HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Big Short by Michael Lewis
Loading...

The Big Short (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Michael Lewis

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,8581212,029 (4.16)112
Member:bherner
Title:The Big Short
Authors:Michael Lewis
Info:Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc. (2011), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:kindle, Wall Street, finance

Work details

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis (2010)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 112 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
50. The Big Short by Michael Lewis
reader: Jesse Boggs
published: 2010
format: 9 hr 29 min digital audiobook and 266 page hardcover
acquired: borrowed both from my library
read: listened to 87% May 5-17, read last 66 pages Aug 15-16
rating: 4 stars

In a nutshell, this about the bastards who got rich on the 2008 US subprime mortgage crash. Lewis is a really good at this stuff, so we learn to really like all these guys, as unpleasant as some of them are, and we learn to appreciate all the effort and knowledge they used to figure this market out. They made a killing, but as the collapse happened and was so big, threatening the entire banking system, one of their biggest fears was where to find a safe way to cash in.

Lewis provides an insightful analysis of what a happened in 2008, what the root causes were, how everyone missed it, and what the consequences were for the bankers. Lewis makes it fun, but it's sad. Every key player got rich, even the ones who misread everything and lost billions for their companies. They all walked away with millions, leaving their companies in disastrous shape, the US tax payer stuck with the bill, and, of course, all those given impossible loans without their homes.

I can't say it's the best book on the subject, as it's the only one I've read, but it's entertaining and worth a read. ( )
  dchaikin | Aug 21, 2016 |
As a person who has basically viewed all of the financial world as one giant black box until I decided to knuckle down and start trying to understand it, I found this book of only marginal utility. My sense of outrage is already well-inflamed by more vividly muckracking work like Charles Ferguson's blistering documentary "Inside Job," so the stories Lewis tells in this book had less impact on me than they might otherwise. I learned little from THE BIG SHORT but still found the accounts of the handful of people who truly can say they saw it coming and put their money where their mouths were to be interesting reading in and of themselves. ( )
  KateSherrod | Aug 1, 2016 |
A fairly difficult book to grasp in its financial technicalities, but right on with its description of the men who saw what was coming on Wall Street and, really, those who didn't. Lewis does not mince words when he shows the insanity of banks lending money to homeowners who could not afford them, and the justification provided by Wall Street for this lending. He also explains how difficults these CDE's (and similar things) were to grasp for the people who bought and sold them, and posits that that was one of the factors in the collapse of the housing market. While you may have to take your time reading it, it does contribute to one non-financial person's understanding of the housing crisis and the world economy's almost-collapse. Some saw it coming and took advantage with disbelief that no one else had caught on; most didn't understand what they were buying and selling, and no one was watching over their shoulder. Corporate greed unfettered. ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
One of the best of the Michael Lewis books and the most entertaining of the books describing the recent financial crash. ( )
  M_Clark | Apr 25, 2016 |
"From the social point of view the slow and possibly fraudulent unraveling of a multi-trillion-dollar U.S. bond market was a catastrophe. From the hedge fund trading point of view it was the opportunity of a lifetime" (p. 167).

This statement could easily serve as the blurb for Michael Lewis's The Big Short, which provides an interesting portrait of a few of the investors who predicted and profited from the collapse of the subprime mortgage bond market. The quirky characters and simple explanations of complex financial issues made this book worth reading for me. However there were some definite weaknesses.

The organization of the book was weak and there was a lot of repetition. It seemed to me that Lewis was explaining the same topics over and over again with only slight changes to the descriptions and analogies. Maybe this repetition was meant to reinforce his explanations of concepts such as "credit default swaps" and "double-A tranches of a subprime-backed collateralized debt obligation." Or maybe there wasn't much repetition, and I just wasn't picking up on the distinctions between the different topics?

