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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book 2 Set 3 Opening - en francais

The Big Short Review and Discussion

The Big Short

by Michael Lewis

genre: non-fiction

You know going in, this book is going to be like watching a train de-rail.  You know you're going to be mad as hell and shocked at the catastrophic pyre.  But you also know you won't be able to stop yourself.  Which is exactly what happened.  What I didn't expect, was that I understood all of it.  Wall Street talk has an earned reputation for being difficult to understand.  Let's face it, even people working on Wall Street preceding this last fallout didn't seem to understand.  But Michael Lewis lays out this story in concise layman's terminology.

What I loved about this book made up for the train wreck slowly happening over 268 pages.  Michael Lewis' writing style is easy-going and personable.  He talks about the people involved not in a clinical manner, but more in a story-like style.  He gives the background story on the people he follows.  He shows how the inception of these complicated, and incidentally convoluted, deals occurred.  He invites you inside the heads of people like Steve Eisman, Michael Burry and Greg Lippmann to name a few.  Through it all, he explains clearly what the components of the mortgage bond market and the products created that would ultimately collapse the financial world in on itself were.

The toughest part about reading this book is thinking of all the little guys in the houses bought during this crap storm, aware or unaware of their risk.  Knowing how they ultimately were the losers.  Billion dollar deals passed hands like grocery store purchases while people were being sold a load of goods about variable rate mortgages being sound and low risk.  Massive bonuses falling into the bank accounts of irresponsible financial wolves for nothing more than basically showing up to work.  It was the damn Titanic all over again.  Government involvement essentially handed the life boats to the guys who steered the boat into the iceberg and left the homeowners in the bottom decks waiting for the flood to come in.  So, yes I enjoyed this book and cringed at each passing page simultaneously.  I would definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review and Book Opening Announcement


My thoughts on The Big Short will be published here as well as a new video for the next book.

So, meet me here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another Book and the Brown Book Status

So I finished reading Wives and Daughters, a wonderful guilty pleasure I gave myself this past week (review to follow). I am also nearly finished reading The Big Short.  Which brings me to my real point.  Have you finished?  Would you like to set up a discussion date?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How I Bugged My Brother, Read Two New Books and Learned New Words All While Enjoying the Zing of Great Critical Essay

It started with an interest in critical essay.  My older brother is an avid reader and has read several books of critical essays.  I solicited his recommendations for my first plunge into that genre and he shot back some wonderful books, including the two I have read so far:  A Reader's Manifesto by B. R. Myers and Hatchet Jobs by Dale Peck.
I posted a review of A Reader's Manifesto last month basically expounding my agreements with Mr. Myers assertions.  Just after that I picked up Hatchet Jobs and read it thirstily.  I however cannot review this book.  Here's why.
First, I have not read many of the author's that Mr. Peck so specifically crucifies and don't feel equipped to agree or disagree with him without having first done that.  He makes great arguments and uses excerpts to prove his points, but in this book he is not so much presenting an idea about fiction in general.  He is pointedly attacking certain authors and works.  I am uncomfortable making any decisions about his essays before reading at least some of his victims.
Second, Mr. Peck's language skills and vocabulary had me reeling, thus proving that I am not afraid of challenging language.  While I understood the book in whole, there were many words that I had never seen in my life and I loved that, but was too eager to finish the book to get out my dictionary.
Given those two crucial points, I am determined to first read some works he studies and second re-read his book with a dictionary at my side.  I can however say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  His vitriolic debating style had great zing and made me laugh out loud repeatedly.