Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)
Comments: If you have any interest whatsoever on the financial markets, this book is a must read. If not, well, put it on your shelf. Michael Lewis’ books are like art – you’ll never tire of flipping the pages. He makes a heavy financial book feel like a fascinating novel.
Top 3 Learnings:
1. Every time a new regulation is put in place, it creates an unforeseen set if market conditions that inevitably results in arbitrage by those looking to game the financial system. This sort of quick money scheme repeats itself – the housing bubble in the 80s, the credit default swaps in early 2000s and then high frequency trading in the late 2000s and perhaps now.
2. Such arbitrage causes billions of dollars to move from the pockets of investors to middlemen.
3. The behavior of the big Wall Streets bank is shocking. That’s not to say the people in these banks are bad. Somehow, the incentives and existing cultures result in horrible short term decision making. (I can’t help but wonder if the system of reporting earnings every quarter does more harm than good. It seems to drive short term thinking everywhere!