For outsiders the financial sector, especially the part not accessible for the average guy, can seem to be kind of remote and unapproachable. You have the feeling that you only get to have an inside look when the sector causes an enormous crisis such as in 2007/2008.
However, there are actually better ways to get a closer look into the industry and the people who work in it than waiting for the next crisis.
We compiled a shortlist of the 5 books we think provide for a good start. With some of them telling quite intense stories, this reading list gives you a good glimpse of the sector and the extreme personalities and situations that arise with it.
The Big Short tells the story of a few characters that foresee the bursting of the American real estate bubble and decide to bet on it. What’s interesting is that the content is not limited to the characters and therefore, also describes the development of an enormous crisis and how endless greed had been playing its role.
This book from Michael Lewis is both a youthful memoir and a journalistic look at the inner workings of Salomon Brothers, a Wall Street firm that grew fat trading bonds and then crashed and burned. The book takes place, roughly, between the years 1984 and 1987, and so I wasn’t surprised that the book reminded me of the movie Wall Street – just replace Gordon Gecko with Salomon’s head John Gutfreund.
M&A Titans, is a very good book to get look behind the curtain and some interesting insides to the world of M&A by deconstructing some of Wall Street’s most important players within this field and discussing what drove them, how they won deals, lost others, and battled to overcome insurmountable odds. Through in-depth interviews and extensive research, Brett Cole skillfully introduces you to the institutions and individuals that paved the way for modern M&A.
Andrew Sorkin’s “Too Big to Fail” describes how the Wall Street and especially the US government were affected by the downfall of Lehman Brothers which was the ultimate kick off for the financial crisis. After the release of his book, Andrew Sorkin has earned a lot of positive critics, especially for the level of details of the events going on behind the scenes.
Sebastian Mallaby’s book, “More Money Than God”, addresses the ignorance of people quickly blaming hedge funds if something goes wrong in the financial markets. A superbly researched history of hedge-fund heroes stretching back to the 1950s, it is a fascinating tale of the mavericks who created successful, flexible businesses in an otherwise conventional financial world