The Big Short by Michael Lewis
Have you seen the movie?
I have. I loved it so much, I bought it, and I do not mean digitally. I have the hard copy, the Blu-ray, and yes, I write this in May of 2021.
Watch it once; leave confused. Watch it twice, after becoming a licensed financial advisor; leave slightly less confused. Read the book after watching twice and becoming a licensed financial advisor; leave slightly less confused and surely angry.
But, my, how fascinating!
I was way too poor to feel any effects of the 2007/2008 housing market crash. The Big Short, that I did not see until eight years after the fact, was eye-opening. Luckily, I watched it with Pops, who knew way more than I did, and later on would blame President Clinton for nudging the snowball down the hill in the mid-nineties.
I’m usually a the book is better kind of guy, of course, and I’m hesitant to stray from that path, but the actors capture their respective characters highlighted by Lewis remarkably well, and while I assuredly recommend that this book be read, the movie could suffice to convey all elements of the treatise.
Fret not that financial terms and general Wall Street banter is beyond you. Long and short used as verbs is tediously unnatural even for a financial professional, and those of the likes of Steve Eisman and his assemblage found the mortgage bond lingo to be overwhelmingly obscure, making it all the more difficult to unravel the strings of filth that caused millions of Americans to lose their homes.
As we currently surf the waves of federal government stimuli, responses ranging from worshipful gratitude to grimacing acceptance, we need not forget that our nation’s banks would nearly have been cut in half lest there had been a “saving grace” in 2008.
Would the families who defaulted on the homes, for which they likely should never have been approved to borrow, be relieved?
Would, rather, the publicly-traded treasuries, who rake in their fortunes on the simple overdraft fee, who service their employees with commissions based on how many balloon mortgages they can persuade single mothers to purchase, who, no matter how small-town, sweet-tea they try to be, still must answer to shareholders, experience that relief?
You better believe they would.
And where did they get the money? From you. And me. And every law-abiding, tax-paying citizen.
Digression is, at times, a curse, but the objective has been reached. Nevertheless, the unfolding of how the mortgage bond fiasco came to be is compelling, alluring for anyone who finds themselves financially inclined or simply curious.
As for Michael Lewis, as if he needs praise from me, is great. Several of his books have become movies, all of which I have seen (I think) and enjoyed, but to now know the talent of the author behind the script will beckon me towards more books by Lewis, which include, but are not limited to, Moneyball and The Blind Side.
I admit, maybe not this book, but Michael Lewis deserves to be read by all.