Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Review of The Big Short

You may have seen The Big Short, the movie with Brad Pitt. The movie is great, but, I promise you, the book is even better.

The Big Short charts the months leading up to the 2008 financial crash – from the point of view of people who predicted the crash, and profited from it. 

Go here to buy it on Amazon.com    Go here to buy it on Amazon.co.uk  

If you ever wondered what, exactly, caused the crash, this book makes it very clear in a way that's both easily understandable and, in fact, funny. It will put a smile on your face and may even make you laugh out loud.

The author, Michael Lewis, manages to make what you may see as a dry subject engaging and entertaining.  He achieves this largely through drawing short but very effective portraits of each character.  
The Big Short describes a handful of people in the world of high finance who could see what was coming. They (probably) weren't psychic, they just paid attention. Their colleagues and wives (these experts were all male) thought they were crazy. Nobody wanted to get on board with their predictions, but, somehow, they managed to find each other, and to come up with different ways to profit from the situation.

For example, Michael Burry auto-enrolled his finance clients in his vehicle. He had created this vehicle specifically in order to bet against the market. He was paying huge insurance fees every month but, when he hit, he hit big. He, and all of his clients, made enough money to keep them and their families for generations to come.

Have you ever read a book that's so good you never want it to finish? That's how I feel about The Big Short. I keep putting it down and picking it back up again a few months later. As a result, I have read – and enjoyed - some parts over and over again.

Thus, I have come to understand, in a certain amount of detail, exactly how and why the 2008 crash happened.

It was a combination of greed, stupidity and hubris – the belief on the part of those who manipulated the financial markets that they were right, no matter what.

As I said, I never wanted this book to end. But we all know how it ended. People lost their jobs, people lost their homes, and people – like you and me – had to endure years of austerity. For example, government cuts, reductions in services for the elderly and the disabled and, certainly in the UK, cuts to the health service. And some financial services had to accept that they were not “too big to fail”. Meanwhile, the rich continue to get richer.

If you want to understand how, read this book.

And bear in mind, this can all happen again. 

Please leave your comments below and please share this with your networks.  Thanks. 


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