Sunday, September 05, 2010

Book Summary - The Big Short

It seems like a lot of Wall Streeters are reading this book - The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine - around here.

My wife grabbed it off a co-worker's desk figuring that I might want to read it.  And she's also seem dudes on the train reading it.

Of course I had heard about the book back when it came out but the storyline didn't pique my interest in the slightest.

The Big Short is, skeletally, about the lucky few traders/disinvestors who successfully shorted subprime mortgage bonds a few years ago.

With everything else going on: the housing bubble imploding, foreclosures, runs on bankrupt banks, bailouts, the stock market gyrations, etc. - I deemed the story of a handful of guys making out with subprime bond shorts to be no great drama.

And that's how I felt right up until about halfway through this book as well. At that point it became clear to me that the book actually covered broader, timely Wall Street subjects: corruption, greed, fraud, Goldman Sachs, OPM skimming, hedge funds, and whatnot - even though the surface narrative was about guys covering par bond shorts at 15-30 cents on the dollar.

While I, most uncharacteristically, didn't take ANY notes on this book because, well, I already pre-understood the entire drama, I still found it a worthwhile and compelling read. But it was by no means author Michael Lewis' best work.

I think that honor is still held by Moneyball.

See my post on it - Empiricism - The Only Science.

No comments: