elmonoenano, January 5, 2011 (view all comments by elmonoenano)
It wasn't until I'd read this book that I began to feel I had an understanding of what happened to the economy in 2008. I finally was able to understand what CDO's, Credit Default Swaps, etc. were. This book is fundamental to civilly engagement.
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Murray, January 5, 2011 (view all comments by Murray)
Takes a highly complicated subject matter(derivatives) and explains them in easy to comprehend terms. The varied players in this real life story are very compelling and a few are eccentric.
Roger Long, January 3, 2011 (view all comments by Roger Long)
This is an extremely entertaining and sometimes even hilarious book, and yet, in the end, it's sobering. Depressing, even. The book is the story of the subprime mortgage debacle told from the point of view some of the very few people who saw it coming. The interesting thing about these people is they all seem to be people who are compulsively honest, virtually incapable of lying, whereas the far larger number of people who participated eagerly in the debacle were so in the habit of lying that they lied to themselves, and believed it.
The most depressing aspect of the book is that, after the collapse, virtually all of the guilty parties kept their ill-gotten gains, and their jobs, and are yet again collecting obscene bonuses on Wall Street.
Tim Mallory, January 2, 2011 (view all comments by Tim Mallory)
3 guys from Berkeley can't believe that all those unemployed nuclear scientists from texas that went to wall street could not only make such myopic decisions but continue to believe in them - and not see to get out when it starts to collapse.
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
0 stars -
W. W. Norton & Company -
The roots of the bubble and the story of Wall Street's collapse can be told no clearer — nor with as much humor — as by Michael Lewis. If you read only one book that explains the current economic crisis, make it The Big Short.
by Mark P.,
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.
by Mark P.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Although Lewis is perhaps best known for his sports-related nonfiction (including The Blind Side), his first book was the autobiographical Liar's Poker, in which he chronicled his disillusionment as a young gun on Wall Street in the 'greed is good' 1980s. He returns to his financial roots to excavate the crisis of 2007 — 2008, employing his trademark technique of casting a microcosmic lens on the personal histories of several Wall Street outsiders who were betting against the grain — to shed light on the macrocosmic tale of greed and fear. Although Lewis reads the book's introduction, narration duties are assumed by Jesse Boggs, a veteran narrator of business titles (including Lewis's own 2008 book Panic!). Boggs's rich baritone is well suited to the task and trips lightly through a maze of financial jargon (CDOs, derivatives, mid-prime lending) and a dizzying cast of characters. Lewis returns on the final disc for a 10-minute interview about the crisis's aftermath, including a savvy assessment of the wisdom of the financial bailout and where-are-they-now updates on the book's various heroes and villains. A Norton hardcover. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair,
"It is the work of our greatest financial journalist, at the top of his game. And it's essential reading."
"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 subprime sexy all over again."
by The New York Times Book Review,
"[A] strikingly original take that offers an enhanced understanding of the debacle....Since his first book, Liar's Poker, Lewis has tackled big, engaging stories...by finding and developing characters whose personal narratives reveal a larger truth. He's done it again."
by The New York Times,
"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."
by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.),
"I recommend everyone within the sound of my voice to read [this] book."
by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.),
"I’ve joined a lot of other people in just finishing Michael Lewis’s book, The Big Short, and it’s really an eye-opener of what was going on at the time that this real estate bubble was created."
In this brilliant account of how the U.S. economy has been driven over the cliff, the author of the bestseller Liar's Poker explains how the free fall of the American economy occurred and who, exactly, is to blame.
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.
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