Customer Reviews for

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

Average Rating 4
( 915 )
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(413)

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(121)

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(55)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

31 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

Informative and entertaining

Hugely entertaining look at the genesis of our current economic mess. Lewis finds the very few investors who predicted and profited from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and follows their journey from initial realization of the impending disaster to eventual payout. Fo...
Hugely entertaining look at the genesis of our current economic mess. Lewis finds the very few investors who predicted and profited from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and follows their journey from initial realization of the impending disaster to eventual payout. Following these eccentric characters and their interactions with the big Wall Street investment banks is at turns laugh out loud funny and head shaking incredulous. Lewis knows how to turn a phrase and does a good job teasing out the dark humor of the situations. He also does a very good job at explaining the essence of very complicated financial transactions and gives the reader a good understanding of the whys and hows of the financial meltdown. While this book is an important addition to our understanding of what happened, it isn't complete as it doesn't spend any time talking about US government policies that contributed to the crash (specifically, the special legal status given to the three rating agencies, and Fannie and Freddie's role in weakening underwriting standards). Nonetheless, this is still both an important and entertaining book.

posted by PTrubey on March 13, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

Surprisingly disappointing

I am a pretty big fan of Lewis' work and also an expert on financial markets. This book disappointed me. I cannot pinpoint my problem with this book. Maybe I'm just uncomfortable with its investigative reporting tone and what I found to be a monotonous style. I can assu...
I am a pretty big fan of Lewis' work and also an expert on financial markets. This book disappointed me. I cannot pinpoint my problem with this book. Maybe I'm just uncomfortable with its investigative reporting tone and what I found to be a monotonous style. I can assure you that I understand credit default swaps and CDOs as well as anyone and yet the explanations weren't clear. The book droned on and on until I found that I couldn't put it down just because I wanted to get it over with and move on to the next book in my stack to read. I probably would not have said all this, or said it this way, had I not just finished reading Scott Patterson's excellent book called The Quants. Same basic subject (Wall Street meltdown), but much better written and amazingly (given the title), much easier to read and follow. I wish I could be more specific about what's wrong with this book but it was just a gut feeling that this subject is done much better by Patterson. Nonetheless, I'm not recommending you don't read this. Just read them both and see if you don't wish you had read Patterson and skipped Lewis. Ok, well, if you have enough time you can afford to read both and indeed some will say the two books are complementary, not competitive.

posted by 3092400 on September 27, 2010

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Page 2 of 47
  • Posted May 5, 2010

    The inside scoop

    As a real estate agent who watched the whole sub-prime fiasco take place, I always wondered why no one seemed concerned about the obvious greed and theft that was taking place. And even if you knew about it, who was there to tell? And who cared? I am not a financial specialist but I enjoyed reading this book and understanding better what was going on behind the scenes as Wall Street melted. This book has been even more insiteful while watching the televised interviews of Goldman Sachs and Congress. Michael Lewis explained it so I could understand as best I could. Greed, greed, greed!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Big Story

    Lewis has written another great book with a wonderful cast of characters, clear explanation of topics that can be as dry as dust to those who don't work in the financial pits, and an accurate assessment of where Wall Street has gone wrong.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2010

    "The Big Short"

    A compelling, well written book on a subject which has directly and adversely affected the U.S. economy. Michael Lewis gives a very good explanation of the complex financial instruments, credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations, which were at the heart of the subprime mortgage meltdown. He personalizes the narrative with names and personalities to give the reader an idea of what drives many on Wall Street to seek mega-wealth regardless of the consequences to their firms and the economy. The characters mentioned in the "Big Short" are playing the market as they would play Craps in Las Vegas. Except in Las Vegas there is a dealer and oversight and penalties for cheating. Wall Street has little oversight and rarely do the perpetrators have to pay for their gaming of the system. Michael Lewis has written an important, readable book on a subject that should be of interest to all investors.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2010

