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The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine Paperback – 27 Jan 2011


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The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine + Liar's Poker (Hodder Great Reads) + Boomerang: The Meltdown Tour
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (27 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141043539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141043531
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description

Review

It's time to throw another tank of petrol on the Wall Street pyre, as only Lewis can (Financial Times)

He is so good everyone else may as well pack up (Evening Standard)

No one writes with more narrative panache about money and finance than Mr. Lewis (Michiko Kakutani New York Times)

Probably the single best piece of financial journalism ever written (Reuters)

Hugely entertaining (Economist)

Terrifying and superbly told (Daily Telegraph)

Genius (Sunday Times)

Compelling and horrifying (GQ)

A more than worthy successor to Liar's Poker ... if you want to know about the origins of the credit crunch, and the extraordinary cast of misfits, visionaries and chancers who made money from the crash, there's no more readable account (Daily Telegraph)

A triumph ... riveting ... a genuine page-turner (Times)

The very best book about this whole affair (John Lanchester, author of 'Whoops!')

If you read only one book about the causes of the recent financial crisis, let it be Michael Lewis's The Big Short (Washington Post)

In the hands of Michael Lewis, anything is possible ... if you want to know how a nation lost its financial mind - and have a good laugh finding out - this is the book to read. (The Sunday Times)

Magnificent ... a perfect storm of brilliant writer meeting big subject. (The Guardian)

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 for Vanity Fair. He is married with three children.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Serghiou Const on 21 April 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book's salient points appear on the bottom half of p.243 "...how 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 By DOPPLEGANGER TOP 500 REVIEWER on 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?........you 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 By G. C. Th Wierda on 2 July 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 By Picky reader on 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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