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Most Helpful Favorable Review
31 out of 34 people found this review helpful.
Informative and entertaining
posted by PTrubey on March 13, 2010Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.
posted by 3092400 on September 27, 2010Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 29, 2012
Posted July 14, 2012
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 1, 2012
Posted October 27, 2011
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?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 24, 2011
Posted August 27, 2011
Very accessible for the non-finance people!
This book did a great job covering the financial crisis from the perspective of those who say the melt-down coming. The author did a great job synthesizing the information and explaining insanely complicated financial products in an accessible way for a non-finance person. Highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 23, 2011
Posted August 8, 2011
Very informative book
Good book, really very informative and entertaining. If you have any interest in understanding what happened to cause the recession, this book is a great way to find out and be entertained at the same time. Highly recommend!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
This book was amazing. I don't want to ruin the book, but it definitely revealed a side to the financial crisis that many of us haven't been aware of: transparency. The events that led to the Great Recession were all transparent and no one dared to stop things. Give it a try. It's a good book; however, more than anything, I love Generational Wealth: Business & Investing Guide to Building an Empire.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Once Again - Lewis is Entertaining and Insightful
A must read for anyone interested in the underlying causes behind the 2008 housing crisis and the ensuing financial meltdown. Lewis is entertaining as always. Similar to Liar's Poker, Lewis offers insights on the investment industry, this time in the housing market, the mortgage backed securities, and the impact of a few hedge funds, both large and small.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 20, 2011
Absolutely fantastic stuff
I tend to frequently start many non-fiction books to feel good about reading thoughtful things instead of crappy science fiction, but it's extremely rare that I actually finish them.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The Big Short is in rare company as one that I had a really, really hard time putting down from cover to cover. For about a week I was going to sleep far later than intended because I couldn't stop reading this gripping account of the lead-up to the financial crisis. Michael Lewis spins a fascinating tale from the point of view of the people who saw the crisis coming and profited from it, calling out the laziness, greed, and stupidity of the other players in the financial market that created the shocking housing bubble. I can't imagine that there is much better than the Big Short if you want to understand how and why the crisis happened.
Obviously, Lewis has a perspective - he is much more inclined to blame the crisis on the aforementioned laziness, greed and stupidity in financial institutions than on the members of "Main Street" who took out mortgages they had no hope of paying back. But, for the most part, he makes a very convincing case - it doesn't feel slanted. The only exception to this is the coverage of the actual crash and bailout period towards the end of the book, where I felt he got a little too vitriolic without taking the time to explain why he felt that way.
But, regardless of that minor shortcoming, I can't give any book a higher recommendation than I would the Big Short.
Posted April 5, 2011
EXCELLENT WORK, COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN...
Mr. Lewis' book should be required reading for every investor -- and certainly every taxpayer. I simply hope someone who foresaw the crisis will act as a champion for financial reform. (Perhaps Dr. Michael Burry, who not only possesses the intellect, but also a keen ability to dig through and follow-up on minute details.) After all, only a major regulatory overhaul can prevent this catastrophe from occurring once again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 13, 2011
Highly Recommended - Could no put it down
Lewis's book combines a history lesson of the financial crisis with an engaging story about some of the people who saw the crisis unfolding and making fortunes in the process. I walked away from this book with a bit more understanding or empathy for the independent "shorters". The book only cemented my distain for the financial instituitions that created this global mess, harming millions of people, but not themselves in the process.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 5, 2011
A great read
As a finance major in college, Michael Lewis provides a viewpoint that no textbook can provide. An excellent telling of the housing mortgage bust complete with personalities that kept me stuck to my NookColor. Definitely worth a second or third read down the road. Even after rereading a few sections I found something new.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 31, 2010
Well Worth Your Time
I work in the financial industry, and Lewis has explained it very well. I good explaination of the way from consumer to mortgage broker to Wall Street has tank the economy. This gives a good overview of how the market psycholgy works (or doesn't) and if your are an investor, how you can help yourself.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 18, 2010
The Big Short of Wall Street on America
This is a true crime novel that details how so many people should be sitting in jail (government employees, rating agency idiots, mortgage originators/brokers and the bond desks of Wall Street). I now have a better understanding of how the greed of the Wall Street elite permeated all of their actions for and thoughts about a bigger paycheck and how they brought us to the horrible economic state the country and our people are in right now. It is my hope that everyone on Wall Street and in the banking sector will end up being a long term unemployed worker with little hope of finding their next scam. Thank you for the wonderful accounting this book provided.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 5, 2010
How greed and stupidity destroyed the American economy
Not one American in a thousand can tell you just what plunged our nation into the worst depression in many generations. Most of those who can have probably read Lewis's account of how Wall Street and crooked mortgage brokers enriched themselves at everyone's expense. From small fly-by-night mortgage originators to enormous ones such as Countrywide, the poor, unsophisticated and ignorant were sold the concept that anyone could own a house without any regard to how it was to be paid for.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
There is a point of view that holds that the janitor making six dollars an hour knew exactly what he was doing when he signed up to buy a quarter million dollar McMansion and that he was consciously gaming the system. This account of the mortgage meltdown has made this reader aware that, except for speculators and other con men, most of those who bought into the system and are now facing forclosure and bankrupcy were mostly innocent of any real knowledge of what they were getting into. Their crime was wanting a piece of the American Dream of home ownership, and in this they were urged on by crooks and even American government policy. They came to the table and were told a series of lies designed to insure that they and their money would soon be parted.
