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

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"Lewis is the finest storyteller of our generation." (Malcolm Gladwell)

"The funniest book about Wall Street I have ever read" (Tom Wolfe)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (366 )
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4.1 (81 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Chris Downing Chippenham, Wilts England 22/04/2010
    Chris Downing Chippenham, Wilts England 22/04/2010 Listener Since 2010

    Chris Downing

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What went wrong, in a way you'll understand."

    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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Nottingham, United Kingdom 16/10/2011
    Joe Nottingham, United Kingdom 16/10/2011 Member Since 2010
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    "Complex but enjoyable"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    judith canary wharf, United Kingdom 23/06/2011
    judith canary wharf, United Kingdom 23/06/2011 Member Since 2009
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    "Terrific"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas London, United Kingdom 17/08/2011
    Thomas London, United Kingdom 17/08/2011 Member Since 2009
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    "Just enough technical detail and a good story"

    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

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Olivier thouare sur loire, France 23/01/2013
    Olivier thouare sur loire, France 23/01/2013 Member Since 2012
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    "Sub-Primes for Dummies"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason CAPE TOWNQ, South Africa 16/01/2014
    Jason CAPE TOWNQ, South Africa 16/01/2014 Member Since 2013
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    "Finally! - Sense of the mess!"
    Where does The Big Short rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    What does Michael Lewis and Jesse Boggs bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    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.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed sometimes, but mostly it is a fairly serious book


    Any additional comments?

    Great book, well written, well read. I enjoyed it very much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Sheffield, United Kingdom 20/10/2013
    Richard Sheffield, United Kingdom 20/10/2013 Member Since 2012
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    "Educational & Entertaining"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rose London, United Kingdom 09/09/2013
    Rose London, United Kingdom 09/09/2013 Member Since 2012
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    "For anyone who wants to understanding 'the crisis'"

    I don't have a background in economics but wanted to know more about 'the crisis'. This was accessible and entertaining, if a little dry in the narration. However I would definitely recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin OMAGH, United Kingdom 01/08/2013
    Kevin OMAGH, United Kingdom 01/08/2013 Member Since 2010
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    "Best book I have read in many, many years."
    If you could sum up The Big Short in three words, what would they be?

    Incredible, explosive, unputdownable.


    What other book might you compare The Big Short to, and why?

    Best financial book you can imagine, no other book I have read on the financial crisis comes anywhere close to the truth compared to this.


    What does Michael Lewis and Jesse Boggs bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Great narration, adds much to the humour.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Each time I thought there could be nothing more surprising than what I had just been told, something else blew the roof off it.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are in any way interested in finance or economics you simply must read this book - you owe it to yourself. Even if you are picking it up for a good read, you will still be blown away.

    I have read lots of books on the financial crisis, but this is the one that actually has the inside story, often told via the emails of the people at the centre. You will simply not believe (at first) what you are being told - the amount of times I audibly pronounced "No way?!" only to find out exactly how it was done, I mean, I just could not put this down.

    I normally listen an hour a night to audio books, but my first listen of this went on for over five hours until I simply could not stay awake any more.

    This is the truth. I now understand exactly how we were all screwed over by bond traders and high finance, the magnitude of just what we lost, and why this will take years to correct.

    Please read this book - more of us need to know how this stuff works and it fascinating and fun that I just haven't had before from a book.

    Thanks to the author for doing such a thorough job of tracking all these people down and doing the research necessary to present it in an understandable form.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee LEE-ON-THE-SOLENT, United Kingdom 22/05/2013
    Lee LEE-ON-THE-SOLENT, United Kingdom 22/05/2013 Member Since 2013
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    "Thought provoking but be warned"

    Not sure whether to recommend this book or not. Yes its very interesting and thought provoking but be warned it will leave you feeling angry about the modern world and who run it, and question whether lessons have been learned. Why on earth has nobody from the banking sector been charged with fraud?

    The narration is very american (and I don't just mean the acsent) but on the whole the story flows well and is easy to follow. Certain facts are repeated throughout but I quite liked this as it often reiterated an important point or reinforced something I had misunderstood. Overall I enjoyed this book - 4/5

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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