The Big Short

by

The Big Short

Author: Michael Lewis

Title: The Big Short

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publication Date: 2010

Geographical Setting:  The United States (mostly New York City)

Time Period: 2000s

Summary: When American financial markets collapsed in 2008 , most people didn’t (and still don’t) understand exactly what happened or how.  As government officials, bank executives and other supposed experts all claimed that the crash was unforeseeable, there were other voices getting less attention who were saying just the opposite; they claimed that not only was the collapse foreseeable, but that they had in fact foreseen it and had been warning others about it for years.  Some of them had even profited from the collapse through complicated financial products that in essence were bets against the market, primarily the sub-prime housing market.  The Big Short tells the story of the collapse through a litany of interesting characters, including an autistic trader with a glass eye and a variety of others who had been outcasts in the financial world, taking positions and making bets that few else understood and many criticized, until finally they were among the few left standing, finally vindicated while the rest of the financial industry crumbled around them.

Subject Headings: Economics, American History – Twenty-First Century, Stock Markets, Contemporary History

Appeal: Character-driven, compelling, engrossing, dramatic, philosophical, eccentric characters, strong language, contemporary setting, stock market jargon, journalistic, informal language, investigative, dark humor

Three terms that best describe this book: Eye-opening; sometimes difficult due to complex concepts and professional lingo; question-raising.

Three relevant works of fiction:

Vineyard Days by Gene Pisasale (A murder mystery set to the backdrop of the 2008 financial market collapse)

Moral Hazard: A Wall Street Thriller by Jyl Scislow (A tale about the dark side of Wall Street, and the great lengths that some people will go to for money)

Black Friday by James Patterson (A novel about stock market collapse and financial panic in the midst of a terrorist attack)

Three relevant works of non-fiction:

Crash Proof 2.0: How to Profit from the Economic Collapse by Peter D. Shiff (Outlines methods for guarding yourself against economic meltdown and how to preserve wealth even in difficult economic times)

The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street by Robert Scheer (A recent history of American economic policy and what led up to the 2008 collapse)

Rigged: The True Story of an Ivy League Kid Who Changed the World of Oil, from Wall Street to Dubai by Ben Mezrich (The true story of an unlikely character making a big impact on the oil trading exchange)

Lee R. Sigman

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