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)
Really fascinating stuff but be warned that understanding the trades that were occurring isn't all that straight forward
The big banks are not you friends. Bank at a local small bank that doesn't have an international investment arm.
This is my second book by Lewis and what a delight it was!
Having listened to Christine Richard's Confidence Game (also a great book), which talks about MBIA and Bill Ackman's short position, The Big Short helps to further clarify things like "trenches" and other terminology used on commercial paper. It also helps me understand the role of insurance companies and ratings on ABS.
Narrator was great, and story helps me feel more informed.
Loved the topic and the story. Listened to it in my truck, and didn't want to leave when I got to my appointments. Can't get enough of this topic. Thank you Michael Lewis.
Extremely helpful analysis of the derivatives business during the financial meltdown leading to an eventual bailout of the investment banks which were responsible for the naked risks which caused the calamity. Awesome story and looking forward to the movie.
I wonder if Michael Lewis is interested in informing his readers of the entire story of the 2007-2009 Financial Crisis and not just the parts that fit a narrative that sells books?
This book will provide mental certainty for some people who want to only focus on some (and important aspects) of the Crisis. But it misses other large parts of the crisis and the following response to it.
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.
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