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The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine [Kindle Edition]

Michael Lewis
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)

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Book Description

'We fed the monster until it blew up ...'

While Wall Street was busy creating the biggest credit bubble of all time, a few renegade investors saw it was about to burst, bet against the banking system - and made a fortune.

From the jungles of the trading floor to the casinos of Las Vegas, this is the outrageous story of the misfits, mavericks and geniuses who, against all odds, made the greatest financial killing in history.

Product Description


"No one writes with more narrative panache about money and finance than Mr. Lewis...[he] does a nimble job of using his subjects' stories to explicate the greed, idiocies and hypocrisies of a system notably lacking in grown-up supervision...Writing in faintly Tom Wolfe-ian prose, Mr. Lewis does a colorful job of introducing the lay reader to the Darwinian world of the bond market." -- Michiko Kakutani "[A] strikingly original take that offers an enhanced understanding of the debacle...Since his first book, Liar's Poker, Lewis has tackled big, engaging finding and developing characters whose personal narratives reveal a larger truth. He's done it again." -- Daniel Gross "Superb: Michael Lewis doing what he does best, illuminating the idiocy, madness and greed of modern finance... Lewis achieves what I previously imagined impossible: He makes subprime sexy all over again." -- Andrew Leonard "It is the work of our greatest financial journalist, at the top of his game. And it's essential reading." -- Graydon Carter "One of the best business books of the past two decades." -- Malcolm Gladwell "I read Lewis for the same reasons I watch Tiger Woods. I'll never play like that. But it's good to be reminded every now and again what genius looks like." -- Malcolm Gladwell "I recommend everyone within the sound of my voice to read [this] book." -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) "I've joined a lot of other people in just finishing Michael Lewis's book, The Big Short, and it's really an eye-opener of what was going on at the time that this real estate bubble was created." -- Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) "I read it, marked it up for my staff, underlined it, made copies and asked them to read it." -- Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) "[A]n incredible piece of commentary on Wall Street." -- Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) "If you're wondering if there's importance or an urgency to this issue, read the book The Big Short by Michael Lewis, and then, when you're finished reading, come back to the floor and say that you support this amendment [on financial reform]." -- Senator Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota)

About the Author

Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of Liar's Poker, The Money Culture, The New New Thing, Moneyball, The Blind Side, Panic, Home Game, The Big Short, and Boomerang, among other works, lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 453 KB
  • Print Length: 287 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0393338827
  • Publisher: Penguin (27 Jan. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,884 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Writing with style on the dark side of finance 21 April 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book's salient points appear on the bottom half of p.243 " Wall Street investment banks somehow conned the rating agencies into blessing piles of crappy loans;how this had enabled the lending of trillions of dollars to ordinary Americans;how ordinary Americans had happily complied and told the lies they needed to tell to obtain the loans;how the machinery that turned the loans into supposedly riskless securities was so complicated that investors had ceased to evaluate the risks;how the problem had grown so big that the end was bound to be cataclysmic and have big social and political consequences..."

The elements that comprise the book excellence are:the first class intellect of the author matching the quality of the Institutions he was educated namely Princeton University and the London School of Economics;his charisma in writing concisely, lucidly and impressively wittily, and the fact that he is imbued with morality;the story is not presented in the abstract but through brilliant albeit eccentric protagonists - all betting and winning against the market - such as Steve Eisman graduating from the University of Pennsylvania magna cum laude,and then with honours from Harvard Law School and Dr Michael Burry who abandoned neurology studies at Stanford to immerse himself in the world of finance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLINDED WITH GREED OR PLAIN STUPID? 4 May 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A well written, thoroughly researched insight into the relatively small band of individuals that predicted that the house mortgage market would implode. To these investors and speculators who chose to take, not much more than a cursory glance at the underlying assets of the glut of 'mortgage bonds' marketed by Wall Street institutions, it was blindingly obvious that many contained extremely high levels of 'guaranteed to default' sub-prime borrowers. They were further amazed when they were offered by Blue Chip universally known companies who in many cases had put the bonds together and sold them to their clients, insurance cover at very low cost, to pay out vast sums of money as and when the bonds failed. And guess what? didn't even have to own one of these toxic pieces of financial crud....just pay the premium and pick-up the loot! These policies known as Credit Default Swaps (CDS) are what the author refers to as 'The Big Short'.

Many of the beneficiaries were constrained in making even more money by restricting the CDS's they bought because of the fear that making a killing cannot be this easy and 'we must have missed something'. They hadn't, it was a fast route to vast riches.

Those who put together these Mortgage Bonds and those who traded in them, blindly ignoring the irresponsible dishing out of mortgages to all and sundry and the collapse in the value of properties were either blinded with greed or certifiably stupid.

A really good book, interesting, informative but at the same time quite shocking.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This book is brilliant in its explanation of the mechanisms that brought us the credit crisis. It explains very well how a combination of stupidity (people that did not understand their own products), reward systems (for bankers, brokers and rating agencies alike) created a setting that made people think that they had created a method to turn lead into gold. In a very non-technical way, this book explains above all the folly of the Collateralized Debt Obligations and how a combination of some crooks (and a lot of dumb people) in the investment business created this mess. It is written from the perspective of the few smart people who saw the emperor's new clothes (financial engineering that was supposed to remove risk) for what they were, bet against them and won, while the rest of the world lost out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind blowing 10 May 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Although I thought I had a reasonable understanding of the melt-down and what had caused it, having read Gillian Tett's scholarly but dry book (Fool's Gold) when it came out, and having seen and heard a lot of radio and TV discussions, I still found this account from Michael Lewis mind-blowing.

What is most fascinating is to learn that some market players (including in at least one major bank, Deutsche) were well aware of the problems blowing up, they could prove it, and they were going round other institutions (for their own not entirely altruistic reasons) trying to get others to listen to them. It all comes across here as much closer to the casino (the description already adopted by many commentators) than I had thought possible, especially as the banks' lauded mathematical models have proved to be little more robust than the "systems" used by gamblers at the roulette table. Michael Lewis's knack is to tell the stories of those rough/tough personalities who were predicting (and betting on) the bust, and what they went through before the big bust eventually arrived (all the worse for being delayed). In fact, "irrational exuberance" (copyright. A. Greenspan) just proved to have become much more exuberant and far more irrational than ever he realised it might.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting read
Published 8 days ago by Bruce Schlaitzer
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read, a thriller that is still evolving into a nightmare.
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? Read more
Published 26 days ago by Wras
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great insight into the inner workings, or not, of the global financial system.
Published 2 months ago by Bernard
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reveal
Fab. Insightful. Very readable. Exposes the venality of the market and those who ran it (whilst accepting that we don't get to hear their response to Lewis's views and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Cardiff Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
Thoroughly enjoyed this journey through the financial crisis. A great read from start to finish. Michael is a wonderful author and a great story teller.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Incredible book, a classic.
Published 2 months ago by Marcus Mulvihill
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read
Michael Lewis explains exactly how greedy bankers plunged the Western world into recession in 2007/8. Read more
Published 3 months ago by London Lass
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by andrew
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book now out of print. Buy 2nd hand and learn loads about the GFC
Published 3 months ago by Paul Cox
3.0 out of 5 stars Average
An interesting enough story, though one could read it in large part by a bit of googling on the subject. Read more
Published 3 months ago by John Gray
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