The always awesome Michael Lewis (Money Ball, The Blind Side, Liar’s Poker) writes about the current financial crisis for Portfolio Magazine. Lewis left a cushy job with Salomon Brothers because the whole enterprise appeared to be a house of cards – in the late 80s.
…the willingness of a Wall Street investment bank to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispense investment advice to grownups remains a mystery to me. I was 24 years old, with no experience of, or particular interest in, guessing which stocks and bonds would rise and which would fall. The essential function of Wall Street is to allocate capital—to decide who should get it and who should not. Believe me when I tell you that I hadn’t the first clue.
I’d never taken an accounting course, never run a business, never even had savings of my own to manage. I stumbled into a job at Salomon Brothers in 1985 and stumbled out much richer three years later, and even though I wrote a book about the experience, the whole thing still strikes me as preposterous—which is one of the reasons the money was so easy to walk away from. I figured the situation was unsustainable.
Lewis is the author of the upcoming book on modern finacial crises: Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity.