After starting off on the bond desk at Salomon Brothers, American author and financial journalist Michael Lewis grew disillusioned and left to write an account of his experiences in the industry. Published in 1989, Liar's Poker remains one of the most highly regarded chronicles of investment banking and the excesses of an era. Since then, Lewis has found great success as a journalist and bestselling author.

His nonfiction ranges over a variety of topics: finance, politics, economics, fatherhood, and sports. Both of his books about sports became movies nominated for Academy Awards, as did The Big Short, his book about the 2008 financial crisis. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and columnist at Bloomberg View. As one of the most prolific author-journalists of his time, Lewis is the recipient of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes as well as notable selection features on the New York Times Bestsellers Lists.

Become a Subscriber

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading this article.

Subscribe Now

Lewis got his first taste for literary ambition as a student at Princeton University in the early 1980's. Unlike many writers, however, he never published a word during his college years. Instead at Princeton he mostly studied paintings and sculptures, intending to become an art historian. However, after completing his 166-page senior thesis titled "Donatello and the Antique," Lewis realized that his real calling was to write books. In 1982 he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in art and archaeology from Princeton.

Since then, the bond salesman turned literary sensation has maintained a strong connection to Princeton – both personal and professional in nature. This includes getting married in the chapel at Princeton University in 1985 — to a fellow Tiger. While nearly three decades later, the writer was back to proudly celebrate his 30th reunion. But one of Lewis's biggest and most memorable moments at the school came in 2012 when he was asked to deliver a speech during Princeton’s 265th Baccalaureate ceremony, one of the institution's oldest traditions. While addressing graduating seniors from high in the Chapel pulpit, Lewis provided some thought-provoking words on the merits of success, the relationship between luck and good fortune, and the responsibility that luck warrants.

"Above all, recognize that if you have had success, you have also had luck — and with luck comes obligation. You owe a debt, and not just to your Gods. You owe a debt to the unlucky," Lewis said, poignantly urging his young audience to triumph over all of the moral and social shortcomings that his books often report on.