The Big Short
by Michael Lewis
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.