The big short : inside the doomsday machine /

The author examines the causes of the U.S. stock market crash of 2008 and its relation to overpriced real estate, bad mortgages, shareholder demand for excessive profits, and the growth of toxic derivatives.

Main Author: Lewis, Michael
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : W.W. Norton, c2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
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Review by Choice Review

In this timely book, which quickly became a bestseller, Lewis, author of other notable books such as Moneyball (CH, Apr'04, 41-4733) and Liar's Poker: Rising through the Wreckage on Wall Street (1990), provides a fascinating account of a small group of investors who anticipated the recent financial collapse, bet against the market by selling short, and realized enormous gains in doing so. To execute a short sale (contract for future delivery), the investor sells borrowed securities, anticipating repurchasing them at a lower price. In this compelling story, Lewis explains the complex world of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), credit default swaps, and other financial instruments. He chronicles the unfolding subprime mortgage crisis and how, when the real estate bubble burst, the value of CDOs collapsed and the short sellers profited. Throughout, Lewis integrates the stories of the iconoclastic individuals who made fortunes by shorting mortgage CDOs and purchasing swaps. His detailed account does not require financial expertise and is highly recommended for general readers interested in this topic. The lack of an index reduces the book's usefulness as an academic resource. See related, Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big to Fail (CH, Apr'10, 47-4534). Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers, undergraduate students, and professionals. H. Mayo The College of New Jersey

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Although Lewis is perhaps best known for his sports-related nonfiction (including The Blind Side), his first book was the autobiographical Liar's Poker, in which he chronicled his disillusionment as a young gun on Wall Street in the "greed is good" 1980s. He returns to his financial roots to excavate the crisis of 2007-2008, employing his trademark technique of casting a microcosmic lens on the personal histories of several Wall Street outsiders who were betting against the grain-to shed light on the macrocosmic tale of greed and fear. Although Lewis reads the book's introduction, narration duties are assumed by Jesse Boggs, a veteran narrator of business titles (including Lewis's own 2008 book Panic!). Boggs's rich baritone is well suited to the task and trips lightly through a maze of financial jargon (CDOs, derivatives, mid-prime lending) and a dizzying cast of characters. Lewis returns on the final disc for a 10-minute interview about the crisis's aftermath, including a savvy assessment of the wisdom of the financial bailout and where-are-they-now updates on the book's various heroes and villains. A Norton hardcover. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Versatile best-selling author Lewis (Panic) gives a different take on the 2007-08 credit crisis as he chronicles how a handful of investment managers detected early on the growing bubble in the mortgage bond market and made fortunes betting against it. Lewis is a storyteller, and he weaves the personal stories of these renegades against the inner workings of Wall Street's mortgage-backed securities money machine. He explains in plain language how the industry obscured credit risk by packaging and repackaging low-quality subprime mortgages into complicated securities that could receive high credit ratings in a process he calls the financial alchemy equivalent of turning lead into gold. He says investors then looked at little more than the ratings as they bought billions of dollars' worth of these supposedly safe bonds. Lewis turns the crisis into a true financial thriller that screams of Wall Street's greed, recklessness, deceit, incompetence, and hubris. VERDICT Readers from generalists through specialists will find this fast-paced, engaging account both illuminating and disturbing. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/09.]-Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.