In this account of how the U.S. economy has been driven over the cliff, the author of the bestseller Liar's Poker explains how the free fall of the American economy occurred and who, exactly, is to blame.
...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.