Written long before the 2008 crash, before the spectacular flame-outs of SocGen's Kerviel, Goldman's Tourre and JP Morgan's Iksil (the famous "London Whale"), Michael Lewis' account of his adventures inside the trading desk at Salomon Brothers is simply the most insightful and entertaining foray into the world of high stakes gambling (with, by the way, your money) ever written.
After studying art history and meeting the right executive's wife at a dinner, Lewis is hired at the world's most famous bond trading outfit - just before the invention of subprimes. His easy talent with language, his keen eye for the telling detail, combined with just enough ironic distance from the unbelievable (but true) characters he portrays make this a wonderful read even for people who know or care nothing for the financial markets.
If, in addition, you would like to understand something about the motivations of the prime actors in the global tragedy that is the worldwide financial crisis, then this book is an absolute must.
Also highly recommended: The Big Short.