    Lewis declares war on hedge funds and derivatives traders

    I spent a lot of time in the dictionary while reading The Big Short. I probably would have done well to buy Economics for Dummies to better understand the terms of high finance. Nevertheless Lewis has blown the cover of those get-rich-quick hedge funds trader who bet on their fellow citizens being foreclosed upon. Well written and full of naming names of those who caused the big short of 2008-2009. Good read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    The Big Short

    Excellent reading if you want to know why the mortgage meltdown took place this is the book for you. Very well written and informative.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2014

    I liked the book. It's interesting how some people like Steve Ei

    I liked the book. It's interesting how some people like Steve Eisman really think outside the box. He was also involved in the for-profit scandal a few years later. At a conference he referred to the student loan scam to be the same subprime lending. There is a new book out about it, "Online Education Fraud: The Diary of a Short Seller."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2014

    This book is a little tedious when it starts but if you stick wi

    This book is a little tedious when it starts but if you stick with it, you will realize that it is well worth the learning of acronyms to get to the conclusion. Good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2014

    Meanderings of a Madpony

    Tonna thpe with my eyes closee. :3
    <p>
    Ahahaha..... wjqy wchooois worth? Kisy mu passiin. I fel ooke O'm smpeaking qnother languag. Or typpint at las. Sill mot bry goos at hiw. It'w rinn, jough. If I ehis kuch mo, ao'll rqll aslpp. :o Mmmmmmmm......... sleep..... I meed a good helpn o that! Bigh school is wos than anythint. Bur ginner, oo. Y'know, on Friday, I had to eat linch woth a buncj of Weguis! It was tibl! Speciallu since my vry-Christian friend was her, as well. Tise weniors were taliin dirtyz. Blefh! Oo! And mah doggy layn on meh keeps snorin! Agh! Nmmmmmm. Good nightw...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    Recommended

    I had a firsthand view of what happened during this time in financial history. To be honest I was hesitant to go back and visit this trying time in everyone's life who were so close to the action. I bought it and read in a matter of days. Michael did a fantastic job of making the book entertaining and enjoyable. It's a must read if you really want to know what it felt like.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    Great book

    Amazing how the market survived like nothing happened.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    Very informative and well written

    Highly recommend

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Excellent insight into the collapse of our economy.

    I have read this book twice so far and would like to have it on audio CD. It is an excellent read on the collapse of our economy and how it went down, and how a couple of very bright men were able to capitalize on Wall Streets greed and blindness...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2012

    Finally Picked it Up and Couldn't Put it Down

    Curious about how the financial crisis came about? This book certainly addresses the question in a matter of fact way. Many of the challenges the country now faces stems from the greed of some which led to the downfall of many. It does a wonderful job explaining how Wall Street changed the subprime mortgage market by morphing it into the biggest panzi scheme the world has seen. Anyone who's worked in the industry had to have seen the business could not sustain itself and realize it was only a matter of time before it began to digest itself. I wish I'd had the ability and financial intelligence to capitalize on it as Mr Burry did for his investors; as well as, others who gambled against the pump and dump experienced at the height of the subprime craze.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    True story but reads like a novel

    Very easy to read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Excellent!

    Fantastic read, hard to put down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    I could not put it down!

    Thank you for the best read I've had about Wall Street to date. Informative, suspenseful, and mind boggling. It's terrifying that so many people hold so much power over our money yet many have no clue what they are doing with it. Highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Poopsie

    Pooooooooooooooooooooop

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2011

    Wallstreet collapse in 2008

    wow- scary stuff on what the big bankers did to housing and our economy, Michael says it very well & makes it understandable

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2011

    Wall street

    If this book is 50% truth, scary that our system has this much distructive power. Very well written. Kept me engaged. Dont skip the afterword.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

    Should I read this

    I'm a senior in HS who's becoming very interested in economics. I'm in AP Gov/Politics class and AP Macroecon. Would this be a good read for a starter or is too complex?

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