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.
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
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.
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!
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.
Incredible, explosive, unputdownable.
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.
Great narration, adds much to the humour.
Each time I thought there could be nothing more surprising than what I had just been told, something else blew the roof off it.
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.
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
If you need an insight into the gears and cogs of our financial system and why it virtually collapsed..then this is for you. It opened my eyes on a world otherwise not known to me...and although I only have an interest in the topic I felt it gave me an insight from a genuine professional who had been there and done that. It makes easy listening and although the topic can be heavy, the style is good and continuous. Excellent!!
This book is an inside view of the people and events which lead to the current recession from which we are all in some measure suffering. The author identifies some of the key players and their actions and motives which contributed to the disaster. Having himself been briefly a part of the machine which manages and trades financial products, he has a good insight into the mechanisms and players. He now earns a (not inconsiderable I would guess) crust as a financial journalist, so he has remained in touch with the world of money and banking and his accounts and insights are doubtless as reliable as anything else in this fast changing and kaleidoscopic world.
The author introduces the book himself, delivering a potted financial autobiography in the kind of East Coast preppy accent which you might expect from a graduate of Princeton and the London School of Economics. The book itself is read by Jesse Boggs, whose fruity tones put me in mind of a continuity announcer on a mid western classical music station. A bit too laid back and world weary to my mind for this type of material, but perfectly acceptable once you have got used to him.
The book does a good job of describing the weird world of high US high finance and some of its even weirder inhabitants. It even explains the fantastic fictions dreamed up in this world, and how they came to grief so spectacularly. I did understand the descriptions and explanations when I heard them, but they failed to survive in my brain. My fault probably.
As an easily assimilated account of recent history this does a good job. If you're curious, and would like to think you understand how we all came to such a pretty pass, then I would recommend it. Unsurprisingly it all seems to boil down to human greed, recklessness, and folly. An old story in snazzy new clothes driving a Ferrari.
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