Michael Lewis on Wall Street

A laugh is good on a day like today, so here is writer Michael Lewis on how Wall Street-ers can survive the current market mess:

Rule No. 3: Hide your motives. Or, specifically, minimize the appearance of financial interest.

Don’t tell anyone how well you’re doing for yourself, for example, not even women you have just met. Recessions blow in with them a general backlash against worldly pleasures and material obsessions.

You must reckon with this shift in public values, for it will occur even on Wall Street, and threaten to expose your ambition as freakish. A lot of people you thought you knew are about to rediscover what’s important in life: wife, kids, the love of one’s fellow man. But you are not.

Don’t worry: it’s temporary. This is still America.

But people are going to be watching you closely for any sign that you fail to grasp the relative unimportance of money. Mollify them. Acquire some painless habits, for instance, to suggest that you, too, have found meaning in something other than your success.

Sell the Mayback and buy a Prius. Have the gardener plant tomatoes in your yard — but make sure he knows to put them in the front yard, where they can be seen.

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