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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.
The author examines the causes of the U.S. stock market crash of 2008 and its relation to overpriced real estate, bad mortgages, shareholder demand for excessive profits, and the growth of toxic derivatives.
Truth really is stranger than fiction. Who better than the author of the signature bestseller Liar’s Poker to explain how the event we were told was impossible—the free fall of the American economy—finally occurred; how the things that we wanted, like ridiculously easy money and greatly expanded home ownership, were vehicles for that crash; and how shareholder demand for profit forced investment executives to eat the forbidden fruit of toxic derivatives. Michael Lewis’s splendid cast of characters includes villains, a few heroes, and a lot of people who look very, very foolish: high government officials, including the watchdogs; heads of major investment banks (some overlap here with previous category); perhaps even the face in your mirror. In this trenchant, raucous, irresistible narrative, Lewis writes of the goats and of the few who saw what the emperor was wearing, and gives them, most memorably, what they deserve. He proves yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our times.
About the Author
Michael Lewis, the author of Liar’s Poker, The Money Culture, The New New Thing, Moneyball, The Blind Side, Panic, Home Gameand The Big Short, among other works, lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Tabitha Soren, and their three children.
Table of Contents
A secret origin story — In the land of the blind — "How can a guy who can't speak English lie?" — How to harvest a migrant worker — Accidental capitalists — Spider-man at the Venetian — The great treasure hunt — The long quiet — A death of interest — Two men in a boat.
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