Review: The Big Short by Michael Lewis

by on Sep.01, 2012, under Reviews

The Big Short is a book that describes how the 2008 economic meltdown came to be, as told through the personal stories of several people directly involved in it. How some of them were directly involved in the fabrication of wealth that never existed at all. How one of them became fabulously rich betting against the major funds whose wealth disappeared overnight.

Alright, you might ask, what does this have to do with Science Fiction? That’s a good question. No, I am not taking on the review of books of politics or economics. I am reviewing this book because I feel that this book is a case study, a must read book for aspiring authors.

As an aspiring author, this is a book you must read three times.

Once: to read the content. If you are in any manner involved or care about economics, this book will be very upsetting to you. Just read it all the way through. And throw it. And yell at it. You will.

Second time: Sit back and admire how well this story is told. Economics is a pretty dry subject. Yet you were throwing the book and yelling about it, weren’t you? Examine how this story is told. Examine how Michael Lewis engaged you in the story.

Final time: Examine how Michael Lewis engaged you in the characters. Some of these characters are real bastards. Some of them scorned you and the money you’d invested or left supposedly safe in their organizations. And yet he makes these characters real to you, he engages you in their story. He makes you care.

In short, Michael Lewis gave you a story with no heroes–only villains and a few unlikeable anti-heroes, and yet you were would up tight in the plot. This is impressive, and there’s a lot to learn here.


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