His first job in finance came along serendipitously. While getting his master's in economics, he attended a dinner party where he sat next to, and charmed, "these women whose husbands ran Salomon Brothers International," he writes for Money. "I got along quite well with one of the women, and she made her husband hire me after the dinner. It was just about the best possible place to land on Wall Street at that moment."
By his late 20s, Lewis was earning a $60,000 salary, plus a bonus of $160,000. That's about when he knew he wanted to leave Salomon Brothers and pursue his dream of writing full-time.
"I remember when I told my dad that I wanted to quit. … My dad thought I was crazy to walk away from that kind of money," Lewis recalls. "He said, 'Stay ten years and you won't have to work any longer. Then you can write your novels till you die.'"
"But when I looked around at the guys who were ten years older than me, I saw that none of them could leave. If I'd stayed, I would have been trapped by that success; the money would have gotten too big, and my life would've changed."