The long-awaited follow-up to the global best-seller Liar's Poker, The Big Short tells a story of spectacular, epic folly.
It has taken the world's greatest financial meltdown to bring Michael Lewis back to the subject that made him famous. His international best seller Liar's Poker exposed the greed and carnage of the City and Wall Street in the 1980s; he wrote it as a cautionary tale, but people seem to have read it as a how-to guide. Now, he wants to settle accounts. In this visceral tour to the heart of the money-making machine, Michael Lewis traces the origins of the crisis and introduces us to a new cast of compulsively fascinating characters. We meet the people who saw it coming, the people who were asleep at the wheel, and others who were actively driving us all off the cliff. Where did it all start? How could we have all been so deluded for quite so long? Did it really have to be this way? And who the hell can we blame? Michael Lewis has the answers.
No one is better qualified to reveal the dark truths about how our world really works. No one else could make it such an enjoyable ride along the way.
This edition includes a prologue read by the author, plus an exclusive author interview.
©2010 Michael Lewis (P)2010 Penguin Books Ltd
"Lewis is the finest storyteller of our generation." (Malcolm Gladwell)
"The funniest book about Wall Street I have ever read" (Tom Wolfe)
The politicians blamed the bankers, the bankers blamed the poor, the business people blamed everyone and we didn't know who to blame. At last a book that tells what happened and where it all went wrong, without the writer needing to play a political or buisness position.
Be warned though, after listening to this you'll find it mighty hard to accept the bilge that passes for business, political and accepted truths about what is the World's biggest financial disaster. Do yourself a favour and wise up to what's been going on. Start taking action to avoid getting sucked in to all this. This story won't be completely played out for another ten years - so it's going to influence you, your wealth and income and your well being. Read the book and get ready.
If you can get your head around complex wall street 'financial speak' such as synthetic CDO's and credit default swaps then this book is a revelation. Or at least it was for me; I thought the banks had been irresponsible now I know they are downright corrupt. The great irony is that they made these complex financial models to hide the risk but the models became so complex that they didn't understand them themselves.
A dramatic story that leaves a normal person feeling very angry. The bad guys waltz off with millions and the good guys aren't exactly heroes either. Some details are a little hard to grasp for a layperson, but then again 99% of Wall Street insiders didn't quite understand the Ponzi scheme they were rolled up in either. An amazing tale of our times, well-told by an able story-teller.
I've worked a lot in financial regulation so I understood a lot about the events described already, but I still learned a few things from this. All the technical details are well explained and I think people without a financial background could understand a lot of it as well.
As for the story, it's well done. If I have a criticism, it's that it's a bit too black and white - Lewis's world is populated by two types of people - one group who are smart, hardworking and honest, and another who are stupid, shady and just out to make a quick buck. But I guess he exaggerated the characters a bit to make the story more engaging. And engaging it is. Would recommend to anyone interested in understanding what caused the crisis but not wanting to get bogged down in technical analyses
Anyone who wants to understand the roots of the sub-prime crisis, which has plunged the world in recession for the past 5 years, should definitely get this book. Michael Lewis explains in easily comprehensible terms the concepts and reasons behind the splitting of mortgage loans into various floors and how this dissociation of the loans from the assets led to ever more abstract constructions which finally sent the world into chaos in the summer of 2008. A must read if you want to know why, and how, we got into the mess we are in nowadays.
Kildonan by the sea
What happens when you add complexity to an equation, then add more complexity and more and more and more, not knowing what the answer will be?
What happens when your long term is three month but your construct is measured in years?
What happens when men plan only for a myopic self serving individualistic benefit, not thinking for a moment about the larger society?
What happens when you stop thinking of other human beings as real but just streams of future income, expendable, usable, inconsequential?
What happens when you have so much money; you no longer understand the reality of others, when thirty million dollars is not enough to enter a game. when a hundred million only lets you pick at the table; when a billion is just a start?
What happens when the regulators all want to be the regulated because that is where the real money is?
What happens when you and your children pay for the insanity this questions propose?
I have picked behind the curtain, and what I saw was madness, mountains of madness.
The failures of our economies are the failures of our morality and the rot is so deep in our humanity, we need to have a radical removal of it virulence; or it will metastasise in all our values, and institutions.
Must read a thriller that is still evolving into a nightmare.
I'm a singing songwriting postie living in Yorkshire. Sometimes I like to be challenged by a book, and sometimes I just want to lose myself.
Michael Lewis somehow manages to successfully merge the characters and the bizarre financial creations they personify (or is it the other way round ...?) Brilliant storytelling - documentary noir - that evokes actual visceral responses to the sheer audacity of the utter illogical, disgusting revoltingness of the "Masters of the Universe". Read it.
One of my favourite books to date. Describing complex and opaque financial gobbedlygook in easily digestible laymans terms that I could finally get my head around. A story well told and highly enjoyable
Not being a fictional work, the array of characters are not presented as a fictional piece would. That much said, Steve Eizen was the most colourful of characters, with Mike Berry an interesting second.
I could not have read this book. It would have been too technical for me. Somehow, listening to the story made it easier to create a picture in my head, and build the financial model Lewis is describing. Being able to put the entire book away in 11 hours made it quick and fast-paced.
I laughed sometimes, but mostly it is a fairly serious book
Great book, well written, well read. I enjoyed it very much.
This book gives a great historic perspective on the 'events' leading up to the situation that the world presently finds itself in. As with liar's poker, it is written around characters, and designed to be entertaining (which it is), but for a simplified background on 'what went on', it is a pretty good place to start!
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