As someone who started their first job in the financial services industry in New York in the late 1990’s, the book Liars Poker by Michael Lewis was compulsory reading.
As someone who worked in Salomon Brothers in New York back in the 1980’s, he was around at the development of the products we now know as sub-prime mortgages and the like. He’s left that business over 20 years, but he went back to write a very interesting article about why things are the way they are in the financial markets – in America in particular at the moment.
You can check out the article here. The clincher:
Long Beach Financial was moving money out the door as fast as it could, few questions asked, in loans built to self-destruct. It specialized in asking homeowners with bad credit and no proof of income to put no money down and defer interest payments for as long as possible. In Bakersfield, California, a Mexican strawberry picker with an income of $14,000 and no English was lent every penny he needed to buy a house for $720,000.
If you have a chance to read any of his books, I can highly recommend them. Though it’s about baseball in the US, his book MoneyBall is brilliant – it deals with how statistical analysis is taking over sport. As an example, there are actually a couple of English premiership managers who cite MoneyBall (and the people in baseball behind the story) as influencing how they manage their teams now.