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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

Critic Reviews

“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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The movie or the book

We went to see the movie and much as we enjoyed it, apart from the language, it asked more questions than it answered. So we bought the book. It's a good "listen", engrossing and one that brings out the characters of the key players. Great attention to detail, and clear explanations when needed. Like Moneyball, you need to read the book to get the background. Something the movie makers don't have time for.

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surprising.

enjoyed the story. very interesting about how the players on wall street and the big banks caused such a financial mess. hope they learned a lesson. plan to watch the movie now.

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Better suited for a long magazine article.

While an interesting and quick read, seems a little light for a book. Learned a few things though.

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  • Aron
  • Iceland
  • 02-01-16

Great book

Loved it . Finished it in less than a week. Must read for business students

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Wow. Great information on the RE crisis.

there's a lot of financial nomenclature but there's no way around that, it was great information and key to understand what's next in store for the US.

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Good story, and the characters are well introduced

Which scene was your favorite?

The Vegas conference I think. Gives an idea of the huge hubris that was going on around mortgage lending at the time.

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now write a book about those predatory lenders .

a lot of those predatory lenders got away scott free and the Federal Reserve just bailed everybody out

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Justice denied

compelling story that should be used as evidence in criminal trials across the world holding senior bank,regulatory, risk rating, and government officials responsible for fraud ,bad faith and violating banking regulations.

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A tragic comedy of errors!

A beautifully written book that captures the lives of the few who identified stupidity and utter fraud while at the same time looking at a service industry that refused to acknowledge it's shortcomings. The sad reality of humanity however is our short memories. There will be another crisis like this to follow - if not now then shortly afterwards!

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Michael Lewis Scores Again!

What made the experience of listening to The Big Short the most enjoyable?

The characters. I am completely fascinated by the story of the 2008 financial collapse but Lewis' book is better than others because of the characters.

What did you like best about this story?

So I saw the movie the other night and after reading the book I felt like the movie treated the audience like they were stupid. The cameos of Margot Robbie and Anthony Bourdain were talking down to the audience. Lewis never does that he makes you listen and learn and if need be, rewind. His telling of this story challenges the listener/reader to really understand what crashed the American economy.

Which scene was your favorite?

Chapter 7 around the 46th minute. I think it is the most honest part of the story-greed, disbelief, stupidity, and revenge. It's all here.

Any additional comments?

Great storytelling by Lewis and narration by Boggs. The movie might win multiple Oscars and I liked the book so much more.