The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday MachineHardback
- Publisher: ALLEN LANE
- Format: Hardback | 288 pages
- Dimensions: 164mm x 234mm x 34mm | 962g
- Publication date: 15 March 2010
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 1846142571
- ISBN 13: 9781846142574
- Sales rank: 21,434
"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 bestseller "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 financial system, Michael Lewis takes us around the globe and back decades to trace the origins of the current crisis. He meets the people who saw it coming, the people who were asleep at the wheel and the people who were actively driving us all of cliff. How could we have all been so deluded for quite so long? Where did it all start? Was it systemic? Was it avoidable? And who the hell can we blame? Michael Lewis has the answers. No one is better qualified to get to the heart of this labyrinthine story. And no one can make it such an enjoyable ride along the way.
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Michael Lewis was born in New Orleans and educated at Princeton University and the London School of Economics. He has written several books including the New York Times bestseller, Liar's Poker, widely considered the book that defined Wall Street during the 1980s. Lewis is contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and also writes for Vanity Fair and Portfolio magazine. He is married with three children.
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith 12 Jul 2010
We are still living with the consequences of the global financial crisis of 2008. A sad story of losses and losers resulting from the construction and application of flawed mathematical models, untested assumptions and greed. Much has been written about the process of turning subprime mortgages into financial products which were then sold, after being accorded triple A (or equivalent) ratings by ratings agencies. Much is being spent by governments around the world to try to repair the damage. And, hopefully, changes are being made to try to ensure that such disasters are avoided in future.
In this book, Michael Lewis tells the stories of some of those people who analysed the market and saw the possibility that instruments created on the foundation of subprime mortgages could fall. In such circumstances, going short could reap a fortune.
So, how did these people know this? Were they prescient, or just lucky? Maybe both: together with the fact that they undertook some analysis of the subprime mortgages and realised that the facade was rotten. Who were these people? Mr Lewis writes about Steve Eisman and his team, who understood the US housing market and Wall Street. He writes of Michael Burry, who immersed himself in the bond market, and of the â??garage band hedge fund' created by Jamie Mai and Charlie Ledley.
I found this book interesting because it sheds light on a different aspect of the crisis. Its discomforting to think that while some individuals undertook the analysis required to determine an opportunity for profit, the multiple entities involved in the subprime mortgage financial path (from lending money initially to manufacturing the financial products sold as a consequence) did not undertake appropriate risk analysis. And now, sadly, individuals and taxpayers are bearing the cost.
â??Success was individual achievement; failure was a social problem.'
There aren't many reasons to be happy about the global financial crisis, but here's one: that it brought Michael Lewis back to his roots, to produce what is probably the single best piece of financial journalism ever written -- Felix Salmon Reuters Each chapter is full of the kind of dialogue you do not hear even in the best-written Hollywood films ... Lewis is back -- John Arlidge Sunday Times No one writes with more narrative panache about money and finance than Mr. Lewis -- Michiko Kakutani New York Times Hugely entertaining Economist If you read only one book about the causes of the recent financial crisis, let it be Michael Lewis's, The Big Short -- Steven Pearlstein Washington Post The Big Short is superb: Michael Lewis doing what he does best, illuminating the idiocy, madness and greed of modern finance ... But what truly sets Michael Lewis apart from other writers is his craft ... the end result is devastating Salon Eagerly anticipated ... A triumph ... Lewis builds the tension of this tug-of-war expertly, so much so that The Big Short reads like a thriller -- Antonia Senior Times Lewis creates magnificent financial set-pieces -- James Buchan Guardian Lewis is hugely entertaining ... a terrifying story, superbly well told -- David Flusfeder Daily Telegraph