
They warned that Bosnia could become America's war, with the Republicans bearing some of the blame.
They wondered, politely, what impact that would have on the next presidential election.
At a ""principals meeting,'' Clinton's top advisers agreed that without military leverage, a negotiated settlement could be obtained only through new concessions to the Serbs.
Some argued for allowing them to establish political links to their brethren in Croatia and in Yugoslavia's Serbian Republic.
Lake objected, and the issue was left for the president to decide.
But the next day Perry got the bit in his teeth again, commenting at a photo op that ""one of the things that would be considered is allowing a federation between the Bosnian Serbs and the Serbs.
In Brussels, Christopher tried to take back Perry's concession, but the point had already been made.
On another session of ""Meet the Press,'' Gingrich, the new speaker of the House of Representatives, said the allies should pull their peacekeepers out click here Bosnia and provide the Muslims with arms and training.
Then, he said, Gen.
Colin Powell should be sent to tell the Serbs: ""If you launch a general offensive, we would.
Ben Gilman, the new chairman of the renamed International Relations Committee.
But Gingrich's motivation seems mostly opportunistic.
Only last month, he told reporters in Georgia that ""Bosnia is mainly a European problem.
Dole has a more serious interest in Bosnia.
He visited the region in 1990 and came away convinced that Slobodan Milosevic, the president of Yugoslavia's Serbian Republic, intended to provoke ethnic warfare.
Dole's foreign-policy aide, Mira Baratta, is a Croatian-American who has relatives in Bosnia and Croatia and speaks the language.
this web page the next session of Congress, Dole will introduce legislation to unilaterally lift the arms https://hairglam.ru/poker-games/101-poker-game-variations.html />He says he has go here votes lined up, but already his own party is split on Bosnia.
Last week two Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and John Warner of Virginia, announced their opposition to the kind of airstrikes proposed by Dole and Gingrich.
And although the two congressional leaders endorsed the a game of liars poker of U.
Another Democratic aide predicts that the Republicans will take every opportunity to embarrass the administration.
Given Bosnia's sad history, that isn't likely to happen.
By next spring, when the U.
And Dole and Gingrich will be learning the old political lesson that governing is a lot tougher than opposition.

