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The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine Hardcover – 15 Mar 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (15 Mar 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1846142571
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846142574
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,628 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

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 )

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

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 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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137 of 153 people found the following review helpful By AK TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Mar 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me get one thing straight out of the way - this book is unlikely to have the impact of Liar's Poker (Hodder Great Reads) for two reasons. The former was one of the first on the subject and defined 1980s banking to an extent, it got many graduates excited about potentially becoming BSDs themselves. It was in a way the perfect pitch for the industry, working even better as a result of being a critique of the system. The second reason was that while Liar's Poker was timely, this book came out a bit late to the 2008 financial meltdown party. Books like The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable or Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets were a lot more timely, and while not everyone will appreciate Taleb's writing style, they were in some ways more general and applicable to broader sets of situations.

Be that as it may, Lewis is still an accomplished writer and knows how to package the book well. Unlike in Liar's Poker, this book is not based on his own personal experiences (he retired from the industry prior to writing Liar's Poker) but follows several of the investors, who saw the unsustainability of the subprime mortgage market and decided to short it ahead of the curve. Through their stories Lewis shows how the market developed, the systemic problems plaguing the sector (a bit like in the second part of Liar's Poker) and how the downfall happened.
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76 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Olly Buxton on 12 May 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Lewis is one of the most gifted and entertaining writers today - anyone who has read his reputation-forming Liar's Poker will know this (if you haven't, and you aspire to a career in finance, you should), but his subsequent offerings, particularly the singularly brilliant Moneyball have also been outstanding. He distinguishes himself from his peers firstly by his thorough insider's understanding of how, when and why finance works (and by extension how, when and why it doesn't) but also a deft turn of phrase and devastating wit. When the subject is the logic-defying but leaden topic of tranched portfolio credit derivative armageddon, both attributes are in good demand. And both, in the shape of Lewis' airy but insightful writing, are in abundant supply.

The rosette for "best book about the financial meltdown" is hotly contested - luminaries such as George Soros, Mohamed El-Erian and Hank Paulson have entered more or less weighty tomes (some excellent, some portentous, some a bit wacky); as have well-respected and deeply learned journalists like the NY Times'
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