With his trademark humor and brilliant anecdotes, Lewis paints the mood and market factors leading up to each event, weaves contemporary accounts to show what people thought was happening at the time, and then, with the luxury of hindsight, analyzes what actually happened and what we should have learned from experience.
As he proved in Liar's Poker, The New New Thing, and Moneyball, Lewis is without peer in his understanding of market forces and human foibles. He is also, arguably, the funniest serious writer in America.
©2008 Michael Lewis; (P)2008 Simon & Schuster Audio
What the description doesn't tell you is this is a series of articles written over the past 20 years - many of them not by Lewis. If this will annoy you, steer clear.
With that said, there are some really good articles here. As for many of them being 'old', the value they provide is perspective. It will be years before we have perspective on the 2008 melt down. It's a bit easier to have perspective of the financial crisis of '87, '97, and 2000. With these, we can start having some with the 2008 situation.
Lewis, selects articles written in the boom preceding the bust and in the midst of the crisis. His narrative adds his own analysis and perspective around these articles.
The primary themes and lessons of these events are: 1) The markets are very complicated and very few people understand them - even after the fact. 2) Often these busts are caused by groups attempting to exploit a condition supported by market technicalities. 3) People often believe the current event is "the end of the world" or the "the end of Capitalism". 4) The environment of the the Global Economy seems to be increasing the frequency and strength of these boom bust cycles. 5) As painful as they are, they don't foretell the end of the world and we'll be better off when we recognize this reality not Panic!
I love Michael Lewis but this is a poor effort. It's just a compendium of articles from Lewis and others over the last 20 years. Interesting maybe, but there's nothing new and it feels as if he is just taking advantage of the current financial mess rather than contributing something original.
Michael Lewis is at his best writing about the business and personalities he has known first hand from his Wall Street experience. This book paints an in-depth and disturbing picture of the Wall Street "doomsday machines," as Lewis aptly calls them. What we see in the "sub-prime" collapse are our major investment banks--with a few notable exceptions--so driven by competitive and ego-centered pressures for ever-larger profits and bonuses that prudent and responsible management oversight was abandoned. The shame in this case is that the consequences of their irresponsibility fell not only on the banks' shareholders but on the country as a whole, because the painful day of reckoning has wreaked havoc throughout the credit markets. It is abundantly clear from this account that business as usual the old Wall Street way can no longer be tolerated by the country, and reform is inevitable. Let us hope the reform is sensible and responsible.
I gave the book only three stars, because the best chapters (by Lewis himself) are already available on the internet. Further, his best piece on the subprime crisis was not included in the book. You can find it, however, on the Conde Nast, Portfolio.com website--an article in the December 2008 edition, entitled, appropriately, "The End."
I always feel like I'm missing something when I read an abridged book. Nobody's fault but mine, I do like the author tho.
Just one narrator please!
Nothing significant to add to other reviewers - Audible just requires me to review in order to add my rating. This is an interesting compilation of sometimes antiquated articles. Nothing new. I love Lewis' work, but cannot recommend this specific compilation.
I normally love Michael Lewis, but this book left me short. The problem here is that this wasn't really a Lewis book it is more like a well done journalism thesis or academic work. The comparison of the pieces written at the different times is interesting in a big picture way but reading the articles themselves get a bit repetitive.
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