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When the crash of the U. S. stock market became public knowledge in the fall of 2008, it was already old news. The real crash, the silent crash, had taken place over the previous year, in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn’t shine, and the SEC doesn’t dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can’t pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren’t talking.
The crucial question is this: Who understood the risk inherent in the assumption of ever-rising real estate prices, a risk compounded daily by the creation of those arcane, artificial securities loosely based on piles of doubtful mortgages? Michael Lewis turns the inquiry on its head to create a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 best-selling Liar’s Poker.
Who got it right? he asks. Who saw the real estate market for the black hole it would become, and eventually made billions of dollars from that perception? And what qualities of character made those few persist when their peers and colleagues dismissed them as Chicken Littles? Out of this handful of unlikely—really unlikely—heroes, Lewis fashions a story as compelling and unusual as any of his earlier bestsellers, proving yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our times.
‘’No one writes with more narrative panache about money and finance than Mr. Lewis....he does a nimble job of using his subjects’ stories to explicate the greed, idiocies and hypocrisies of a system notably lacking in grown-up supervision....Writing in faintly Tom Wolfe-ian prose, Mr. Lewis does a colorful job of introducing the lay reader to the Darwinian world of the bond market.’’ -Michiko Kakutani - The New York Times
‘’It is the work of our greatest financial journalist, at the top of his game. And it's essential reading.’’ -Graydon Carter - Vanity Fair
‘’Superb: Michael Lewis doing what he does best, illuminating the idiocy, madness and greed of modern finance. . . . Lewis achieves what I previously imagined impossible: He makes subprime sexy all over again.’’ -Andrew Leonard - Salon.com
|Prologue: Poltergeist||p. xiii|
|A Secret Origin Story||p. 1|
|In the Land of the Blind||p. 26|
|"How Can a Guy Who Can't Speak English Lie?"||p. 61|
|How to Harvest a Migrant Worker||p. 85|
|Accidental Capitalists||p. 104|
|Spider-Man at The Venetian||p. 136|
|The Great Treasure Hunt||p. 160|
|The Long Quiet||p. 179|
|A Death of Interest||p. 200|
|Two Men in a Boat||p. 226|
|Epilogue: Everything Is Correlated||p. 253|
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