The Big Short
By Michael Lewis
266 pages. W.W. Norton & Company. $16.60.
Michael Lewis’ debut novel, Liar’s Poker, was an autobiographical account of his time as a trader. The experience prompted Lewis, disenfranchised with the greed-is-good attitude of 1980s-era Wall Street, to leave the financial world and become a writer who later would make his career by turning an economic lens on everything from stocks to sports. Lewis is known for his narrative gift when it comes to topics most lay readers would otherwise find dull and too complicated to understand. In The Big Short, Lewis takes his microscope back to the life he left, focusing not only on what went wrong leading up to the 2008 economic crisis, but on the outside players that bet against the odds and benefited when everyone else fell down. What differentiates The Big Short from other books about the start of the economic crisis is that Lewis focuses primarily on the players that cashed in during 2008, not the ones who lost out. One might be tempted to ask, "Why didn’t they do anything to stop the crash?" Read and find out.