Recently, I finished two books on the financial collapse. The first is Wall Street Journal reporter Greg Zuckerman’s The Greatest Trade Ever. Originally published in November of last year, its focused on the small group of nerds that made mad cash off “shorting” (betting against) the real estate market. The second book is Mr Tabitha Soren’s lastest monster The Big Short (published in March) In essence, they tell the same tale. But Michael Lewis’ book is a massive hit. Lewis is a mini-celebrity, he’s handsome, he’s a great writer and he’s telling a good story. Good for him.
But Zuckerman has written the better book. Its more insightful and doesn’t get as caught up in the personal quirks of his subjects. He really gives you the story behind the trades themselves rather than the personalities of the players.
Lewis spends much of his time in the book talking about the personal lives and quirks of the players. He spills plenty of ink on Michael Bury’s aspergers diagnosis. He concentrates on the “outsider” element of those who profited from their bet against the houseing market. It makes for a good read. It just doesn’t tell you much about the actual nuts and bolts of the disaster.
Zuckerman’s book does, and he has seemingly been slighted for it. Well, that and not having a connection with Sandra Bullock.