Unlike (nearly all, or all) academic economics books, which 'explain' that arbitrage does not and cannot exist, Lewis explains to us how the big bond houses live from arbitrage (buying low from the government or somewhere else and selling a bit higher to you and me). The book is a rare, a highly entertaining and very informative jewel: Lewis rightfully and poetically calls brokerage houses 'full servive casinos', far better than Monte Carlo or Las Vegas. Not only will they accept and place your bets, they'll also lend you (a large fraction of) the money needed to place your bets (margin)! A very good book to read now (1/27/00) during the 'wild ride' before the present big market bubble goes: POP!
Unfortunately, Lewis tells us too litlte about Meriwether, who later seduced two of the top finance academics (they were willing) and, with their aid, constructed the huge, uncontrolled experiment in 'equilibrium theory' called 'Long Term Capital Management' (LTCM). Their philosophy, also believed uncritically by most working economists, was and likely still is: Equilibrium will prevail (even in the absence of restoring forces!). For the continuation of the story where Liar's poker leaves off ('portfolio insurance', arbitrage and more arbitrage, and the formation and collapse of the bubble called LTCM), see the new book "Inventing Money".