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The Bosnian war was fought on three widely separated fronts last week.
Serb forces continued their assault on the Muslim enclave of Bihac.
Republican leaders pressed their siege of Bill Clinton's White House, demanding bolder action against the Serbs.
And France and Britain launched a brisk counterattack -- warning that if Clinton followed the Republican lead, the Europeans would pull their peacekeepers out of Bosnia and demand thousands of U.
Except for the pounding of Bihac, the strife was mostly talk.
Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich seemed as interested in embarrassing Clinton as in taking on the Serbs.
And the Europeans weren't about to withdraw their peacekeepers.
We say we will withdraw, if.
Dole see if that is a bluff or not.
The allies knew that if they withdraw from Bosnia, the United States would be free to do exactly what the Europeans fear -- bomb the Serbs and arm the Muslims -- which could wreck NATO and widen the war.
The threat to pull out the United Nations ""protection force'' was not aimed solely at the Republicans; it was also a warning to both the Muslims and the Serbs.
The departure of the peacekeepers would almost certainly lead to the fall of Muslim enclaves and confront the predominantly Muslim government with a grave humanitarian crisis.
For the Serbs, a U.
For both sides, the message was that a negotiated settlement would be better than a bigger war later on.
The mandate for the U.
The outlook for peacemaking is further complicated by the fact that relations between Russia and the West are souring rapidly page 39.
As his Bosnian policy crumbled during the past month, President Clinton frequently seemed detached from the issue, aides said.
His foreign-policy advisers had to make tough decisions with less guidance than usual from the theory poker, and some of them, notably Defense Secretary William Perry, took matters into their hands.
The administration zigged and zagged, exasperating its allies and presenting the Republicans with a fat poker game chart target.
A chronology of the month in which the administration ran out of wiggle room on Bosnia: No one should have been surprised when Washington announced it would no longer help enforce the naval embargo on arms shipments to Bosnia.
The action was required by legislation that Democratic leaders drafted to head off a tougher proposal from Dole, who wanted to unilaterally lift the embargo.
The allies knew the U.
Then, after the Republican victory, the administration reneged on the promise, infuriating the British in particular.
On the next day, an administration team led by Perry met to discuss the creation of an ""exclusion zone'' enforced by air power, to stop the Serb attack on Bihac.
The allies wouldn't buy it.
They pointed out that a game of liars poker Bosnian Muslims started the latest round of fighting by launching an offensive from Bihac, a U.
But on Thanksgiving he called back and said protecting Bihac would require more ground troops.
Clinton's basic policy on Bosnia -- use the threat of air power to promote a negotiated settlement -- had come to a dead end.
Over lunch the next day, Perry and Secretary of State Warren Christopher began to draw up a new policy.
Their aim was to save NATO, click the following article Bosnia.
Before meeting the allies in Brussels, Christopher told reporters that Europe needed a new ""security architecture'' to prevent future Bosnias.
The first public hint of a shift in the U.
Watching from his farm in Massachusetts, national-security adviser Anthony Lake was furious.
Normally, he and his aides hold a game of liars poker or distribute ""talking points'' before senior officials make the rounds of the Sunday interview shows.
This weekend Perry was on his own, and click the following article took the opportunity to a game of liars poker the Pentagon's view without interagency hedging.
Lake began drafting another memo to Clinton, arguing that the administration should push even harder for a diplomatic solution.
On the same show, Dole said the peacekeepers should leave and the Muslims should be armed.
The Europeans were incensed.
Later, when Dole visited Britain, Prime Minister John Major and Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd told him off in private.
They warned that Bosnia could become America's war, with the Republicans bearing some of the blame.
They wondered, politely, what impact that would have on the next presidential election.
At a ""principals meeting,'' Clinton's top advisers agreed that without military leverage, a negotiated settlement could be obtained only through new concessions to the Serbs.
Some argued for allowing them to establish political links to their brethren in Croatia and in Yugoslavia's Serbian Republic.
Lake objected, and the issue was left for the president to decide.
But the next day Perry got the bit in his teeth again, commenting at a photo op that ""one of the things that would be considered is allowing a federation between the Bosnian Serbs and the Serbs.
In Brussels, Christopher tried to take back Perry's concession, but the a game of liars poker had already been made.
On another session of ""Meet the Press,'' Gingrich, the new speaker of the House of Representatives, said the allies should pull their peacekeepers out of Bosnia and provide the Muslims with arms and training.
Then, he said, Gen.
Colin Powell should be sent to tell the Serbs: ""If you launch a general offensive, we would.
Ben Gilman, the new chairman of the renamed International Relations Committee.
But Gingrich's motivation seems mostly opportunistic.
Only last month, he told reporters in Georgia that ""Bosnia is mainly a European problem.
Dole has a more serious interest in Bosnia.
He visited the region in 1990 and came away convinced that Slobodan Milosevic, the president of Yugoslavia's Serbian Republic, intended to provoke ethnic warfare.
Dole's foreign-policy aide, Mira Baratta, is a Croatian-American who has relatives in Bosnia and Croatia and speaks the language.
In the next session of Congress, Dole will introduce legislation to unilaterally lift the arms embargo.
He says he has 80 votes lined up, but already his own party is split on Bosnia.
Last week two Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and John Warner of Virginia, announced their opposition to the kind of airstrikes proposed by Dole and Gingrich.
And although the two congressional leaders endorsed the use of U.
Another Democratic aide predicts that the Republicans will take every opportunity to embarrass the administration.
Given Bosnia's sad history, that isn't likely to happen.
By next spring, when the U.
And Dole and Gingrich will be learning the old political lesson that governing is a lot tougher than opposition.

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Liars Poker Analysis 1231 Words | 5 Pages. John Snow October 31st, 2013 Business in Society Liar’s Poker Analysis The book Liar’s Poker begins with Michael Lewis, the author saying "Wall Street,” reads the sinister old gag, "is a street with a river at one end and a graveyard at the other.”


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