The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

Michael Lewis fan-girl here. Seriously crushing on the way this guy can take complex ideas and break it down into enjoyable reading. Sports and finance– joined at the hip by the magic of stats. (If you haven’t read his article on Shane Battier, get thee thither.
This was a quick read that dove deep into the 2007-2010(?) financial crisis and its causes. My biggest takeaway is a general sadness that the US economy got so inflated during this period without actually creating anything of value. Phantom wealth that made a handful of folks wealthy, but nothing was created. The constant consumption and arrogance of our financial system make me want to step back, withdraw, and create. Draw, paint, write, sing, smile, whatever. To create something in order to fill the void left by financial vultures. But I digress.
Lewis breaks down the cause of the meltdown: mortgage backed securities based on subprime mortgage loans, rated as AAA bonds by Moodys and S&P. This, plus people who had no idea what they were doing were running the show on Wall Street, allowing traders (Morgan Stanley’s Howie Hubler) to amass $16 billion in risk without asking a single question. Mindless drones. No analysis of risk or potential for blowing up. What exactly did Wall Street analysts do all day?
The book follows the story of a couple of traders who smelled disaster coming and who cashed in on it: Michael Burry (discovered he had Aspergers during the ordeal), Steve Eisman (in your face, lacking tact, NY based hedge fund manager who vocally challenged inane fund managers), Greg Lippmann (Deutsche Bank salesman notorious for saying “Fuck you, I’m short your house” when challenged about his negative outlook on the US housing market), the Cornwall Capital folks (Charlie, Jamie, Ben).