The Big Short
    Home    Print This Page  

1. After reading The Big Short, do you have a clearer understanding of the Wall Street collapse of 2008? Does Michael Lewis do a good job, or a poor one, of explaining the arcane financial devices and the ins and outs of the bond markets? Did you find it interesting? Or were you bored to tears?

2. Follow-up to Question 2: How much did you know about financial crisis before reading The Big Short? What have you learned since that confirmed, or deviated from, your prior understanding of the events of 2008?

3. Where, or on whom, does Michael Lewis place blame for the events leading up to the crash?

4. What role did the rating agencies play—Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch? Were they at fault, or was the system such that they were forced to become unwilling partners?

5. Talk about the mortgage initiators. What role did they play? Discuss the array of mortgages offered and how they destabilized the system.

6. Steve Eisman, Mike Burry, and the men who ran the "garage band hedge fund" made huge fortunes off the downfall of others. Do you see them as prophetic heroes, greedy opportunists...or something else? How does Lewis portray them?

7. Follow-up to Question 6: Why did a handful of outsiders foresee what would happen with the subprimes while neither the heads of the large financial firms nor government regulators saw what was coming? Do you think it was genuine ignorance (the derivatives were simply too obscure to understand) or willful ignorance (no one really wanted to turn off the money spigot)? What about the risk managers for the Wall Street firms—where were they in all of this?

8. Another way to approach this book is to think of it almost as a mystery: who know how much...and when did they know it?

* Some questions from LitLovers.com