Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Big Short by Michael Lewis Book Review

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday MachineWho would have guessed that a book about the financial collapse of the last half decade would be as compelling as this? This could have easily turned into a dry and boring, but deep, look into what cause the financial catastrophe that has us where we are right now, but since Michael Lewis focused his efforts equally between providing pertinent information and illustrating the characters involved, you not only become engaged by the despicable actions and utter stupidity of so many of the big financial institutions, but you latch onto the unique and interestingly described characters that see what was actually going on.

By now most people who have any interest in politics, finance, or economics understand the gist of what happened in the last half decade and the ramifications it has for so many people. What was so interesting to read was the perspective of people on what was happening as it was happening. You truly got a sense of what gears were turning, how misinformation fed more misinformation which led to such a false sense of security around various, nearly magical, money making tools.

As you slowly feel the pressure building, where our protagonists (that's how I like to view them) know things have to explode, you start to feel the lunacy of it all, the mind-boggling amounts of money being created out of seemingly thin air, and the mindsets of so many people that nothing could possibly go wrong.

Once you finally reach the conclusion of this particular recounting of the financial collapse, you feel simultaneously happy that at least a few souls noticed what was going on and infuriated that such a thing was able to happen in the first place. Then, as you think about it and remember where we're at today, the fury overwhelms any amount of "huh, that was interesting" feelings you may have. The big financial institutions are as big as ever, if not bigger, and there seems to have been no change at any of them, especially since they proved that there IS a safety net that will catch them when they screw up, regardless of how bad.

It's rare that I find myself this glued to a non-fiction book, let alone one whose topics are rarely uplifting. It makes me wish so much more that things would change and makes me even more irate that they haven't.

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