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)
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.
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.
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.
Judith Corstjens Author of: Xtensity, Why 5% of Dieters Succeed; Storewars: The Battle for Mindspace and Shelfspace; Strategic Advertising
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.
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.
Although I'd seen the film, which prompted me to read other ML books, I still got around the the big short and have found it informative, entertaining and thought provoking.
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
Two stars for the interesting subject and decent performance. However, the structure of the book and repetitiveness (eg. repetition of "cornhole capital" and other expressions and explanations) and the fact that the chapters of the book were totally out of sync with the audible app (latest version for iOS) were a big disappointment.
The complication of finance put into simple terms so a layman like me can read and understand. Getting to understand the calamity of errors, greed and irresponsibility in the financial and investment world that has had such a negative impact on everyone, was cathartic and hair raising at the same time.
All of them, the good, the bad and the terribly ugly.
All of it from beginning to end.
No, you have to take it in a chapter at a time and digest the monumental screw up of the banking and investment world.
I have learned to never trust banking and bankers again. My respect for them has gone out the window and the worrying thing is we are doom to repeat it again.
"Fascinating and boring"
This story is incredible. I watched the film and thoroughly enjoyed the story, and so I wanted to get into more of the detail. However, it's a seriously detailed read and not so easy to follow the technical aspects. But enjoyable none the less -- especially having the characters from the film in my imagination.
"Awesome book, bugs in the app"
This is a great book. however, the app did not show the chapters correctly. I found the app a bit annoying.
"Enjoyable story of disaster"
A fascinating true story of the subprime crisis and Wall Street malfeasance. Leaves you with a distaste for what the US government did in bailing out the banks. They should have been allowed to fail with the cash and guarantees going to the savers instead of the speculators.
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