If you read only one book about the causes of the recent financial crisis, let it be Michael Lewis' The Big Short. The thing that makes his story so great is that he tells it through the eyes of the 4 groups of men that had the courage to take a position that opposed the smartest men in the financial industry and, sad to say, our government. They were some of the first to see the fraud behind the subprime meltdown and found a way to make a fortune off the financial systems' crash.
Michael Lewis'; new book gives a slightly less complicated view into the disaster by recounting the stories of these savvy renegades who cashed in on their belief that the system was rotten. In doing so, we end up rooting for people who helped bring about the catastrophe that put a lot of good people out of work.
Still, the stories of these men make clear the greed, stupidity and double standards of a system lacking in grown-up supervision. A system, refueled by tax payer billions, that continues to be filled with the same firms, the same super rich executives, and the same destructive thought processes that disdained the need for government regulation in good times, but insisted on being rescued by government in bad times.
This is a fascinating book that should be read by anyone that wants to better understand the causes of the recent financial crisis. Be careful, as one reader put it, "Don't read this if you want to mellow out. This book will make you furious."
Perhaps because I've read SO much good journalism about this and heard Michael Lewis speak on it so eloquently on radio & TV, the pace of this account was hard for me to get into. I found it slow, with explanations of default swaps and collateralized debt obligations and short sells that I've become bored of since the crash. I suspect the written book trumps the audio because you can skim dry economic explanations whereas the narrator has to plod through them slowly. You'll need to be willing to put in time and effort for this one. I'm not.
Michael Lewis takes the biggest financial collapse in history and then unravels its root causes and masterfully explains them. The Big Short answers the many questions about the meltdown and will make a Wall Street cynic of you if you're not already one. It will also make you ask over and over again, "Why did no one go to jail? Surely there should have been hundreds in jail and billions of dollars in fines." Instead no one goes to jail and the criminals were handed billions more in tax payer bonuses. Eye-opener of a book.
The coherent and scary story of the financial crisis. And probably the ongoing story. Eye opening is an understatement. While the public was left behind ... and then had to pay for it all. Lives ruined.
Very well written. Well told. Scary and yet should be required reading for every citizen.
Michael Lewis tells the story of the greatest financial catastrophe in history through detailed subplots involving hedge fund managers and financial analysts who figured out what was coming and made big bets on the outcomes.
The only missing piece (and it's a big one) is the lack of commentary on federal government policies that made the sub-prime mortgage market inevitable by forcing mortgage lenders to downgrade or eliminate credit standards and mandating FannieMae and FreddyMac to insure or buy sub-prime mortgage debt.
This is a good solid 3. I have absolutely zero finance knowledge so I sometimes felt I would have been better off with a physical book so I could take my time and read over some parts again. Interesting characters and well written.
Welcome to our group Dakota; welcome to my life Summer, you've made it so much better. Give back to our wounded warriors who gave so much.
This is the story of a few guys who predicted the sub-prime bust and got rich from their prescience. It also details the stories of the people who resented these men; even as they made their doubters ridiculously wealthy. It further details the mass insanity of a world that naively held the view that a boom could be perpetual. The insanity brought about by the erosion of regulations, up to and including Glass-Stegall that eventually broke the world economy evolved from a belief that markets are omniscient. Which in the case of a basic honest market may be true. However given the roulette wheel that is Wall Street is not only a baseless assumption, but a dangerous one. This book detailed the myriad of ways in which the system was manipulated. The story of the 24,000 thousand dollar a year Strawberry picker who qualified for the 750,000 mortgage is indicative of the what the lack of accountability does to the marketplace. As always Michael Lewis does a great job in breaking down complex financial actions into easily understandable language. Like most of his books it is a five star effort.
Besides the perfect production of The Big Short, this is one of the most fascinating books I've ever listened to. We all have a general understanding of the cause of the economic recession of 2008, but it is rather small minded. We tend to think "oh, it was all those idiots taking out mortgages they couldn't pay for!" Or we thought "it was overspeculation on the housing market!" Michael Lewis provides an accurate look at the underlying problems, the real unfairness, and some priceless insight to the state of our economy and society.
Reads like a documentary
Many technical terms to learn
Lots of dry humor
Overall awesome book. I can't wait to get my hands on more.