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The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine | [Michael Lewis]

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

“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)

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  •  
    Paul Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada 06-06-10
    Paul Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada 06-06-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating read"

    If you are interested in getting some insight into the credit crisis; and the way the financial system works (or doesn't). This should be on your required reading list. At the end of the book, it reinforces some of the more cynical thoughts I had about the financial market.. Makes you think twice before blindly trusting your retirement savings with your not so favourite broker.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Roanoke, TX, USA 06-03-10
    James Roanoke, TX, USA 06-03-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    23
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    "Fascinating"

    As someone who followed the 2008 financial crisis closely, I found this book to be utterly fascinating. It reads like a thriller, and its true life characters made me laugh out loud. I think different people can read this and draw wildly different conclusions about what it all means, but regardless of your political bent, the story itself is a great one.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Bozeman Knoxville, Tennessee 06-02-10
    B. Bozeman Knoxville, Tennessee 06-02-10 Member Since 2012

    Driving over 100,000 mile a year since 1983, I got hooked on audible books on tape 30 years back. I now listen from my bicycle 2 hours a day

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating"

    I wish I knew how to evaluate the accuracy of Lewis assertions since I've read a number of reviews that challenge his premise. But I have no problem recommending this book as a compelling look into the strange idiocy of credit default swaps and the characters of Wall Street who played roles in the financial disaster.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jack englewood, CO, United States 05-28-10
    jack englewood, CO, United States 05-28-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Great book"

    This was the best of the books I have read on the financial meltdown. Americans need to read and understand how unethical Wall Street has been for decades. Most of these people should be in jail, instead they are enjoying the millions they ripped off from the working people around the world. The government just paid for their losses and let them carry on business as usual.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Rochester Hills, MI, USA 05-12-10
    Greg Rochester Hills, MI, USA 05-12-10 Member Since 2009
    ratings
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    13
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    "Great book"

    Great book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Satterfield 05-03-10
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    26
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    "Clear explanation of financial crisis"

    Excellent description of what happened in financial crash, good descriptions of complicated securities.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonnie Panama City, FL, United States 05-02-10
    Jonnie Panama City, FL, United States 05-02-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Clarity and entertainment on the fiscal crisis"

    Michael Lewis is a great writer. I have read three or four books on the recent Wall Street fiasco and Lewis has the most easily understood and most entertaining explanation of any of them. If you like this book try Moneyball.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel 05-02-10
    Joel 05-02-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    28
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    "Best explanation of sub-prime mortgage meltdown"

    Once again Michael Lewis has taken a very complex financial engineering product and made it simple for us to understand. A great read that explains why the financial markets melted down. The book keeps your attention all the way to the last word.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Blumstein NYC 05-02-10
    Michael Blumstein NYC 05-02-10 Member Since 2006

    Michael Blumstein

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Compelling"

    This is the first non-fiction audiobook that I've listened to (which I do when running). It was compelling; I literally could have run for hours. The only distraction was that the narrator mispronounced a number of the names (how does that happen??).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rupert Blairstown, NJ, USA 04-30-10
    Rupert Blairstown, NJ, USA 04-30-10 Member Since 2012
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    3
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    "Best Explanation"

    This is the best explanation of what really happened on Wall Street 2003 until the meltdown of 07/08. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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