In 1989, fresh off a gig at Salomon Brothers, Michael Lewis wrote his first book, Liar’s Poker, a devastating look at the Wall Street culture of the 80s. More than 20 years later, after a slew of great non-fiction books—two of the most notable, Money Ball and The Blind Side, about sports—Lewis returns to his roots as a financial reporter with perhaps the most incisive look at one of the most tragic political, social, and economic tragedies–the recent bursting of the subprime mortgage market.
The Big Short is a tale that is so not about “living true” — it’s about the destructive forces of greed and power. Lewis makes it read equally as farce and tragedy. He focuses on little-known figures like small hedge fund managers and a Deutsche Bank bond salesman to demonstrate just how early and often the warning bell sounded. Despite mounting evidence, investment bankers and cornerstone banks like Goldman Sachs conspired to inflate prices and camouflage risk. Lewis’s great gift as a non-fiction storyteller is his ability to bring to life key personalities, and to demystify the day-to-day workings of Wall Street that brought us to the serious current economic climate and challenges.