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The Big Short Audiobook

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

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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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (9620 )
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Performance
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  •  
    L 04-10-10
    L 04-10-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrific characters, fascinating story"

    If you don't understand why we suffered the big collapse of financial markets, this will explain it. If you already know what CDSs and CDOs are, you'll still find this fascinating because it's a retelling from the ground by people who watched it happen and participated in it while it happened. Third, if you like to read Lewis, you won't be disappointed.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Los Angeles, CA, USA 03-27-10
    Robert Los Angeles, CA, USA 03-27-10
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    "Great Read"

    Michael Lewis has the gift of being able to explain the most complicated financial concepts in easy to understand language. He has done this in spades in describing the conplicated sub-prime morgage market and the complex financial instuments conceved of by the so called wizards of wall street. A must for any investor or anyone interested in investing. It reads like a mystery thriller.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 08-12-16
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 08-12-16 Member Since 2015

    Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.

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    "GREED"

    In “The Big Short” and “No One Would Listen”, Michael Lewis and Harry Markopolos reveal man’s incompetence and greed. Lewis details the collapse of the real estate industry and Markopolos dissects Bernie Madoff’s multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. This is the 21st century but we still live in Thomas Hobbes’ 17th century world.

    “The Big Short” and “No One Would Listen” reveal the nuts and bolts of how smart and stupid a free society can be. There is plenty of blame for every person involved; both perpetrator and victim. Human nature is an equal opportunity victimizer. Freedom of opportunity beckons good and bad behavior in humankind.

    Regulation is not a perfect solution for control of bad actors in a free society. However, no regulation is worse. The forensic reports of Michael Lewis and Harry Markopolos show what happens when efforts to regulate human nature are abandoned. Thomas Hobbes’ “Leviathan” lives to wreck havoc on society.

    The narrators of these two books, Jesse Boggs and Scott Brick, are easy to listen to and the author’s forensic stories are valuable to hear.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Riordan 09-07-15
    T. Riordan 09-07-15 Member Since 2016
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    "good, and interesting, but slow in some parts"

    I have listened to Flash Boys and read Liars Poker and Moneyball by the author. Those books moved at a faster pace I think, more engrossing. In all a good piece of work, just not his best.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    thomas charlotte, NC, United States 06-15-15
    thomas charlotte, NC, United States 06-15-15 Member Since 2012

    I focus mainly on History, Endurance Sports and Science/Speculative Fiction books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Only if they were interested in finance.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Good overview of what happened and how the bubble burst.


    What does Jesse Boggs bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He did a good job.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Probably not, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.


    Any additional comments?

    History will repeat itself. Understanding the financial past can only benefit you as you make future decisions.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael J Canning 04-12-14 Member Since 2015
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    "The best of Michael Lewis' many excellent books"
    Where does The Big Short rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    As someone who worked rather extensively on financial regulatory policy during and immediately after the financial crisis, I thought I understood quite a bit about factors contributing to the sub-prime bubble and about structured finance generally. But it was not until I read this book that I really grasped the full extent to which most of the "masters of the universe" on Wall Street had no idea what the f--k their banks and funds were doing in the frenzy of securitization and greed in the years preceding the financial crisis.

    For anyone who wants to understand exactly how we went from a booming bull market in 2006 to near economic and financial collapse in 2008, this is the book to read.

    Michael Lewis at his incisive best.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    The mechanics of mortgage "tranching," and the extent to which so many Wall Street firms were genuinely blindsided when the monster they conceived, nurtured, and created, came calling for them. (I loved how Lewis correctly notes that it was Goldman Sachs who first recognized the nature of the systemic risk they did so much to create, and managed to profit from it...love them or hate them (and I put myself in the latter category), its uncanny how those guys are always a step ahead.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Me & My Girls 10-17-13 Member Since 2016

    Thanks and respect to the women that served and paid a high price. You are still gorgeous Shi; your scars make you even more beautiful.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A few winners"

    This is the story of a few guys who predicted the sub-prime bust and got rich from their prescience. It also details the stories of the people who resented these men; even as they made their doubters ridiculously wealthy. It further details the mass insanity of a world that naively held the view that a boom could be perpetual. The insanity brought about by the erosion of regulations, up to and including Glass-Stegall that eventually broke the world economy evolved from a belief that markets are omniscient. Which in the case of a basic honest market may be true. However given the roulette wheel that is Wall Street is not only a baseless assumption, but a dangerous one. This book detailed the myriad of ways in which the system was manipulated. The story of the 24,000 thousand dollar a year Strawberry picker who qualified for the 750,000 mortgage is indicative of the what the lack of accountability does to the marketplace. As always Michael Lewis does a great job in breaking down complex financial actions into easily understandable language. Like most of his books it is a five star effort.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 05-16-13
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 05-16-13 Member Since 2011

    I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An analysis that makes real sense!"

    I've read Paul Krugman books, I've read about the collapse of Bear Stern, I've read Lewis' aftermath book, "Travels in the New Third World" and they've been amazing and enlightening, but never before has the structure of the financial collapse and its exact cause been so clearly delineated. This book doesn't dumb down, doesn't simplify, but tells a human and exciting story about a market gone completely mad and the few people who saw it coming. You'll learn about Wall Street, how it ticks and what happened between 2005 and 2008.

    The narrator is spot on, the pacing is perfect, the information is incredible and understandable for someone without an economics background, the characters are well drawn and likeable, but more than anything this is a cracking good story of an imminent disaster and exactly what went wrong. Please, please read it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Kim 06-10-12
    Joshua Kim 06-10-12

    mostly nonfiction listener

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Lewis and The Great Recession"

    Now I finally understand the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. I mean, I understood that in general too many people took out mortgages they could not afford, and when housing prices stopped going up each year that many of these people could not refinance or sell and therefore could not pay their loans. What I did not understand, prior to reading The Big Short, was the credit default swap and how Wall Street and the big insurance companies got themselves in so much trouble that they needed to be bailed out. This is a fun book to read because Lewis is at the top of his game as a storyteller. In lesser hands, the people profiled in the book to advance the sub-prime meltdown narrative would not have been nearly as compelling.

    With Lewis telling the tale, however, we learn about the antecedents of the great recession through the personalities of a marginalized and somewhat anti-social group of traders and analysts whose outsider status let them see what nobody else saw, and make millions in the process. This is really a story of how sometimes the outsider, willing to go against the conventional wisdom and the customs of the dominant elite, are able to over turn entire systems while shedding sunshine on uncomfortable realities. I'm going to make it a point to seek out the eccentrics in higher ed, and listen to what they have to say.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jose Doral, FL, USA 05-21-10
    Jose Doral, FL, USA 05-21-10
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    "Well balanced"

    My first objective was to get more insight about the 2008 crash, which was accomplished very well. For my surprise it was in a very entertaining context, character dynamics, humor and structure are to be appraised as much as it's content.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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