THE MONEY CULTURE by Michael Lewis


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 With this collection of 30-odd pieces (all previously published in a half-dozen magazine and newspapers), Lewis (Liar's Poker, 1989) stakes a further claim to being the wittiest critic of private enterprise since the pseudonymous ``Adam Smith'' was plying his merry trade during the go-go 1960's. Young, gifted, and glib, the author delivers a wealth of deliciously wicked profiles on contemporary Wall Streeters, their offshore counterparts, and other predatory notables whose status is dollar denominated. Among others, he dispatches nouveau-riche Australians, Japan's kamikaze capitalists, TV-personality Louis Rukeyser (the nominal sponsor of seaborne investment seminars remarkable mainly for their ship-of-fools quality), the juvenile delinquents whose passion for speculating in financial futures has convulsed the Paris bourse, Donald Trump, LBO accessories, and other fast-trackers who show little care for socioeconomic consequences. Though largely informed by the serious purpose of capturing instances of greed, pretension, and wretched excess in the global financial village, Lewis's often antic reportage goes down with deceptive ease. A delightfully light touch is evident even in his assessment of such weighty subjects as what havoc a natural disaster (e.g., an earthquake) in Tokyo could wreak on the world's capital markets. Not every entry is a winner; there is, for example, an overlong and not very original exposÇ on the putatively upscale charge cards merchandised by American Express. On the whole, however, the compilation sets a very high standard and provides an evocative, if not precisely nostalgic, record of the recent past's megabuck madnesses.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1991
ISBN: 0-393-03037-7
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1991


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