44 pages 1 hour read

Michael Lewis

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2010

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Key Figures

Steve Eisman

Brash and outspoken, Eisman hates being an attorney and switches to finance, beginning as an analyst at Oppenheimer securities and ending up running his own fund, FrontPoint Partners, under the Morgan Stanley banner. Incensed by the malfeasance of bond traders who have lured investors into purchasing mortgage bonds much riskier than they appear, Eisman goes on a crusade, arguing repeatedly with Wall Street CEOs, bond traders, and anyone else who will listen. The 2008 financial crash vindicates him, but the destruction humbles him, and he becomes a nicer person.

Michael Burry

Dr. Burry leaves medicine to practice investing; he sets up the Scion fund to finance his bets against the subprime mortgage market. His fund does extremely well at first, then falters in the immediate run-up to the 2008 crash, as his credit default swaps leak payments before they pay off. Burry is tough-minded, a loner, and believes he has Asperger’s Syndrome, which alienates him from people. Indeed, he has trouble getting along with his investors, some of whom want to sue him when he persists in holding on to his CDSs. In the end, he is proven right, and his fund pays off handsomely.