Friday, March 27, 2015

The Big Short

I had purchased this book for Don several years ago after the housing collapse several years ago.  I decided to read it several weeks ago because it seemed like an interesting subject that I did not understand.

Michael Lewis, the author, has written several books, though I have only read one of them - The Blind Side.  I loved, loved that book and thought it rather interesting that a man could write a book about football and then write about collapsing financial markets.  Turns out his other books are about business, and since he worked on Wall Street, he had the background to write financial missives.  I was impressed with his breadth of talent, and even more so after reading The Big Short.

At first, one has to plow through some technical jargon.  It took me awhile to unconfuse myself, but it was not too hard.  I had to refer back several times, but what I learned early is that I understood more about the products he was discussing than those who were ultimately selling them.  Lewis's explanation of the housing situation was simple enough for me to understand yet complex enough that someone in the field would not feel patronized.

Lewis had to interview many and gain the cooperation of more to tell his story.  He appears to have done an excellent job of presenting the facts not only about what happened but about the personalities involved.  He seems to "call them as he sees them," citing both good and bad qualities of each player in the subprime game.  I found the people in the book to be genuine, and although their greed and choices were infuriating, it was easy to see how some of them were lucky, some were stupid, some were greedy, and some were crooked.

If I had known The Big Short would be similar to reading a mystery, I would have read it earlier.  Although I knew the ending of the story, I couldn't wait to read the final page to see how the story ended.  I know that sounds crazy, but despite the fact that I knew the basics of the housing collapse, I couldn't wait to find out how it turned out for each person involved in the story.  Some gained an amazing amount of money; many lost even more.

This book is one anyone who is interested in business or who invests in the stock market should read.  It will give you pause about who is to be believed, and it will certainly make you question more with whom you invest!

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