The Big Short, by Michael Lewis

Book Report Questions – The Big Short, by Michael Lewis

SELECT THREE QUESTIONS FROM THE QUESTIONS BELOW AND WRITE YOUR REPORT ANSWERING/EXPLAINING EACH SEPARATELY. INCLUDE IN YOUR ANSWERS SOME CONNECTION TO ETHICS AND SOMETHING YOU LEARNED FROM CLASS.

  1. Explain how innocent (if you agree they were) homebuyers were tricked by greedy bankers and their Wall Street enablers into mortgages they could not afford to pay back.
  2. Explain how the book covers the decade’s financial wizardry and the way it was meant to securitize seemingly everything (mortgages, credit cards, etc.)
  3. Explain what led Burry to scan the fine print of loan documents and what he discovered.
  4. Explain the following, the most important point made by Lewis through the eyes of these financial “seers” is that for them to eventually profit, “Home prices didn’t even need to fall. They merely needed to stop rising at the unprecedented rates they had the previous few years for vast numbers of Americans to default on their home loans.”
  5. What happened in the book when Lippmann sat Eisman next to a smug CDO bull at a dinner in Las Vegas; Vegas was the setting of the annual “varsity” mortgage conference?
  6. Explain what Lewis meant that no one on Wall Street, except the heroes of the book, understood what was happening, because everyone blindly relied on ratings and failed to make their own assessment.
  7. Explain what is covered in the chapter on Greed, where, “Above all, greed and short-sightedness were the prime drivers of the financial crisis.”
  8. In the chapter on Corruption and Fraud, explain what this means, “Explicit corruption and fraud also played a powerful role in creating the crisis.”
  9. Describe/explain what is meant by, “People faced perverse incentives at every level of the subprime mortgage disaster.”
  10. What is the single biggest (most impressive) thing you learned from reading the book? Explain with details.
  11. There are some very bright and dedicated regulators. However, the one common thread in the last three economic collapses is that the regulators did not do their job. Describe how the book portrays the regulators and their role in the disaster.
  12. Why did the U.S. Government save the financial industry (according to Lewis)?

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