Brokers told prospective buyers that they didn't need to prove they had a certain income (hence the term "liars loans"), that they didn't need to worry about their interest rate increasing after three to five years, and that if they ever did find they were unable to pay they could always sell for a big profit and start the process anew. And this was not simple incompetence on the brokers' part. These leeches on the economic body of the nation told customers that housing prices would never fall, that they could obtain a "special" interest rate -- which was often far beyond what the borrower qualified for but made the brokers a higher commission -- and that they "deserved" the most expensive property they could be "qualified" for.
The toxic mortgages were then bundled together and sold to investors. Had the brokers been forced to keep the loan and service them (and take the risk of bankrupcies)they would have had a powerful incentive to do things by the book; when they sold the mortgages they in effect washed their hands of all risk. But wait, if these mortgages were so bad, how did the rating agencies give them mostly triple AAA status? The answer illustrates the degree to which the situation was not a simple mistake or miscalculation, it was sheer greed done with the knowledge that the situation was a powder keg ready to explode. Moodey's and the other ratings agencies' impramaturs were legally required before the bundle of mortgages could be sold to banks or other investors. But these agencies were blissfully ignorant to the true nature of what they were given to rate, and they also knew that their fees for doing the ratings came from the agencies selling the bonds, If a rating were too low the bank or other holder of the bundle could just walk to another rater. It is hard to visualize the degree of criminality this made possible.
There were those who recognized the situation and realized that the situation was destined to fall apart. They bet "short" on these toxic bundles, (hence the name of the book) and made millions as the economy tanked. Lewis illustrates the big picture with clarity and simple language.
Fine study of Wall Street criminality
In this fascinating book, ex-Wall Street Michael Lewis tells the story of some of those who betted against subprime mortgages, against Wall Street.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Subprime mortgages were taken out by those least able to repay the loan. For example, a Mexican strawberry picker earning $14K was lent every cent he needed to buy a $724K house.
Household Finance Corporation, with the biggest portfolio of subprime loans, lied to its borrowers they had an 'effective rate of 7 per cent' when it was taking 12.5 per cent. In 2002, it settled out-of-court and paid a $484 million fine. In 2003, HSBC Group stupidly bought HFC for $15.5 billion.
Goldman Sachs was 'notorious for packaging America's worst home loans'. It paid rating agencies to re-rate BBB-rated mortgage bonds, gathered into collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), as AAA. (One hedge fund owner called the rating agencies 'whores'.) Standard & Poor's managing director of CDO ratings e-mailed, "Any request for loan-level tapes is TOTALLY UNREASONABLE!!" Wall Street contracted its credit analysis to people who wouldn't do a credit analysis. $400 billion of CDOs were never properly vetted.
By January 2007, Morgan Stanley's star trader had bought $16 billion in AAA-rated CDOs, composed entirely of BBB-rated subprime mortgage bonds. This led to the biggest-ever trading loss on Wall Street.
As Lewis writes, the subprime mortgage market was 'an engine of exploitation and, ultimately, destruction'. Financier Steve Eisman said, "The system was really, 'f*** the poor.'" The entire business of consumer finance, he said, 'existed to rip people off'.
When Wall Street fell, Wall Street blamed the American people. The US government then bailed out, not the individual American borrowers, but Wall Street's firms, which had all bankrupted themselves by making dumb bets on subprime borrowers.
Goldman Sachs lost its clients a billion dollars. Bush, then Obama, gave billions of taxpayers' money to Goldman Sachs and $306 billion to Citigroup alone. Goldman Sachs still paid $3.8 billion bonuses last year. The Fed shifted a trillion dollars' worth of bad debts from Wall Street to the taxpayer.
Wall Street does not create wealth, just shifts it from one shark to the next. It is not rationally putting our savings and pensions to better use, but stealing them. It is a criminal conspiracy.