Also, the narrative never fully came alive for me. Lewis did a great job building up the characters. The details about their lives, behavior, and quirks were really great. The direct quotations he included from his interviews with them were also wonderful--very colorful. Yet after he builds up these characters they never seem to really do anything. It felt like a lot of anecdote and very little action, snapshots rather than a movie. Maybe the spiraling, repetitive structure of the books is to blame for this, too.

Having read the book, I'm not any more outraged than I already was. It is a little annoying, though, that the disaster was obvious enough for a handful of hedge funds to bet against it, but not obvious enough to be prevented. ( )
  AlaynaFisher | Apr 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
Thinking about the subprime crisis with the benefit of da Vinci’s distance, it struck me anew how Darwinian and predatory the whole system is. One constantly has to ask, Cui Bono: “Who benefits?” And Ubi Est Mea: “Where’s mine?” One of Eisman’s traders was constantly obsessed with how the party on the other side might screw him (though “screw” was not the word used). That is probably a good attitude to have on Wall Street.
 
By focusing so precisely on the particular, Lewis makes the objects of his scrutiny stand for the whole of the financial world: its obscurantism, under-regulation and wildly short-termist institutional profiteering; the bank bosses’ reluctance to scrutinise the mechanics and risks of their most profitable divisions; and the general refusal to understand the connection between the profits made and the dangerous actuality they were based on: in this case, the deliberately over-complicated financial “instruments” and the poor Americans who were about to default on their mortgages.
 
In his new book, Lewis is neither obnoxious nor charming. The skies have fallen. The market Wall Street created in the housing debt of the very poorest Americans, so-called "sub-prime" mortgage bonds and various derivative securities, which fell to bits in 2007 and all but engulfed the world in 2008, is the greatest financial fraud since the 18th century. Men and women who once made us laugh now make us shudder. In other words, The Big Short is not half the fun of Liar's Poker, but it is more important.
added by mikeg2 | editThe guardian, James Buchan (Mar 27, 2010)
 
Lewis is a gifted chronicler and debunker and demystifier of the world of finance.
added by r.orrison | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Mar 18, 2010)
 
No one writes with more narrative panache about money and finance than Mr. Lewis, the author of “Liar’s Poker,” that now classic portrait of 1980s Wall Street. His entertaining new book does not attempt a macro view of the financial crisis, but instead proposes to open a small window on the calamities by recounting the stories of some savvy renegades who cashed in on their conviction that the system was rotten.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Lewisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boggs, JesseReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea about them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.  -  Leo Tolstoy
Dedication
For Michael Kinsley, To Whom I Still Owe an Article
First words
Quotations
How can a guy who can't speak English lie? - Greg Lippmann
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393072231, Hardcover)

The #1 New York Times bestseller: a brilliant account—character-rich and darkly humorous—of how the U.S. economy was driven over the cliff.

When the crash of the U. S. stock market became public knowledge in the fall of 2008, it was already old news. The real crash, the silent crash, had taken place over the previous year, in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn’t shine, and the SEC doesn’t dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can’t pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren’t talking.

The crucial question is this: Who understood the risk inherent in the assumption of ever-rising real estate prices, a risk compounded daily by the creation of those arcane, artificial securities loosely based on piles of doubtful mortgages? Michael Lewis turns the inquiry on its head to create a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 best-selling Liar’s Poker. Who got it right? he asks. Who saw the real estate market for the black hole it would become, and eventually made billions of dollars from that perception? And what qualities of character made those few persist when their peers and colleagues dismissed them as Chicken Littles? Out of this handful of unlikely—really unlikely—heroes, Lewis fashions a story as compelling and unusual as any of his earlier bestsellers, proving yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our times.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:31 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The author examines the causes of the U.S. stock market crash of 2008 and its relation to overpriced real estate, bad mortgages, shareholder demand for excessive profits, and the growth of toxic derivatives.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
737 wanted
7 pay11 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.16)
0.5
1 1
1.5 2
2 13
2.5 2
3 86
3.5 47
4 326
4.5 65
5 243

Audible.com

3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393072231, 0393338827

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 109,162,708 books! | Top bar: Always visible