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Essential Finance-Related Books

I have listed a number of books below that I strongly recommend to any aspiring finance professionals. These will help you to understand the world of finance, get you up to speed with how the financial industry has changed over time and, more importantly, give you a good reason to pick up a book again.

Barbarians at the Gates (1989): Recounts the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco (the largest ever LBO at the time), written by investigative journalists Bryan Burrough and John Helyar. The book is based upon a series of articles written by the authors for The Wall Street Journal. It is widely considered as one of the finest, most compelling accounts of what happened to corporate America and Wall Street in the 1980's, shaping the future for corporate raiders at the time and paving the way for acquisition-fuelled takeovers using high-yield debt. Provides an entertaining insight into the takeover process.

Tags: Corporate Raider, Private Equity, Investment Banking.

Liar's Poker (1989): A non-fiction, semi-autobiographical book by Michael Lewis describing the author's experiences as a bond salesman on Wall Street during the late 1980s. The book captures an important period in the history of Wall Street, with two important figures in that history featured prominently in the text: the head of Salomon Brothers' mortgage department Lewis Ranieri (pioneer of the mortgage-backed security) and the firm's CEO John Gutfreund. The book mainly focuses on the mortgage bond department whose fortune closely traced the speculative bubble in various mortgage backed securities in the 80s.

Tags: Bond Trading, Investment Banking.