...excellent ... Lewis, whose first book, Liar’s Poker, was a revealing insider’s account of the beginnings of the new mortgage markets, decided to find out what the handful of people who did 'stand apart from mass hysteria' understood that others didn’t. Through these contrarians, he untangles in depth the sources of the crisis in ways that none of the recent literature on the subject has matched ... Lewis’s deep burrowing gets to the essence of Wall Street companies blinded by easy, short-term profit and uninhibited by any moral scruples or external government watchdog ... So powerful is the tale Lewis tells of self-interest run amok that perhaps it will help awaken the nation to the basic truth that some individuals were indeed responsible for what happened, and had they been stopped by adequate regulation and enforcement, the speculative fires could have been brought under control. Lewis has written the best book I know of about the financial catastrophe by bringing us close to the deluded and duplicitous minds that caused it.
...The Big Short is not half the fun of Liar's Poker, but it is more important ... from these unpromising characters, Lewis creates magnificent financial set-pieces ... The slow collapse of the market through 2007 and 2008 makes terrific reading ... Lewis, who lives in Paris, is too worldly to make his parade of short misfits and fantasists into American heroes. In one of those moments of self-knowledge that strike even financiers, Eisman understands that he was shorting not Wall Street but humanity itself ... The American public has not yet grasped the nature and extent of this crime – but it will, it will.
The Big Short is a book without a hero ... By focusing so precisely on the particular, Lewis makes the objects of his scrutiny stand for the whole of the financial world ... Although it can be reassuring to learn that the men with money and power and influence aren’t especially corrupt, they’re only stupid, this is a terrifying story, superbly well told.
For me, herein lies the main value of the book (as someone who had already seen the film): restating concepts in different ways, such as to solidify your understanding ... What’s more, Lewis’s analysis of the situation is enlightening and spot on throughout ... He correctly identifies that the issue is with the financial system as a whole and its perverse incentives which lend itself to these crises repeating themselves over and over. This analysis runs throughout the book, making it a joy to read as each page seems to impart a far greater understanding than the last ... This book is not only excellent but down downright necessary for anyone who is trying to understand how the world has changed – and continues to change – in response to one of the worst economic downturns in history, as well as how it came about in the first place...
No one writes with more narrative panache about money and finance than Mr. Lewis ... 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 ... Mr. Lewis 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 ... He draws equally lively portraits of the central characters in his story.
It’s laissez-faire until you get in deep shit.' This is how Michael Lewis ends his latest book, The Big Short. This pretty much sums up his feelings and how the book unfolds ... This book is a good read—albeit an eye opening and cautionary tale.
Most of the world, in the run up to the financial crisis of 2008, was on the side of the dumb money. Mr. Lewis has given us a compelling tale of the brave few who not only saw what was coming but took big risks to be proved right.