Featuring an exclusive audio interview with Michael Lewis
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 number-one best-selling Liar’s Poker. "Who got it right?" he asks. Who saw the ever-rising 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 best sellers, proving yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our times.
©2010 Michael Lewis (P)2010 Simon & Schuster
“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.” (Michiko Kakutani - The New York 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 subprime sexy all over again.” (Andrew Leonard - Salon.com)
"[Michael Lewis] is the finest storyteller of our generation.” (Malcolm Gladwell)
Very interesting style to describe a complex situation and make it sound interesting for the listener. It takes some effort though to connect the dots between several new concepts if you were not familiar with financial terms. However it is worth the effort as by the end you have a better insight of what caused the last big crisis. Really recommended.
Lewis makes the complex world of high finance accessible and entertaining. He chooses great characters to show the madness of the recession.
Once the key players were established and their respective trajectories defined, the overall story and their outcomes transformed into a need to know. Against a backdrop of historical catastrophe within the world of finance, three key stories evolve with anticipated, "beat the world" endings. Ironically, these three key subjects did not have money at the epicenter of their existence, but all were treated as outcasts as they defied the establishments of greed and utter, global deception. In the end, the anticipation is fulfilled, but not quite with the expected resolve and grandeur one might envision.
Interviews with M. Lewis were great and I would have enjoyed hearing Michael read the entire passage. Nonetheless, the performance was great and the reader possessed some of the same common man, common sense qualities that Michael conveys in his stories, subject matter, and style of writing.
This is one of the most clear and valuable accounts of the events leading up to the '07 financial crisis. The author has an intimate perspective, and his writing style makes this a genuine page turner. I recommend to anyone interested in politics, finance, or sociology.
Outstanding. A true story of how the greedy US bankers ruined the world economy and why Glass Steigel should never have been revoked. And a great insight into one of the more brilliant and non conventional beneficiaries.
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