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The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machineby Michael Lewis
Lewis describes the causes of the financial crisis with clarity, while putting it all in a very human context by focusing on a few of the individuals involved. It would have been easy for Lewis to second guess — in retrospect, it seems crazy to have expected house values to rise forever — but he reminds us how truly difficult it was at the time to foresee the conditions where a collapse was possible and how few people actually did predict it.
Synopses & Reviews
When the crash of the U. S. stock market became public knowledge in the fall of 2008, it was already old news. The real crash, the silent crash, had taken place over the previous year, in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn't shine, and the SEC doesn't dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can't pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren't talking.
The crucial question is this: Who understood the risk inherent in the assumption of ever-rising real estate prices, a risk compounded daily by the creation of those arcane, artificial securities loosely based on piles of doubtful mortgages? Michael Lewis turns the inquiry on its head to create a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 best-selling Liar's Poker. Who got it right? he asks. Who saw the real estate market for the black hole it would become, and eventually made billions of dollars from that perception? And what qualities of character made those few persist when their peers and colleagues dismissed them as Chicken Littles?
Out of this handful of unlikely — really unlikely — heroes, Lewis fashions a story as compelling and unusual as any of his earlier bestsellers, proving yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our times.
"Superb: Michael Lewis doing what he does best, illuminating the idiocy, madness and greed of modern finance....Lewis achieves what I previously imagined impossible: He makes sub-prime sexy all over again." Pam Houston
"No one writes with more narrative panache about money and finance than Mr. Lewis....[he] does a nimble job of using his subjects' stories to explicate the greed, idiocies and hypocrisies of a system notably lacking in grown-up supervision....Writing in faintly Tom Wolfe-ian prose, Mr. Lewis does a colorful job of introducing the lay reader to the Darwinian world of the bond market." Andrew Leonard
Book News Annotation:
When US financial markets began to crash in 2008, many pundits expressed surprise at their fragility, but some individuals involved in the markets had foreseen the problems inherent in the debt-and-real-estate shenanigans of the markets and bet against them, reaping great rewards from their short calls. This work by Lewis, who described his own experiences in the US bond markets in the popular Liar's Poker, tells the story of some of these short-sellers, exposing many of the systemic flaws in the financial markets along the way. This is a paperbound edition of a work first published in 2010. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
"It is the work of our greatest financial journalist, at the top of his game. And it's essential reading." Vanity Fair
The #1 New York Times bestseller: "It is the work of our greatest financial journalist, at the top of his game. And it's essential reading."—Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair
In this provocative book, Yanis Varoufakis—the fiery finance minister in Greek’s new Syriza-led government—explodes the myth that financialization, ineffective regulation of banks, and generalized greed and globalization were the root causes of the global economic crisis. Rather, he shows, they are symptoms of a much deeper malaise, one that can be traced all the way back to the Great Depression, then through the stagflation of the 1970s, when a “Global Minotaur” was born. Today’s deepening crisis in Europe, Varoufakis shows, is just one of the inevitable signs of the weakening Minotaur—of a global system that is now as unsustainable as it is unbalanced. Rather than simply diagnose a problem, however, Varoufakis also offers a solution, a program for introducing reason into what has become a perniciously irrational economic order.
An essential, powerfully polemical account of the hidden histories that continue to shape our world and economy today, this book from a major player on the stage of world finance will be essential reading for economists, policy makers, and regular citizens alike.
The real story of the crash began in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn't shine and the SEC doesn't dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can't pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren't talking. Michael Lewis creates a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 bestseller . Out of a handful of unlikely-really unlikely-heroes, Lewis fashions a story as compelling and unusual as any of his earlier bestsellers, proving yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our time.
About the Author
Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of Liar's Poker, The Money Culture, The New New Thing, Moneyball, The Blind Side, Panic, Home Game, The Big Short, and Boomerang, among other works, lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.
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