UPDATE: February 29, 2016

Since the release of the best selling book The Big Short. the book is now is officially an Oscar winning movie. The film, five years in the making since Michael Lewis’s book was released, won the Best Screen Play Adaptation Oscar. We’ve added photos not only of the players in the book, but those now made famous in the film.

Director and screenwriter Adam McKay stated in his acceptance speech, “If you don’t want big money to control government don’t vote for candidates that take money from big banks, oil, or weirdo billionaires. Stop!”

April 30, 2010 Post

The current number one non-fiction best seller, Michael Lewis’ The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. One of the most compelling reads inside the mortgage meltdown where Michael Lewis dives inside the stories of a varied characters who torn made strategic bets based on a perfect storm of greed.

If you’re in the financial industry, you’ll have an easy time recognizing all the facets that the story covers. The book reads like a novel, and tells the stories of a cast of characters involved in capitalism at the tipping point, and how terms like “too big to fail, CDO’s, Credit Default Swaps,  and Sub-prime” affected everyone around the world.

Just think what you would have done if you knew what some of these people knew. It’s kind of like being in a time machine. You can make money, but you do it at the tremendous expense of others…what would you do?

Gordon Gekko knew about greed. And certainly there are people that aren’t as smart as they think. Put them together and you’ve got the perfect storm…aka “The Big Short”.

It’s a fantastic read. You’ll certainly have a viewpoint and better insight when you’re done.

So the question is… is there a villain?

Post your comments on the character that impacted you the most.

The Characters of The Big Short

 Name Real Actor
Michael Lewis – Author Michael Monroe Lewis is an American non-fiction author and financial journalist. His bestselling books include The Big Short,  Liar’s Poker, The New New Thing, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, The Blind lewis
Steve Eisman – Frontpoint Partners Former Oppenheimer analyst and super pissed off guy. His bet against Wall Street saw the assets he managed at FrontPoint reach $1.5 billion. He still sees himself as a himself as a defender of justice and righteousness (Mark Baum in Movie – Actor Steve Carell) Steve Eisman eisman actor

Dr. Michael Burry , a medical intern who shifted to stock analysis and a blog areyoukiddingme.com. Called a  “one eyed stock picker with an antisocial personality” (later diagnosed as Asperger’s) – founded Scion Capital with $40,000 of his own money and from backing by people like Joel Greenblatt.

Not only did Burry make a big profit privately (as much as $100 million), but also earned his investors over $700 million.  He liquidated his credit default swap short positions by April 2008.

Burry also thinks that economically, the country is more or less where it was when everything collapsed — and that’s not a good thing.  (Actor Christian Bale). Vanity Fair wrote a great piece about Michael Barry and the behind the scenes dealings with Wall Street’s “Too Big to Fail”.

Dr. Michael Barry Actor_Barry
Greg Lippmann – Deutsche Bank trader who Steve Eisman claimed he stole his idea who made $100 million in a single week shorting the very CDOs his own bank sold. Estimated making made $1.5 billion according to Bloomberg. After leaving Deutsche Bank, Lippmann helped start LibreMax in 2010, which has focused on a range of complex debt securities, including bonds tied to student loans and other CMBS and CLOs. In The Greatest Trade Ever, Mr. Lippmann is portrayed as a brash misfit who wears his hair long and slicked back, with brown pinstriped suits but poorly tucked shirts. When his bearish mortgage bets began, colleagues rolled their eyes and called him Bubble Boy. (Jared Vennett in movie – Actor Ryan Gosling) Greg Lippman lipmann actor
Ben Hockett – Cornwall Capital Management – Hockett has kept his distance from the spotlight, and is now a survivalist living a quiet life in Berkeley, Calif. Brad Pitt as Ben Rickert – Best line of the film – “Your now rich, just don’t dance” when telling Charlie Ledley and Jamie Mai that they picked the right side of a trade at the expense of the American economy. Hockett and Cornwall Capital walked away from the financial collapse with $80 million — 80 times their $1 million investment Ben Hockett
Wing Chau – Maxim Group Mortgage Bond Salesman known for the Vegas dinner on the other side of Steve Eisman – “Whatever that guy is buying, I want to short it.” Founded Harding Advisory, as a CDO specialist. (Mr. Chau in movie – Actor Byron Mann) chin Wing Chau
Vinny Daniel –  Eisman’s analyst and Danny Moses was his trader. Vinny was from Queens and trusted no one. Eisman described him as “Very dark.” He dug into the transaction details and fed the info to Steve. Danny didn’t trust anyone on Wall Street. Names were changed for most in the movie, but not Vinny, the gum chewing trader. Best line – “I just want to know one thing (to Greg Lippmann at Deutsche Bank): How are you going to fuck me?” (Actor Jeremy Strong)
 Vincent+Daniel jeremy strong
Howard “Howie” Hubler  – The Morgan Stanley, former Montclair State College football player who lost Morgan Stanley an estimated $9 Billion. “More than any single trader has ever lost in the history of Wall Street” according to Lewis. Top 10. Howie-Hubler-Former-Top-Bond-Trader-at-Morgan-Stanley Written Out of Movie
John Paulson – Paulson is the man who made himself $5 billion betting against subprime mortgages—the so-called Greatest Trade Ever Traded with Greg Lippmann at Deutsche Bank. John Paulson  Written Out of Movie
Joel Greenblatt – Gotham Capital – Funded Michael Burry’s Scion Capital fund and later threatened to sue to get out as mortgages collapsed. Stated “Michael Lewis has never let the facts get in a way of a good story. What they got wrong in the book is Burry wanted to side pocket both mortgage and corporate CDS.” In 1985, Greenblatt started a hedge fund, Gotham Capital, with $7 million, most of which was provided by junk-bond king Michael Milken. Through his firm Gotham Capital, Greenblatt presided over an impressive annualized return of 40% from 1985 to 2006. Has a website Magic Formula stock picks scored in real time
greenblatt  Joel Greenblatt actor
Charlie Ledley – Cornwall Capital Management –Cornwall Capital walked away from the financial collapse with $80 million via “The garage fund  (Charlie Geller in movie – Actor John Magaro) charlie leddy mgrjn
Jamie Mai – Cornwall Capital Management –Cornwall Capital walked away from the financial collapse with $80 million via “The garage fund -Cornwall Capital, now a $525 million hedge fund, has kept the lowest profile of the group. (Jamie Shipley in film -Actor Finn Wittrock) jaimie mai Finn Wittrock
Meredith Whitney – Oppenheimer Analyst who turned Michael Lewis on to the leading character – Steve Eisman. Whitney, an analyst, is one of the biggest heroes of ‘The Big Short.’ meredith_whitney Written Out in Movie
John Gutfreund – former Salomon Brothers CEO of Liar’s poker fame know as “a big swinging dick”. John Gutfreund Written Out of Movie

Joseph Cassano – In his role running AIG’s Financial Products division, Cassano was instrumental in getting the firm fatally enmeshed in mortgage derivatives, leading to billions of dollars in losses. He has widely been called “The Man Who Crashed The World.” Since leaving AIG in 2008, Cassano has kept out of sight.

 Joseph Cassano Written Out of Movie



So where’s the next bubble?

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