Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Big Short & the Big Apple

I have refrained from picking up any of the Monday morning quarterbacking books that invaded the market after the global financial crisis of 2008 fall. However, author Michael Lewis is hard to resist for the very same reasons I have sought to resist the rest. A compelling story teller, his tell all tale focuses on the "good" shorts and the characters that pulled it off.

There was no John Paulson, widely featured in another amateurish tale I learn (Called the Greatest Trade Ever) or their likes in this tale. Rather, the author focused on roughly four groups characters- Steve Eisman and his motley crew of fatalists, Greg Lippmann the propagator , Michael Burry- medical doctor turned hedge fund guy and unlikely originator, and the motley crew of Charlie & Jamie and their pro helper in Cornwell Mgmt. that basically made it big by betting big and acting big. In all these four were right...and America was wrong, AIG was wrong, Wall Street was even wronger and damn the bond market too!

It is a tale of Wall Street gone crazy, conflicts of interests (double plural mine for emphasis), belly churning risks, Goldman Sachs will screw you (check out how they quickly figured the trade and froze the market), and why firms going public basically set us all up for this disaster. Too big to fail? Well why are they public? Too small to help? Well, that is the suckers like Lehman Brothers. That angle was less explored.

No doubt, in a combination of the mastery of the underlying instruments with good story telling, Author Lewis beats the competition out there who rushed to the stable with their half baked stories thereafter. A compelling read that validates my theory of screwing and getting screwed. Wonder why Lehman go screwed, and the rest of the street made out like a bandits. Anyone? Long Term Capital? I betcha you didn't know that...

Spent time in NYC this weekend ..always a good time in the big apple...Went to Broadway to see Fela! My reviews are in...and AIG was correctly yabbed at the event! LOL..


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